In less than a year Stair Galleries has established a reputation for its ability to find and offer fine, fresh estate merchandise. Their May 25th sale in Hudson, NY was no exception with property from the Estate of Senator and Mrs. Terry Carpenter of Scottsbluff, Nebraska; a Midwestern Americana collector; the Estate of Walter Rotan, a listed New York City sculptor and teacher; Ingrao, Inc., a prestigious architecture, design and decoration firm based in New York City; a Southampton estate, 2 Columbia County residences and other private homes in Manhattan and Massachusetts.

Because of the holiday weekend, there were an unusually large number of absentee and phone bids. The sale kicked into high gear with Lot 20, the watercolor attributed to Paul Seifert that came from a Southampton estate. Five phone bidders quickly vanquished the absentee bids and Rupert Fennell, of Stair Galleries, executing a bid on behalf of a well-known Manhattan dealer quickly got the price up to $35,000 in the room. At that point the phone bidders took over, with Westborough, Massachusetts dealer David Wheatcroft beating out the competition at $58,000. When he picked up his purchase in Claverack the week after the sale he said he was delighted to own the Seifert because it is one of the best he has ever seen.

Two 19th c. portrait paintings did well; the first was a full-length portrait of a young girl in a blue dress and pantaloons holding a cat; the second depicted a handsome man identified as "Tyler Briggs, M.D." Each sold for $5,750. Among the American furniture highlights were a New York mahogany chest on chest ($11,000), an 18th c. walnut highboy ($7,000), a pair of Federal carved giltwood mirrors ($16,000), a 19th c. Newport chest on chest ($6,500) and a Pennsylvania walnut side chair ($6,750). A Steinway grand piano in a mahogany Queen Anne-style case sold at $14,000 and is being shipped to Japan. An elegant Edwardian satinwood and marquetry cabinet on stand brought $4,750 and is on its way back to England. A wonderful set of George III-style mahogany side chairs with stepped top rails and drapery swags sold for $8,000 and a Regency mahogany bow-front sideboard with lion's head ring drop handles fetched $5,000. A Regence-style walnut suite comprising a settee and four fauteuils a la reine, all in original needlework brought $10,000.

Notable among the many fine "smalls" sold at the auction were a Charles II stumpwork picture ($8,500), a pair of Swedish neoclassical crescent-topped candelabra ($5,500) and an unusual powder horn inscribed "Daniel Read's Powder Horn Made in Lisbon and State of Connecticut March ye 3rd 1802" decorated with ships, fish, a flowering tree, a manor house, slaves in chains and the words "As Cold," "Presumption" and "Cruelty," depicting an abolitionist's view of an evil institution. It sold for $14,000.

Of the 339 lots offered only 22 failed to sell. The auction total (including buyer's premium) was $507,368.74. (Prices quoted above for individual lots do not include the 15% buyer's premium.)
Stair Galleries' next auction is scheduled for July 27. The catalogue for the sale will be on their website ( 2 weeks prior to the sale.

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