It was standing room only at the Hudson Elks Lodge on Saturday, April 6, for the launch of Stair Galleries' 2002 live auction season. Nearly 200 shoppers registered to buy at the sale and another 85 participated with absentee and phone bids. In less than a year, this young company has attracted a devoted following due to its ability to find fresh estate merchandise and the success of its user-friendly website.

There was spirited bidding on the 4 paintings by California artists, the most coveted being a Francis Cutting oil entitled "Near Arvin" which sold for $2200, or $2180 over its original 1938 price. Equestrian art was well received, as usual. A lot of 2 paintings by George Paice, one of "Lyddite," the other of "Topthorne," brought $2000 and a James Clark depiction of a white horse in a stall jumped over its pre-sale estimate to bring $3250.

The top furniture lot was a handsome George III mahogany chest on chest, hammered down for $4500. Also faring well were a Regency mahogany tall case clock ($4250), a Regency mahogany writing table ($2600) and a New England Queen Anne cherry highboy ($4250). Continental furniture was popular with the audience. Many pieces exceeded their high estimates including a Louis XV Provincial commode (est. $800 - 1200, sold for $1600); a Flemish baroque armchair (est. $1500 - 2500, sold for $2600); an oak Welsh dresser base (est. $1400 - 1600, sold for $3500) and a pair of Louis XIV Provincial walnut tabourets (est. $1000 1500, sold for $3000).

There were quite a few standouts among the decorative items offered. A Louis XV carved Giltwood mirror reached $2000; 3 group lots of South Staffordshire souvenir boxes sold at $1100, $750 and $850; a Dodie Thayer cabbage-form tureen went for $1250 and a striking pair of yellow-ground composition lamps with blue iris decoration brought a surprising $2000. The sale was 97% sold and the total of all lots sold was above the high estimate.

A fully illustrated catalogue with prices realized may be viewed by clicking on "past events" and "April 6, 2002." The next auction is scheduled for May 25. That catalogue will be online approximately 2 weeks prior to the sale.

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