Chinese vases, Coca-Cola earn top dollar at Bruneau & Co.

Chinese Qing dynasty vase in robin’s egg blue glaze, 12¾in. tall. Price realized: $50,000. Bruneau & Co. image

CRANSTON, R.I. – A Chinese Qing dynasty robin’s egg blue vase, 12¾ inches tall, soared to $50,000 to take top lot honors at an Antiques, Collectibles & Fine Art Auction held July 13 by Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers. Just over 400 lots came up for bid in the sale that was highlighted by Asian arts and Coca-Cola. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

The Chinese vase (above) was potted bulbous baluster form having a corseted quatrefoil neck and rim with archaic handles and finished in a mottled robin’s egg blue glaze on a finely ground foot. The high-quality piece of porcelain bore a Qing dynasty mark to the underside and had been drilled, showing some minor kiln pitting. That didn’t deter bidders eager to claim it.

“The beauty of Asian arts is when two collectors fall in love you never know what the price will be,” said Kevin Bruneau, the president of Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers. “When first looking at the robin’s egg blue vase, we were unsure of how much the drilled bottom would affect the value. But in the end it didn’t really matter.” He added, “It was a strong auction overall and a fun time.”

Another Chinese vase, a Qing dynasty blue and white porcelain example, made circa 1909-1912 with the underside bearing a Xuantong six-character mark – changed hands for $10,000. The 15¼-inch-tall vase was globular form, with an elongated and corseted neck decorated with an allover lotus flower and tendril pattern having a foliate motif. It, too, had minor kiln pitting. All prices quoted in this report are inclusive of a sliding scale buyer’s premium.

Chinese Qing dynasty blue and white porcelain vase, 15¼in. tall, made circa 1909-1912 with the underside bearing a Xuantong six-character mark. Price realized: $10,000. Bruneau & Co. image

The auction was headlined by the single-owner collection of Russell Buteau of Millville, Massachusetts, a lifelong collector of Coca-Cola items and antiques for over 40 years. The first 136 lots in the auction were from Buteau’s collection, which included Coca-Cola machines, coolers from numerous brands, over a dozen advertising clocks, and tin, porcelain and paper advertising signs.

Coca-Cola is Buteau’s specialty and one lot that attracted intense bidder interest was a circa 1939 Coca-Cola salesman’s sample ice chest cooler in the original paint, including advertising booklets. The metal chest, 9¾ inches tall and 12¼ inches by 7¼ inches, displayed very well and was in all-original condition, with just some light paint wear. It changed hands for $2,250.

Circa 1939 Coca-Cola salesman’s sample ice chest cooler in the original paint, including advertising booklets; displays very well and is in all-original condition. Price realized: $2,250. Bruneau & Co. image

“It was an honor to handle the collection of a long-term family friend,” said Travis Landry, a Bruneau & Co. specialist and auctioneer who’s known Buteau since his first job working at a local auction house when he was 13 years old. He added, “Plus the rare stuff did perform. I felt the results were strong for items such as the salesman sample cooler and the Vendo 44 machine.”

The auction also featured a large array of European furniture, art glass, porcelains, fine paintings (featuring artists such as Hunt Slonem and Charles Henry Gifford), bronzes and other sculptures, chandeliers and lighting, plus a robust selection of fresh estate jewelry.

An expressionist painting by Hunt Slonem (American, b. 1951), titled White Sulphur (1988), depicting white butterflies over a powder blue background, went for $10,000. The painting was executed using Slonem’s signature sgraffito technique and was housed in a 40-by-40-inch frame. It was signed (“Hunt Slonem”) and titled and dated on verso. In May, Bruneau & Co. sold a painting by Slonem, titled Butterfly’s (2003) for $15,000.

Expressionist painting by Hunt Slonem titled ‘White Sulphur’ and depicting butterflies over a powder-blue background, artist signed. Price realized: $10,000. Bruneau & Co. image

A rare, hand-drawn and colored map of the Georgia territories by Daniel Sturges, dated 1808 and executed for a client, Mr. Bohl Bohlers, gaveled for $5,938. Included in the lot was the original 63,000-acre land deed issued to Bohlers in 1775 and over 10 letters of correspondence, including one that appeared to be from Sturges’s friend Andrew Jackson before he was president. The map, measuring 16¾ inches by 21¼ inches, was in a remarkably fine state of preservation.

Hand-drawn and colored 1808 map of the Georgia territories by Daniel Sturges with a 63,000-acre land deed issued to Bohl Bohlers in 1775. Price realized: $5,938. Bruneau & Co. image

A Tiffany & Co. Swiss-made 14L gold women’s watch with a white Roman numeral dial, housed in a simple, circular 14K yellow gold bezel with a chain link band fastened with a ladder clasp, sold for $2,125. The watch was marked “Tiffany & Co.” on the face and “Tiffany & Co. 14K Swiss Water Resistant” on the inside of the watch’s clasp.

A group of 20th century Oceanic carvings from the South Pacific consisting of a pair of wood divination plates, a wood mortar, a wood page turner, a wood dolphin with mother of pearl and a wood whale with mother of pearl, sold as one lot for $2,000. The whale was 18¾ inches long and the dolphin was 16¼ inches long.

Oceanic carved wood objects from the South Pacific. Price realized: $2,000. Bruneau & Co. image

For more information contact Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers at or 401- 533-9980.