A tiny Louis Vuitton trunk, a bronze lobster, and George Washington portraits triumphed at Thomaston Place

Louis Vuitton salesman’s sample trunk, which sold for $9,375 at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries.

THOMASTON, Maine – ‘Correct in detail, material and quality of construction, down to brass hardware, stencilled cloth and monogrammed leather trim’, a miniature Louis Vuitton trunk hammered for $7,500 and sold for $9,375 at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries. Only a handful of these diminutive luggage pieces are known, made at the time either as salesman samples or as playthings for the children of wealthy Louis Vuitton customers. Following every detail of the full-size version, this suitcase measuring 11in (27cm) across was in good condition, save the interior, which had been relined in a marbled paper. Beneath it may be a label for Louis Vuitton’s offices at 149 New Bond Street and the Paris Champs Elysees. The miniature trunk sold well above its estimate of $800-$1,000, topping the first day of the February 23-25 Winter Enchantment auction.

Sharing its estimate and winning second place on Day One was a Meiji-period bronze model of a lobster. Described in the lot notes as ‘hyper realistic, fully jointed and moveable’, it was one of the remarkable models produced by Japanese metalworkers in the post-Samurai era. Despite lacking one of its antennae, it hammered for $6,000 ($7,500 with buyer’s premium).

Day Two was dominated by two portraits of George Washington by or after Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828). Estimated at $3,000-$5,000 but sold at $27,000 ($33,750 with buyer’s premium) was a circa-1805 version of the classic George Washington bust portrait – the so-called Athenaeum type, painted from life in Philadelphia in 1796. Stuart referred to these portraits as his “$100 bills” as, whenever he needed the money, he would retire to his Boston studio and paint another. He sold more than 70 of them in his lifetime, and there are many others that were painted by followers after he died. This unsigned portrait in its original frame was attributed to Stuart.

Stuart created the original full-length portrait of George Washington at Dorchester Heights for the City of Boston in 1806. It shows the general in his battle pomp posing next to the backside of a horse. The original hangs in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts with versions in Faneuil Hall in Boston and Mechanic’s Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts, but the version offered at Thomaston Place was one of many impressive if somewhat pedestrian copies. A stencil on the verso for Goupil & Co., New York dates it to the 1850s. Housed in a heavy gold molded cove frame standing 6ft high, it hammered for $26,000 ($32,500 with buyer’s premium) against an estimate of $5,000-$7,000.

Huge Japanese silver incense burner pushes Heritage sale to $1.5M

Detail of massive Japanese dragon-form incense burner featuring almost 45 pounds of nearly pure silver, $250,000. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions, ha.com
Massive Japanese dragon-form incense burner featuring almost 45 pounds of nearly pure silver, $250,000. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions, ha.com
Massive Japanese dragon-form incense burner featuring almost 45 pounds of nearly pure silver, $250,000. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions, ha.com

DALLAS — The origin of the massive dragon incense burner that helped lead Heritage Auctions‘ Fine Silver & Objects of Vertu Signature ® Auction to a $1,501,201 finish on May 16 might be a mystery, but what’s no longer in question is the final selling price of this exceptional example of Japanese Meiji period craftsmanship. The dragon-form incense burner, which contains nearly 45 pounds of 99% pure silver, sold for $250,000, shattering its estimate of $70,000 and prompting an enthusiastic round of applause in the auction room.

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75-year Southern art collection featured in Everard’s Oct. 18-20 series

Virginia and John Duncan, with their Cavalier King Charles spaniel Emma, enjoy some quiet time in the front parlor of their antique- and art-filled home, the historic Thomas-Levy House in Savannah, Georgia. Their collection will be auctioned in the October 19 and 20 sessions of Everard’s three-day series. Photo by Richard Leo Johnson, provided by Everard Auctions

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Everard Auctions takes great pleasure in announcing highlights of its Oct. 18 Fall Southern Estates auction to be followed on October 19-20 by a very special sale of the John and Virginia Duncan collection of fine, folk and ethnographic art and antiques. Amassed over 75 years, the Duncan collection encompasses fine, folk & ethnographic art; antiques, furniture, rare maps and broad range of material culture of Southeastern United States. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

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