MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. – If there was one takeaway from the Benefit Shop Foundation’s Dec. 5 Red Carpet Auction, it was that fine design never goes out of style. Buyers had an eye for statement pieces that make a home special and found plenty at the auction. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.
Bucking the trend in recent years regarding the salability of “brown furniture,” the top lot of the auction was a massive French antique wood farm-style dining table (above), measuring 10 feet 6 inches by 41 inches, that went to an online bidder in California for $20,320, well above its $1,000-$2,000 estimate. The buyer’s locale was noteworthy as furniture usually sells within a short trucking distance of the auction gallery.
“This table is a fabulous piece for family meals and entertaining. Weighing just over 300 pounds, it’s quite a piece and took three of our guys to move it out of the Westport home it came out of,” said Pam Stone, owner and founder of the Benefit Shop Foundation. “The auction exceeded our expectations and proved that classic design is timeless, led by this table, gorgeous Oriental rugs and elegant English furniture.”
The source for most of the lots in the auction was an elegantly furnished waterfront home in Westport, Conn., owned by John Edelman, CEO of Design Within Reach, and his wife, Bonnie, who donated to items to the sale. A portion of the proceeds from the auction will benefit the Edelmans’ favorite charitable organization, DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, in New York City, as well as local organizations supported by the Benefit Shop Foundation.
The farm table was one in a trio of standout tables from the Edelmans’ home that savvy buyers picked up to furnish their homes. Perfectly suited for a library or office, an antique English oak folding top table with frieze drawer on barley twist and turned legs joined by a stretcher, 30 by 64 by 16 inches, realized $4,762, nearly four times its high estimate while a George III English serving table in mahogany, circa 1775, made $4,127.
“John and Bonnie’s home was beautifully furnished with traditional antiques, especially fine English furniture, but their taste leans more toward the modern aesthetic so when they bought this home, they generously donated these pieces to our auction,” Stone said. “We knew they would make a big splash here, but I am very pleased with how the sale went overall and how these pieces were received by bidders.”
The auction was also notable in that bidders got their first look at the expanded space that the auctioneers are moving into, in the same building but around the back. Bidders who came to auction preview saw the offerings staged in the new larger space.
The key to creating a room design is starting with the floor as the right floor covering sets the tone for the room. This sale had several choice Oriental rugs that had buyers queuing up to bid on but the star of the grouping was a room-size Lavar Collection Kerman Persian carpet, measuring 13 feet, 10 inches by 19 feet. It performed well but was still a good buy at $6,985.
Striking lots abounded in the sale across many collecting categories that resonated with buyers. Among Stone’s top picks for decorating accessories was a vintage ceramic Asian bowl with hand-painted red, gray and green dragons among multicolored cloud shapes and red flames that outperformed its $50-$100 estimate to realize $1,524. The 6-inch-high bowl was one of many surprises in the sale that went well over the estimate.
Another noteworthy piece was a handcrafted copper lighthouse topper later turned into a whimsical light fixture. Eliciting a bidding war online, the lot surpassed expectation to bring $2,857, nearly triple its high estimate, and went to a maritime collector who came to the sale just for this lot.
Sellers always like to see consigned items bring top dollar while buyers enjoy finding bargains. This auction pleased both. A lucky bidder got a Lorin Marsh dots oval mirror in the Art Deco style, ringed with convex circular mirror dots in the border, for a steal at $889. The 39-by-56-inch mirror was originally bought from the Lorin Marsh showroom in New York City’s famed D&D Design Center.
Also originally purchased at the D&D Design Center was a set of 10 dining side chairs in the Louis XVIII style, having barley twist legs and designer upholstery, measuring 49 by 27 by 30 inches, that earned a solid $3,810. Like the table that shipped to the West Coast, these chairs had a long journey after the auction, going to an Ohio bidder.
For more information contact the Benefit Shop Foundation at 914-864-0707.