Folk Art Fires Up Bidders at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries' Winter Auction on Feb. 11 & 12

Circa 1870 American carved wooden minstrel figure of "Jim Crow" or "Daddy Rice" that brought $157,950 at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries' Winter sale on Feb. 11 & 12

THOMASTON, ME:  An impending blizzard did not diminish bidder enthusiasm at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries’ winter feature sale on February 11 and 12.  An enthusiastic crowd, including over 2,500 in house, online and telephone participants, battled for extraordinary pieces from the Leo Wilensky collection, plus a diverse array of fine art and antiques, throughout the two day auction.

Thomaston Place Auctioneer and President Kaja Veilleux noted:  “I was very impressed at the strength of the high end and mid-range folk art items that performed extremely well in this auction.”

Top lot was an important, circa 1870 American carved polychrome wooden minstrel figure of “Jim Crow” or “Daddy Rice” that brought $157,950.  These characters were placed outside of theaters and cigar shops, and this was one of the finest original examples known to exist. A tobacconist trade figure of an American Indian carved by William Rush (1756-1833), once displayed in an early 19th Century Philadelphia shop and probably the earliest surviving example of a Native American figure as tobacco advertisement, sold for $64,350.

Another standout item from the Wilensky collection, a 7-foot wide 19th Century weathervane in the form of an American fire engine steam pumper drawn by two horses, fetched $55,575, and an exquisite Centennial patchwork quilt with highly detailed needlework depicting a marriage scene with church, village houses and people sold for $19,890.

A rare, child-size red painted Queen Anne period highboy from the Delaware Valley Region brought $38,610 after enthusiastic bidding, and a cased prisoner-of-war made ship model from the Napoleonic era raised $16,380 after heated competition between phone and floor bidders.

A circa 1800 mahogany, rosewood and brass inlaid liquor chest reputedly owned by Commodore William Bainbridge (1774-1833), known for his victory over the HMS Java during the War of 1812 while in command of the USS Constitution, raised $14,188.

There was applause after strong competition for a Chinese blue lacquered panel with decoration hardwood and cloisonné enamel decoration depicting flowers drove the selling price to $21,060 against a presale estimate of $2,000 to $3,000.

Many other items also greatly exceeded their presale auction estimates, such as: a pair of folk art sculptures of angels in flight by Earl Cunningham (FL/ME, 1893-1977) that created excitement when they rocketed past their $3,000 to $5,000 presale estimate and sold for $10,530; and a 17th Century English oak hall bench with linen fold carved back panels that reached $9,945 versus a $3,000 to $5,000 estimate; a pair of Chinese huanghuali wood 19th Century armchairs that brought $9,000 ($1,000-$1,500 estimate);  an unusual hand painted 19th Century Prohibition broadside from Pennsylvania that reached $7,020 ($2,000-3,000 estimate); and an oil on panel painting titled “Sunken Meadow” by George W. Picknell (CT/VT/France) that sold for $5,850 ($800-1,200 estimate).

Other high flying lots included: an English-made circa 1860 Civil War presentation naval bowie knife that brought $11,115; a pair of Josiah Loring (Boston) desk-top globes dated 1833 and 1834 in their original stands that fetched $9,000; a triple scarab form inkwell by Tiffany Studios that achieved a selling price of $9,945; and a 17th Century English Wrotham ware pottery posset pot that sold for $8,190.

A complete list of auction results can be found at  The next Thomaston Place Auction Galleries fine art and antique feature auction will take place on June 3 & 4, 2017.

Thomaston Place Auction Galleries is coastal Maine’s premier auction and appraisal company located on U.S. Route 1 in Thomaston.  Thomaston Place is a leader in discovering Maine’s antique and fine art treasures by offering Free Appraisals each Tuesday at the Gallery, creating fundraiser events for civic and charitable organizations, and providing house call appraisal services.  Its expertise in researching and marketing antiques and fine art has earned Thomaston Place the respect of buyers, collectors and experts worldwide.


NOTE:  All prices include the 17% buyer’s premium.


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