ALAMEDA, CA.- Michaans Auctions
series of fine sales for the year 2013 began with an offering of American and European furniture and decorative arts, fine arts and jewelry. The auction was held on Friday, June the 7th and produced impressive numbers from each department, culminating in a daily sales total just shy of $1.4 million.
Over 170 lots of fine art began the auction, with the departments highest sales total coming from lot 2043. Joseph Rusling Meekers Near the Atchafalaya, 1881 had an estimated worth of $30,000-50,000 and managed to sell for a handsome $64,900. Heavy floor and phone bidding consistently drove the price up, producing the top selling lot for the department.
The fine art lot to most sharply surpass its high estimate was 2002, a Jean Francois Millet piece titled Travailleurs dans le Champ. The charcoal on paper rural scene was conservatively estimated at $2,500-3,500, with bidders clearly taking note of its potential value. A strong phone bidding presence kept the price on an upward climb, with a French art dealer securing the piece for over 8 times the high estimate at $28,320.
Additional fine art sale highlights were found in a Henri Matisse selling for $20,060 (lot 2136 Le Fregate, 1938, estimate $10,000-15,000) and a Louis Aston Knight titled Dianas Cottage that sold for $18,880 (lot 2022, estimate $8,000-12,000). Pleasant surprises were also found in collectible works from American cartoon icon Charles Schulz. Two four panel cartoon strips featuring Charlie Brown, Lucille "Lucy" van Pelt and Snoopy surpassed their shared high estimates of $15,000, selling for $17,700 and $18,880 in their order of appearance in the auction (lots 2127, 2128).
A Lalique Bacchantes vase of opalescent glass maidens was projected to be the star lot for the Furniture and Decorative Arts Department and it most certainly did not disappoint. The fine piece of pristine condition was estimated at $15,000-20,000 and more than doubled its projected high value in the sale. A floor bidder based in Dallas, Texas bought the vase, helping it to realize a price of $50,150 (lot 2396).
Another lot of quality that performed well for the department was 2221, a Louis XV style champleve enamel and gilt bronze clock garniture complete with matching pair of candelabras. Estimated at $4,000-6,000, the ornate pieces more than tripled high projections with a sales total of $22,420.
A unique collection of personal items from Newburyport sea captain Jacob Stone also made an appearance at auction. The collection had an 80% sell-through with an American painted fire bucket selling for over 5 times the high estimate, a watercolor painting for over 4 times the high value and a portrait of Stone almost doubling projections.
Jewelry lots closed the sale, with monumental prices seen in a vast array of pieces. The last lot of the auction brought the highest bid of the entire day, as the substantial emerald, diamond, platinum and gold necklace brought in a six-figure sales total. The necklace centering an approximate 14.75 carat emerald was estimated at $60,000-80,000 and came to command $141,600 after a lengthy bidding war.
Rounding out successful jewelry offerings in the sale was a lot that included an unmounted diamond of approximately 3.33 carats (lot 2588, estimate $5,000-9,000, $30,680). A necklace featuring an approximate 63.00 carat aquamarine flanked by diamonds of various cuts (lot 2546, estimate $15,000-18,000) and an approximate 4.85 carat marquise-cut diamond ring (lot 2593, $14,000-18,000) each sold for $27,140. Jade rings also saw handsome figures, with lot 2535 bringing $17,700 ($16,000-18,000) and lot 2590 realizing $16,520 ($11,000-15,000).
Jewelry lot 2529 also drew a marked amount of attention. The Victorian scarab beetle parure was a most unusual offering, rare and coveted to say the least. The museum-caliber set of genuine beetle jewelry came in the form of earrings with a matching pendant-brooch, accompanied by its original fitted pigskin leather box. Not only was the parure a very unusual find, but it also remained in unbelievably wonderful condition. The scarab beetle jewelry sold for $5,605, falling squarely within its $5,000-7,000 estimate.