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Fall Fine Furniture & Decorative Arts sale at Bonhams takes in more than $2.48 Million
A George III inlaid mahogany metamorphic desk/library steps, late 18th century. The hinged rectangular top with gilt banded inset leather writing surface opening to fold out library steps raised on tapering legs ending in brass casters, height 29in (74cm); width 40in (102cm); depth 24in (61cm). Est. $5,000-7,000. Sold for $10,000. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- The Fine Furniture & Decorative Arts auction at Bonhams, October 31-November 1, saw fantastic results of more than $2.48 million in sales, accompanied by strong interest and activity in the San Francisco auction room and from afar.

The auction, that featured many historical San Francisco highlights, was led by the $338,500 purchase of a magnificent and monumental pair of Louis XVI style gilt and patinated bronze figural nineteen light candelabra, circa 1865 (pre-sale est. $25,000-35,000). The candelabra, made by famous 19th century furniture maker and designer Louis-Auguste-Alfred Beurdeley, 1808-1882, are emblematic of "War" and "Peace," and were sold to benefit the California Historical Society. They once stood in the lobby of the famous Fox Theatre in San Francisco that was built at a cost of $5 million and opened in 1929 to serve as a famous showcase for films until 1963, when it was closed, and later demolished.

Jeffrey Smith, Vice President and Director of the Furniture and Decorative Arts Department at Bonhams, said of the sale: “It was a diverse, eclectic and superb collection, with objects from antiquity to mid-century and spiriting bidding from 11 countries and nearly 500 bidders seeking to enhance their collections with unique, rare and important objects.”

Leading lots of the sale included a fine pair of George I giltwood pier mirrors from the early 18th century that sold for $116,500 (pre-sale est. $15,000-20,000); a fine pair of Louis XVI style gilt bronze mounted and paint decorated mahogany secrétaires à abattant from the fourth quarter of the 19th century that brought $50,000 (pre-sale est. $6,000-8,000); a fine Louis XVI style gilt bronze mounted inlaid mahogany vitrine cabinet from the fourth quarter of the 19th century that took in $43,750 (pre-sale est. $5,000-8,000); and a Berlin (KPM) porcelain plaque: Admiration, from the late 19th century that yielded $43,750 (pre-sale est. $6,000-8,000).

Also of great interest in the sale were three, late 19th century, life-size Italian marble statues of Ancient Greeks, including Diana the Huntress, The Belvedere Apollo and The Discus Thrower, acquired in a sale of property from Adolph Sutro’s famous Cliff House and indoor public swimming establishment, the Sutro Baths. The statues sold very well, far exceeding their pre-sale estimates of $8,000-12,000: Diana the Huntress took in $38,750, The Belvedere Apollo brought $37,500 and The Discus Thrower sold for $21,250.

Additional successful highlights of the sale included a fine California 14k gold and gold quartz headed cane, circa 1868, presented to California lawyer, county clerk, bank president and district attorney William Frank Goad that sold for $37,500 (pre-sale est. $10,000-15,000); a good Chinese export gilt decorated lacquer eight panel screen from the 19th century that took in $37,500 (pre-sale est. $6,000-8,000); a rare 11th-13th century Italian Medieval Cosmatesque mosaic panel that brought $35,000 (pre-sale est. $15,000-25,000); and a fine Louis XV style gilt bronze mounted parquetry secrétaire à rognon by François Linke from the late 19th century that was purchased at a price of $31,250 (pre-sale est. $5,000-8,000).

The second day of the auction was also a resounding success with sales of prominent property from the Estate of Katherine Elkins Boyd, who was a well-known San Francisco Bay Area figure, Co-Chair of the Republican National Committee Eagles, delegate to the Republican National Convention, and daughter of legendary 20th century designer Frances Adler Elkins. Boyd, Frances Elkins and David Adler were instrumental in designing the interior of the Boyd residence in Hillsborough, Calif., in the 1940s. Following her mother’s death in 1953, Boyd became an interior designer in her own right. The pieces offered in the Bonhams sale carry forth the noted family’s legacy.

Leading sales from the Estate included: a pair of large English mahogany and brass barrels from the 19th century that sold for $33,750 (pre-sale est. $3,000-5,000); two English painted wood dummy boards from the 18th/19th century that brought $11,875 (pre-sale est. $600-800); a Frances Elkins ebonized plaster mirror and console table that took in $10,625 (pre-sale est. $4,000-6,000); a Spanish School, 18th century oil on canvas of A portrait of Don Luis Manuél Fernandez de Madrid, full-length, standing beside his desk that was purchased for $10,625 (pre-sale est. $4,000-6,000); and a George III inlaid mahogany metamorphic desk/library steps from the late 18th century that netted $10,000 (pre-sale est. $5,000-7,000)

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