When it comes to elegant residential decor and grand ambassadorial-style hospitality, few American cities can match Washington, D.C. A hub for international diplomats for centuries, it has long been known as a sweet spot for tasteful antiques and artworks, such as those to be auctioned Sept. 10, 2011 at Quinn’s & Waverly in suburban Falls Church, Virginia. A special Sept. 8 offering of antique books, maps and autographs; and a Sept. 7 session devoted to antique pewter will precede the main sale.
The company’s Sept. 10 Fine & Decorative Art sale includes a wealth of treasures from D.C.-area homes, including a superb Tiffany & Co. antique sterling silver flatware service for 12 and a striking hand-painted and glazed Picasso ceramic pitcher.
Representing the highest quality in American decorative arts, the Tiffany name has never fallen out of favor with bidders at Quinn’s auction events. From the retail side of the Tiffany operation, Quinn’s will present as the centerpiece of its upcoming sale a magnificent circa-1900 sterling silver flatware service in the Florentine pattern. The set is accompanied by no fewer than a dozen serving pieces, including a soup ladle, asparagus tongs, pie knife and salad fork and spoon. The total measurable weight for the service – which is stored in a custom-made, triple-tier satin-lined chest – is 272.436 ozt. The hefty sterling service carries a presale estimate of $20,000-$25,000.
A classic circa-1905 Tiffany Studios table lamp entered in the Sept. 10 sale actually came from a private collection in Chicago and features an exquisite Daffodil shade on a perfectly balanced, urn-form, oil-font base. It has multiple Tiffany markings and stamps on both the shade and base – always a desired bonus – and is expected to make $15,000-$20,000.
A handsome mid-19th-century Continental rosewood-veneer secretary features two doors with glass panels in Gothic trefoil frames, and side-by-side drawers over a pull-out writing surface that reveals further drawers and inlaid pigeon holes. The bottom portion consists of three stacked drawers centered by two cabinets. Estimate: $2,000-$3,000.
Ever-popular Picasso pottery is represented by a circa-1952 painted and glazed “Cavalier and Horse” glazed earthenware pitcher. Finished in deep cobalt blue, tobacco brown and black on a white ground, it is inscribed “Edition Picasso” and “Madoura,” with appropriate stamps and the edition number “126/300.” The vessel is estimated at $4,000-$6,000.
Fine art entries include a signed, circa-1963 Richard Alan Schmid (American, B. 1934-) oil on canvas titled Azaleas. An accomplished work measuring 20 by 12 inches (sight) and presented in a frame inscribed “Framed by Schmid,” it is described by Quinn’s associate Matthew Quinn as “a painting with great presence – it captures the eye and stands out as being something special.” The artwork could bring $4,000-$6,000.
The oil-on-canvas landscape Pine Tree, Norfolk, Connecticut was painted by Guy Pene du Bois (American/French, 1884-1958) and features a central pine tree with long branches, against a hazy green and blue background. Artist-signed and inscribed, the artwork measures 16¼ by 12 inches (sight) and is estimated at $1,800-$2,000.
Measuring 42 inches wide by 21 inches high, a Royal Copenhagen glazed cobalt-blue porcelain coelacanth (also known as a “fossil fish”) features bas-relief scales, an arched back and open mouth. Designed by Jeanne Grut (b. 1927-), the piece is titled The Blue Fish and could reel in $3,000-$4,000.
An extraordinary memento of the Panama Canal’s excavation, a circa-1914 custom-made occupational shaving mug bears a photographic transfer image of a steam shovel crew on the canal’s worksite. “The consignor’s grandfather was the crew boss and had one of these mugs made for each of the 11 members of his crew,” said Matthew Quinn. “Occupational shaving mugs have developed a very strong following over the last few years. We think this extremely rare mug could make as much as $5,000 at auction.”
On Sept. 8, Quinn’s associate auction house Waverly’s, will offer 300-400 lots of rare books, maps and autographs, with the sale’s headliner being a highly important document signed in 1802 by President Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of the Navy Robert V. Smith. The document consists of instructions to commanders of U.S. armed vessels navigating the Barbary Coast, conveying to them the right to bear arms “…for protecting effectually the commerce and seamen thereof.” Jefferson goes on to say,“…you are hereby authorized and directed to subdue, seize, and make prize, of all vessels, goods and effects, belonging to the Bey [sic.] of Tripoli, or to his subjects, and to bring or send the same into port, to be proceeded against and distributed according to law.”
“This document, which was identified as ‘An Act for the protection of Commerce, ’ was a key part of the Jefferson Administration’s increasingly strong response to the demands of northern African pirates for tribute in return for the safe passage of American merchant ships,” said Waverly’s specialist Anson Brown. At the time, captured American sailors were being held for ransom or even sold into slavery in Africa. Jefferson flatly rejected the Pasha of Tripoli’s demand in 1801 for $225,000 in tribute, with annual payments of $25,000 thereafter. Instead, Jefferson crafted an Act that empowered the U.S. Navy to arm its personnel and take proactive measures. The historically significant document is estimated at $3,500-$6,000.
The Sept. 7 session’s European pewter offerings are led by an early 17th-century charger stamped “Cardinal” and marked on the plate rim with the Arms of Bishop Adrian III or IV of Riedmatten. On verso, it is marked “Pierre II Royaume 1609” and has the hallmark “F” below a crown. Measuring 13¾ inches in diameter, it is expected to make $200-$400.
A group of four pewter boxes includes a spice box with animal feet and finial with an interior angel-and-sword mark for Johannes Vepz. It is also marked “1715” on the lid. The quartet also includes a sectioned French pharmacy box marked inside the lid “FP Dusaussois Paris 1795,” and an old pewter snuffbox, possibly 18th century. Lot estimate: $200-$300.
An American (Meriden, Conn.) Jean Theobald pewter tea set with wood handles includes a teapot, cream pitcher sugar dish and tray. Each piece is stamped “Pewter by Wilcox P26.” Quinn’s estimates the set will realize $200-$400.
All forms of bidding, including live via the Internet, will be available for Quinn’s Sept. 10 Fine & Decorative Art auction, and for the Sept. 7 Pewter and Sept. 8 Books, Maps & Autographs sessions. For additional information, call Matthew Quinn at 703-532-5632 or E: matthew.quinn[.]quinnsauction.com. Visit Quinn’s online.