Elegant objects commanded attention at Fontaine’s Auction Gallery on March 23, 2019, where a Steinway grand piano along with antiques and furniture from such well-known makers as Tiffany Studios and R.J. Horner took center stage.
The top lot of the auction was a Steinway Model D Centennial Concert Grand piano that attained $169,400. The piano, which went to a buyer from Texas, got its name from William E. Steinway in 1876 before it competed that year at the first World’s Fair held in Philadelphia, in honor of United States’ 100th anniversary of its independence. The model won “best concert grand piano” and this 1877 model is one of about 424 made over seven years.
“Buyers today are very selective and looking for high quality pieces. This auction performed well, with great items bringing robust prices, from ornate leaded glass windows to American-made furniture,” said John Fontaine, owner of Fontaine’s Auction Gallery. “The auction totaled $1,300,000; a noteworthy amount even given the technical issues that we overcame.”
The auction was originally scheduled for March 9 and about a dozen lots crossed the block that day, including the first lot, a 24-inch Tiffany Studios inverted hanging lamp that realized $66,550, before the phone and internet connection with Spectrum failed, forcing Fontaine’s to stop the sale and continue it to another day, which it did March 23. When the auction started up again, it was all smooth sailing and many of the auction’s top lots performed within or above their estimates.
Embodying a timeless design that is always in style, leaded glass windows did well in this auction, with nine choice examples featuring intricate craftsmanship and vivid coloring that brought a combined total of around $200,000.
“We will sometimes get one or two nice examples of leaded glass windows but to have nine of them in one auction is a real coup,” Fontaine said. “They all had great color and their subject matter was compelling. We had a lot of presale interest and the final prices reflected their quality and desirability.”
The grouping was led by an 8-foot library window with fiery orange and green panels, griffins, cornucopias and a knight’s helmet over a shield, 103 by 76 inches, that made $66,550 and a pair of drapery windows depicting angels amid a scenic background in yellows and blues, 87 inches tall, which fetched $48,400.
Tiffany lighting continues to be popular with buyers and Fontaine’s has a knack for ferreting out good examples, time and again. In this sale, a stunner was the Tiffany bronze and art glass chandelier going for $54,450, which had a long reeded stem over a spherical cluster and six arms branching out to support the 21-1/2-inch Gothic style ring below, overall 53 inches tall, as well as the aforementioned hanging lamp at $66,550 and a Nautilus desk lamp doubling the estimate at $16,335. Several other Tiffany items found new homes, including a 14-inch leaded Tulip shade at $21,175. Bringing the same price of $16,940 were an 18-inch Tiffany Studios Swirling Oak Leaf table lamp and a Tiffany Favrile Peacock art glass lamp base.
Clocks are a specialty at Fontaine and a headliner was an R.J. Horner mahogany rattail grandfather clock that made $45,375, despite condition issues. The 118-inch tall clock has a 12-inch silvered dial signed “Joseph Jennens, Skinner Street, Clerkenwell, London,” nine tubes striking Westminster and Whittington chimes and comes in a carved R.J. Horner mahogany case with a large pierced and carved winged maiden crest and figural winged griffin corbels.
Along with the clock, ornate furniture and heavily carved pieces performed well in this auction, including a rosewood parlor cabinet attributed to Pottier & Stymus that sold within estimate at $39,325, featuring a long beveled center mirror with overhanging bonnet top and flanked by two crystal cabinets, 101 by 67 inches; and a pair of Renaissance Revival walnut breakfronts that bested its high estimate to earn $25,410. The rare pair of matched Victorian bookcases was notable for its size and style, featuring a marble top work shelf and classic breakfront styling, carved pulls and crests, gilt incising and ebonized trim. The pair measured 120 by 66-1/4 by 21 inches.
Rounding out the auction was a pair of bronze torchieres from a Chicago courthouse having large square bronze bases with acanthus leaf trim, 88 inches tall, that realized $21,175.
Fontaine’s Auction Gallery is actively seeking quality items, to include furniture, lighting, clocks and watches, paintings, porcelains, bronze and marble statuary, Asian items, art glass and cameo glass, Russian objects, silver, musical, coin-op, advertising, toys, banks, gaming and carousel items for future sales. Consignments are currently being accepted for all the upcoming auctions.
The firm will buy outright or accept on consignment fine antiques, collections or entire estates. To consign call John Fontaine at (413) 448-8922 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All prices reported include a 21% buyer’s premium.
Fontaine’s Auction Gallery is located at 1485 West Housatonic Street (Route 20) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. For more information, about the company and the upcoming auction schedule, visit www.fontainesauction.com. Updates are posted frequently.