About That Auction...

I recently wrote (here) about an exciting, upcoming auction I was planning on attending.  I did not get to attend the entire auction and missed out on some of the items I had hoped to bid on. Surprisingly, there was not a large crowd either day of the two-day auction. I would say at best there were perhaps a hundred people in attendance, the majority of which I would guess were dealers.

Most of the bidding originated from either the internet via Live Auction or from phone bids. Two women manned the internet bidding next to the auctioneer and two or three women were manning the phones. This bidding is what pushed the prices up and often no one actually attending the auction was the successful bidder.

A decorative arts auction is very fast paced. On average, the auctioneer pushed through almost two lots per minute! Only when the bidding escalated did it take longer, so it was important to be confident in what you were bidding on and how high you were willing to bid. There is no time to think!  Later, in this post I will show what I was successful at bidding on.

As I mentioned, some of the items I considered I missed out on because I could not make the entire auction. I could only attend an hour or so each of the two days. So, I was very curious to see what prices they sold at. The auction house, Pook and Pook  publishes all the sale prices on their website so it is very easy to look up the sales history.

First up, the pair of 20thc leather club chairs that had an estimated selling price of $50-$100. These chairs were a well worn pair, with a lot of age and patina. If you recall, I had decided against them because they had fabric seats instead of leather which is not really visible in the photo. Unbelievably, they sold for a whopping $1580.00!!  This was an internet sale and I believe the first bid was for $750- so much for a low estimate. This should give some idea of how the auction went from there. Many of the items sold way beyond their estimated selling price. I guess all those astoundingly low prices realized at the previous auction I didn't attend were not going to be repeated this time- figures.

 Estimated selling price was $200-$400 with a realized price of $356.00.  Darn, I missed this one!

The 19th c column estimated at $100-$200 sold at $89.00.  I didn't bid as the column was more diminutive in person than I had realized from the catalog photo. Pretty, just too small for my purposes.


The greatest disappointment was this wonderful French baker's table which had a very low estimate of $200-$400 (too god to be true) and sold at $1896.00! I didn't even jump into the fray which was all internet driven. It was over very quickly so at least I did not suffer much! I believe the bidding opened at $700.00.

The Staffordshire transferware which was estimated at $100-$200 sold at $178.00. The teapot was gorgeous so I think this was a good buy for someone. This was another one I could not make in time.

 The demijohns I had already decided against as they were enormous- way too big for my smallish house. The were estimated at $200-$400 and went for $304.00.

I also decided against this French globe- it just was not special enough.  Estimated price- $150-$250, with a realized a price of $526- someone thought it was special!

The beautiful 19th c French bee skep estimated at $200-$400 realized $851.00! Another huge underestimate.

The 19th c Chinese Garden stool estimated at $200-$400 sold for $237- I had decided against it because it was quite small.

The other pair of leather chairs I had decided to try for were estimated at $200-$400 and sold for $1944.00!

Other items of special interest included a beautiful painted on oil leather screen estimated at $200-$300 which sold for $334.00.  The screen was gorgeous and although it had some mold which needed to be addressed (most likely, a very expensive restoration), I really regret that I was unable to be there for the bidding. It was a very special piece.

And once again, a small collection of flow blue estimated at $400-$700 which sold for only $296.00. I just could not make the time to be there for the bidding. I guess I am going to have to consider the phone or internet bidding which I have not yet tried.

These pretty pieces (very nice in person) of Delft were estimated at $100-$200 and sold for $122.00.

This painting by Harry Davis Fluhart- Williams sold way over the estimate of $200-$400 for a whopping $8505.00!!

This watercolor coastal scene did not make its estimated price of $100-$200- it sold for $89.00.

This was an interesting piece; an 18th c English pine settle bench, with a fold out hired man's bed. Estimated at $400-$700, sold at $533.00

My favorite of the Russian icons, a jeweled silver mother and child sold for $3159, almost $1400 over the high estimate.

The auctioneer couldn't help but comment how times have changed when this pair of 18th c Queen Anne chairs fetched only $213, on the low side of the estimated $200-$300.

 This collection of  blue Opaline fared well with a winning bid of $1304, $804 over the high estimate.


Finally, the only items on my wish list I was successful at bidding for were the leather mother of pearl inlaid nesting tables which were estimated at $100-$200 and which went for $100.00. They have a new home in my guest bedroom.

  And a collection of pewter (I had originally overlooked) estimated at $150-$250 which I got for $267.00.  I am still deciding where they will go.

So, there you have it. There were some highs but more lows. A lot of the items I wanted went way past their estimated price. I am happy to say I did not yield to temptation and bid beyond my set limit. Buyer's regret would have taken away any sense of victory as I have so painfully learned from past missteps. All in all, though, it was a fun experience and I am always intrigued at what is of interest to other bidders and how high the bidding can go. As I mentioned, the internet and phone bidders were the most active and successful. Will I do another auction- but, of course!!

To see more of the realized prices from this auction, go here. To view upcoming auctions and learn more about the auction process, go here.

All photos via Pook and Pook.

 I make every effort to credit original sources and link wherever possible. I would be grateful if you can provide information on any unnamed source.  If you are the owner of any uncredited images, no deliberate infringement of copyright is intended. I respect all intellectual property and will remove or modify any image or post at the owner's request.

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