(Aberdeen, Miss.) – A stunning and heavily carved Norman dining room suite, crafted in 1911 by the Oriel Cabinet Company and previously owned by a direct descendant of Guilford Dudley, former President Richard Nixon’s Ambassador to Denmark, sold for $83,600 at a multi-estate sale held May 30-31 by Stevens Auction Company. The sale was held in the firm’s spacious gallery in Aberdeen.
The Norman suite was the top seller in an auction that saw nearly 450 lots cross the block over the course of two days. About 240 people attended the event, light by Stevens Auction standards. “We usually attract more than 300 people, and I’m guessing the price of gasoline may have kept some people away,” said Dwight Stevens, “but we also had more phone bidders than at any auction before.”
Mr. Stevens said phone bids were made on over 300 of the 440 lots offered. “We had eight phone lines and all were used,” he remarked, “but attendance was light, and I do attribute that to fuel prices. They’re high, and it’s affected everything. But people know, too, that quality antiques are a safer investment than putting their money in a bank. And this was select, fresh-to-the-market merchandise.”
Oriel Cabinet Company manufactured the Norman suite before consolidating operations with Berkey & Gay in 1912 and becoming Berkey & Gay’s Plant #1. The suite included a set of beautiful Irish Chippendale dining chairs, purchased at the same time as the suite (circa 1911), and featured massively carved mascarons, Norman soldiers, atlantes and caryatid figures, plus griffins in full relief.
Following are other highlights from the sale. All prices quoted include a 10% buyer’s premium.
A two-piece rosewood Victorian bedroom suite with bronze plaque and beautiful gold incising, attributed to Allen Brothers (circa 1865), gaveled for $36,300; a three-piece Mitchell & Rammelsberg walnut Victorian bedroom suite (signed, circa 1860) rose to $21,450; and a massive rosewood ¾ tester bed, signed Mitchell & Rammelsberg (circa 1860, 103 inches tall x 74 inches long) realized $17,600.
An extraordinary pair of Victorian gilt and patinated bronze Argand lamps, signed I & I Cox, N.Y. (circa 1850), soared to $27,500; a 32-light bronze and crystal chandelier, electrified, 4 feet long x 2.5 feet wide (circa 1875), lit up the room for $5,500; and a large Federal convex mirror with eagle and cherub figures, originally housed at Hamilton Hall in Columbus, Miss. (circa 1820), went for $3,520.
A carved mahogany 9-tube, 4-weight grandfather clock, 8′ 6” tall x 2′ 4” wide (circa 1890) chimed on time at $17,600; a monumental carved oak 5-tube grandfather clock with elite movement, 9′ 3” tall x 3 feet wide (circa 1880), hammered for $8,800; and an Old Paris clock with figural top fetched $1,980. Also, a 1952 Chevrolet pick-up truck, fully restored, with 28,000 original miles, made $11,550.
Nearly two hours of the Friday session were dedicated to selling about 50 rare and vintage dolls, at prices that averaged around $300 each. Top achievers included a 23-inch Jumeau bisque head doll with joint composition body (circa 1860s, $2,915); an 18-inch Steiner walking automaton with kid body ($990); and an 11-inch Etienne Denamur French bisque head doll with composition body ($495).
From the fine art category, a pair of works realized identical prices of $6,380. One was a 19th-Century oil on canvas family scene by J. Hayes (4.5 feet x 5.5 feet); the other was an Italian oil on canvas of a Venezia scene, signed by an unknown artist (4.5 feet x 6 feet). Also, a 19th-Century rosewood and satin harp with ladies in partial relief, by Browne & Buckwell (N.Y.), reached $6,160.
A pair of rosewood Victorian parlor sofas with red and gold upholstery, attributed to Belter (89 inches long, circa 1850), sold for $11,000 each; a laminated rosewood pierce-carved Belter chair (circa 1855) topped out at $6,820; a rosewood Victorian Meeks Stanton Hall parlor sofa (circa 1855) fetched $5,720; and a laminated rosewood Belter fountain elm parlor side chair (circa 1850) achieved $5,500.
A museum-quality 19th-Century Meissen centerpiece with figurals draped in flowers (31 inches tall) changed hands for $13,200; a 19th-Century Meissen urn with delicately design and scene of Jesus in Galilea (30 inches tall) topped out at $6,380; a pair of Victorian gilt bronze Sevres cobalt blue vases went for a combined $5,060; and a pair of 19th-Century Sevres and gilt bronze vases fetched $3,960.
A burl walnut flat-top Wooten desk with original Wooten plaque (circa 1870) brought $7,700; a magnificent Victorian full partner’s desk with pull-out Wooten-style drawers (circa 1880) climbed to $6,600; a rare Renaissance Victorian scenic inlaid music cabinet, attributed to Herter Brothers (circa 1850), made $6,160; and an Edison Standard cylinder player (1908, rare Model N) gaveled for $1,540.
A rare, round Belter Rosalie pattern marble-top center table with laminated skirt and fruit basket finial (circa 1855) sold to a determined bidder for $8,800; a Thomas Brooks walnut marble-top parlor table (circa 1860) made a respectable $3,080; an American Empire center table with inserted marble base (circa 1840) went for $2,640; and an 1810 Federal mahogany pedestal made a surprising $3,080.
An early solid cherry Southern Jackson press (94 inches tall x 44 inches wide, circa 1820) sold for $5,060; a carved walnut Victorian sideboard with rams’ heads, attributed to A. Roux (5 feet wide, circa 1860) realized $4,950; a mahogany fiddle-backed drop-front secretary with oval door panels (circa 1850) achieved $3,740; and a mahogany Federal dining table (Philadelphia, 1819) hit $3,300.
Stevens Auction Company’s immediate calendar of upcoming sales features a pair of on-site estate sales, both in June and both in Mississippi. On Saturday, June 14, starting at 10 a.m., the estate of Mr. Lon Pickens will be sold, at 507 E. Walnut Street in Ripley (located 20 miles north of New Albany). Then, on Saturday, June 28, also at 10 a.m., the Dowdle estate will be sold, in Columbus.
Both estates will feature hundreds of antiques and collectibles for the discerning buyer. Auction information and images of many of the lots to be offered may be viewed on the Stevens Auction Company website: www.stevensauction.com. Another estate sale – also an on-site affair, to be held in Carrollton, Miss. – will be held at a time and date to be announced. Watch the website for more details.
Stevens Auction Company was founded in 1984 and conducts on-site sales throughout the Southeast, as well as at its gallery facility in Aberdeen (located about 135 miles southeast of Memphis, Tenn., on U.S. Rte. 45). The firm is always accepting quality consignment for future sales. To consign a single item, a collection or an entire estate, you may call them directly at (662) 369-2200. Or, you may e-mail them at [email protected]. For more information, click on www.stevensauction.com