Ship’s figurehead, cannon top maritime collection at Clars

This English CW&Cs ships’ cannon from sold for over five times its estimate for $6,150. Clars Auction Gallery image

OAKLAND, Calif.  – On Jan. 19 and 20, San Francisco Bay Area patrons and maritime collectors alike, came out on in droves to own a piece of the historic Spenger Maritime Collection which, for over 125 years, graced the walls, showcases, dining rooms and bars of Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto in Berkeley, Calif. Bidders packed the gallery, bid online and by phone, to own a piece of this famous restaurant. Just 70 lots of the collection were offered and bidders competed heavily driving the total for this first installment to over $100,000. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

Deric Torres, vice president of decorative arts for Clars, commented after the sale, “The strong buyers in the room, on the phones and online, confirmed the importance of this collection. The demand was evident in both the sell-through (only one lot did not sell) and the strong prices realized.” The impressive results made this the second strongest January auction in Clars’ history.

Offered at the January sale were ships’ pilot wheels, diving helmets, ships’ name boards, lanterns, early ships’ bells and instruments, scale ship models, mounted trophy fish and a carved ships’ figurehead from the 19th century.

Topping the bidding wars was an English CW&C ship’s cannon (above) that sold for over five times its estimate for $6,150. Tying for first place was a hand-carved decorated ships’ figurehead (below) which also sold for over its estimate at $6,150.

Selling for over high estimate was this 19th-century carved and polychrome decorated ship’s figurehead, which brought $6,150. Clars Auction Gallery image

A Bear Co. mahogany nameboard, “Philippine Bar,” went for nine times its estimate selling for $5,842. The collection of 15 ships’ models offered earned an impressive $9,000 and the school of mounted trophy fish swam off for over $3,000.

This Bear Co. mahogany name board, ‘Philippine Bar’ went for $5,842. Clars Auction Gallery image

The international excitement will continue on Feb. 16 and 17 when Clars Auction Gallery will present the second installment of the Spenger Collection, which will include numerous offerings of maritime fine art.

For more information, call 510-428-0100 or email