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Frank Lloyd Wright chair from the Dorothy H. Turkel House in Detroit, which sold for $40,000 ($52,400 with buyer's premium) at Toomey.

Frank Lloyd Wright chair claimed $52K in spectacular overperformance at Toomey

CHICAGO — A large collection of Frank Lloyd Wright furniture, china, and decor came to market at Toomey & Co. as part of its Early 20th Century Design sale March 26. One item in particular, a chair designed and built for the Dorothy H. Turkel House in Detroit, carried a modest $4,000-$6,000 estimate but ended up hammering for an astounding $40,000 ($52,400 with buyer’s premium) after three dozen competing bids. Complete results are available at LiveAuctioneers.

Located at 2760 West 7 Mile Road in the Palmer Woods neighborhood of Detroit, the ‘Usonian Automatic’ Turkel House was designed by Wright’s firm, making it the only Wright home in the city of Detroit. Many of its original interior elements were auctioned by later owners in years past, with the Wright chair being part of that earlier sale.

The March 26 Toomey & Co. auction included 21 lots of Pewabic pottery from the historic company founded in Detroit in 1903 and still in existence today. The top seller was a fine vase made of iridescent-glazed earthenware dating to 1915-1930, when the Pewabic Pottery firm was in its prime. Measuring 10in in height with a circumference of 8.5in, the vase had been estimated at $5,000-$7,000, but hammered for $12,000 ($15,720 with buyer’s premium).

Fred Brosi grew up in Illinois but migrated to San Francisco, where he ran a series of small coppersmith shops, including Ye Olde Copper Shoppe. This floor vase stands nearly 22in in height and is made from hand-hammered copper. As with all of Brosi’s works, it is marked to the base, in this case with the words Hand Wrot by Fred Brosi Ye Olde Copper Shoppe San Francisco. It was presented with a $5,000-$7,000 estimate but sold for $20,000 ($26,200 with buyer’s premium).

Considered the father of 20th-century coppersmithing in San Francisco, Dirk Van Erp served as mentor to those who would follow, including Fred Brosi. Van Erp gained fame after the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, where so many homes were burned to the ground in the ensuing firestorm. Desperate to decorate their new homes, consumers turned to Van Erp and his contemporaries, from which so many of these auction lots are descended. Teaming with Eleanor Elizabeth D’Arcy Gaw, Van Erp created this hand-wrought copper table lamp. It is marked D’Arcy Gaw Dirk van Erp on the base and sold for an impressive $17,000 ($22,270 with buyer’s premium).

Archibald Knox Tudric clocks are always top sellers in today’s market. Working for Liberty & Co. in the United Kingdom, Knox fashioned this model no. 094 wall clock from pewter and abalone shell. Dated to 1902-1905, it carried a presale estimate of $6,000-$8,000. A LiveAuctioneers bidder snapped it up for $11,000 ($14,410 with buyer’s premium).

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