SUPER HOLIDAY SALE FOR STAIR GALLERIES
The salesroom was packed for Stair Galleries' second annual Holiday auction on Saturday, December 7th at the Hudson Elks Lodge in Hudson, NY. 344 enthusiastic bidders participated in person, by phone or by left bid.
While other auction houses have been experiencing soft sales in the past few months, Stair has continued on an upswing with its formula of few reserves and reasonable estimates. On Saturday the bidding soared over the high estimate of $488,515 and grossed $616,035.74; of the 577 lots offered only 6.5% failed to sell. According to Colin Stair, president of the company, the success of this sale was aided by an improved website that received over 8,000 hits prior to the auction and the publicity generated by an article about Stair Galleries which ran in the December issue of Architectural Digest.
Painting sales were particularly strong: a William Yorke oil (lot 155) of the "George Bailey" made $18,000 against a $3000 - 5000 estimate; a vibrant Edmund Darch Lewis watercolor (lot 156a) fetched $3500; a Frank Vining Smith ship at sea (lot 157) made a surprising $3250 and a Jean-Baptiste Guillaumin (lot 168) sold for over 20 times its high estimate, bringing $25,000.
An interesting group of miniature furniture from a Princeton collection fared well, especially a petite Regency rosewood bookcase (lot 431) that was just 15 ˝ inches tall and held 18 volumes of "Elegant Extracts" published in London by John Sharp. It exceeded its estimate of $800-1200 and was hammered down for $3750. Black lacquer furniture was very popular with a pair of Chinese export Regency chairs in exquisite gilt Chinoiserie decoration (lot 24) estimated at $1800 - 2200 bringing $7000; a Regency Chinoiserie sofa table also sold for $7000. Two similar 4-drawer Chinoiserie chests sold at $2100 (lot 233) and $3100 (lot 242). The top lot of Americana was a fire bucket inscribed "NO. 2/John Harbach/1790/Nobis Vincinisque" that made $8500. An ebony Steinway baby grand piano (lot 284) sold for over 3 times the high estimate at $18,000.
Highlights among the silver lots were a Tiffany tea and coffee service with elaborate repoussé decoration (lot 86) that made $9500 and a similar water pitcher (lot 87) that sold for $2400.
Stairs Galleries' 2003 auction calendar will start up in February or March. Contact the office at 518-851-2544 or by email for consignment information.