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Property from Boston physicians' residence, estate of a colorful world traveler headline auction
Ken Miller photo from the collection of the late William “Wild Bill” Melton. TAC Auctions image.

WAKEFIELD, MASS.- Fine and decorative art from the living estate of two Boston-area physicians will team with photographic collectibles and Western Americana from the estate of the late photographer and world traveler William “Wild Bill” Melton at Tonya A. Cameron’s (TAC Auctions) Thursday, Sept. 20 sale. Cameron said the 350-lot auction contains not only quality furnishings and art from the Boston residence of two distinguished doctors who are husband and wife but also “many fun things – in particular from the Melton estate – that you just don’t see at auction.”

A wealth of 19th/early 20th-century Asian, fine and decorative art; silver, rugs, furniture, art glass and both fine and costume jewelry was sourced from the living estate. Asian offerings include Emperor and Wife figurines, a mystery ball, reclining nudes, a carved ivory dagger and an opium pipe. Additionally, there are jade amulets and other jade items, including desirable snuff bottles.

The art-glass section features Tiffany & Co. paperweights, a covered jar, center bowls and candlesticks. French Lalique entries include an eagle sculpture and several large vases.

Cameron said the furniture selection will appeal to many, as it includes traditional New England-style, Asian and mid-century modern pieces. The Asian grouping is led by two pairs of Chinese huanghuali chairs and a Chinese lacquered-ebony, pagoda-shape two-door cabinet with glass panels and interior lighting. It measures 47 inches high by 42 inches wide. “This cabinet is one of the best I’ve seen,” Cameron noted.

Other Chinese furniture lots include a high-end apothecary chest with brass mounts, and a carved side table with rouge inlay. The table has two seals – one made of white jade and the other of dark green jade shaped as a foo dog.

Those who appreciate the timeless quality of traditional furniture design will find many items from which to choose, including numerous pieces of Eldred Wheeler hand-carved, handcrafted tiger maple and cherry furniture from a Cape Cod estate. Among the consigned goods are a Nantucket tea table, porringer and tilt-top tables; a Queen Anne breakfast table and other items.

American furniture highlights continue with a Henkel Harris (Va.) breakfront with banded inlay and a Baker custom-made dining suite with banded-inlay table and four leaves that increase the table’s length to banquet size. The elegant ensemble, which is from the doctors’ residence, also includes two captain’s chairs and 12 side chairs with original ivory silk-blend upholstery. A nicely patinated barley-twist oak lectern with cast-iron hairy paw feet is another interesting addition to the sale.

A bountiful selection of Asian decorative art includes Oriental porcelain ginger jars, famille rose vases and a pair of beautiful 36-inch-high Chinese vases on pedestals with a dragon embellishment. Cameron described the vases as “very ornate and vibrant, with lavender, pink and green flora on a white ground.” The Asian lineup displays its variety with offerings that range from 19th-century Chinese jade cups, a bronze bell and warrior figure on mahogany base to cloisonné chargers, incense burners, brush pots, woodblocks and trays.

Fine art to be auctioned includes a signed, original Francisco de Goya (Spanish, 1746-1828) etching, 20¼ by 18 inches (framed), titled “The Shame-faced One; an oil-on-board landscape attributed to David Burliuk (Ukranian, 1882-1967), and a pencil-signed 16 by 12-inch (framed) Max Ernst (German, 1891-1976) lithograph titled “Creatures of the Sea.” A Pierre-Joseph Redouté (French, 1817-1824) oil-on-canvas still-life composition of fruit measures 14½ by 19 inches (sight).

A mid-century Murano glass artwork standing 2ft tall on a metal base is signed by Venetian glass master Pino Signoretto (Italian, b. 1944-). Other European highlights include 4-5 period Art Deco figurines by Hutschenreuther.

A number of black-and-white photographs by Ken Miller are part of the estate of William Earl “Wild Bill” Melton (1953-2006). Louisiana born, Melton was, himself, a highly successful commercial photographer and maintained studios in New York and Manchester, N.H., until his death at age 53 in a traffic accident. Among the memorable ad campaigns he helped create was the long-running Schweppes series featuring monkeys and leopards.

“Mr. Melton was an international traveler who was beloved in his adopted New Hampshire community. He gave very generously of his talents as a photographer and gourmet chef to benefit numerous charities. He was also a colorful figure known for his dashing Western attire.” The auction is a testament to Melton’s style and includes eight pairs of cowboy boots, including examples made from snake and lizard skin; a superbly hand-tooled saddle and lariat, chaps, spurs and tooled-leather saddlebags. Coming from Melton’s residence are numerous Western decorative articles: steer skulls, a Native-American fringed suede dress, early skis and poles; a Native headdress and polychrome-painted masks. The Melton estate offering also includes vintage cameras.

The Sept. 20 auction boasts a variety of other sought-after items, including carved walking sticks, a Yamaha acoustic guitar and approximately one dozen early African carved-wood masks. A collection of tinplate wind-up toys includes a Honeymoon Express, Lincoln Tunnel, 1950s fire truck with aerial ladder, Fred Flintstone and Dino; a Skeleton in Coffin coin bank and many other collector favorites.

Tonya A. Cameron’s auction featuring the living estate of two Boston-area physicians and the estate of William “Wild Bill” Melton will take place on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, at the company’s gallery at 37 Water St. (ground floor), Wakefield, MA 01880, commencing at 6 p.m. Eastern time. Preview on auction day from 12-5:45 p.m.

All forms of bidding will be available, including telephone, absentee and online through For additional information, call 781-233-0006 or e-mail Visit TAC Auctions online at

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