Auction Report: December 10, 2008

With most of our partner auction houses that specialize in fine art, antiques and collectibles going on hiatus for the holidays—and by the way, stay tuned, there are some great sales coming up after the first of the year—I turned to iGavel not as a last resort but, I admit this in all candor, to check them out for the first time.

I realize that I am probably not the last person on the block to do so, so if you have not yet experienced this Internet auction house, jump on board into the 21st century. iGavel is an online auction site dedicated solely to the sale of fine art, antiques and collectibles from a network of independently owned auction houses, dealers, appraisers and other professionals.

Sales are held in a traditional auction-catalog format entirely online with each lot accompanied by a number of images, clear professional descriptions, complete condition reports and starting bids that are the reserves.

Easy auction process

That’s the “for publication” definition. My impression was, and to paraphrase Lark Mason, president of iGavel, the key to the success of iGavel is to make the process simple and transparent for the customer. All items are vetted with complete professional descriptions. All items are well photographed to the extent that you can see the wormholes in 18th-century furniture or the distinguishing marks on a piece of porcelain. Condition reports are unsparingly explicit.

I jumped in with the Everard and Company sale to get a feel for what iGavel does. Here are some of my highlights of the sale.

Item 1215494, a Venetian walnut and part ebonized, carpet-upholstered armchair. The flaring upholstered back is flanked by open arms that are carved with putti and blackamoor figures centering an upholstered seat, raised on downscrolled legs joined by an X-form stretcher ending in dolphin-form feet. Stunning! The estimate was $6,000 to $8,000. The chair sold for $4,800.

Venetian armchair

Item 1215483, Portrait of a Girl in a Red Dress. The painting is attributed to U.S./UK artist Mark Fisher (1841-1923). The many images provided of this painting left nothing to doubt about its quality and importance. With an estimate of $4,000 to $6,000, the painting sold for $3,120.

Portrait attributed to Mark Fisher

Item 1215528, a superb example of Daum Nancy glassware. This 8-by-6 ½-inch vase depicts a cameo glass vase with a fall scene. Oviform with cameo decoration of trees in tones of yellow and orange along a river accented in green and yellow against a blue sky. Marked on the base, Daum Nancy and initialed FG with cross of Lorraine. The estimate was $8,000 to $12,000. It sold for $ 8,700.

Daum Nancy vase

– By Christopher Kent, a member of the WorthPoint board of advisers and director of evaluations for WorthPoint. He is also an antiques and collectibles generalist, fine-arts broker and president of CTK Design.

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