Review and Onsite Photos by Rick Russack, Additional Photos Courtesy Marion Antique Auctions
MARION, MASS. – Frank McNamee and Dave Glynn, doing business as Marion Antique Auctions, put together a diverse sale heavy on fresh-to-the-market, locally sourced material, some with local provenance, and most sold without reserve. Included was a collection of Taino artifacts, mid-Twentieth Century artwork, furniture and decorative items, along with fairground and other mechanical music players, Chinese export porcelains, silver, jewelry, marine paintings, early firearms, folk portraits, decoys and bird carvings, maps, bronzes, pedal cars, and there was still more. The live sale had about 60 bidders in the gallery, Internet activity was strong and phone bids along with absentee bids were handled. Glynn runs a fast-paced sale, averaging close to 100 lots an hour. Catalog descriptions were detailed and comprehensive. The sale, with few items passed, grossed just under $390,000.
The company is a collaboration between McNamee of the Marion Antiques Shop in Marion and Glynn of Turkey Creek Auctions in Citra, Fla. The two have been friends since their teenage years, both getting an early start in the antiques business.
Topping the sale was an 1848 watercolor by Samuel Thomas Gill (1818-1880) depicting the inner harbor of Port Adelaide, South Australia, which sold for $36,000. It depicted a European-style settlement and a number of ships lying at anchor, with seamen along the waterfront. Adelaide, settled only a few years earlier, was neither a whaling port nor a calling port for American or British whalers, so this is an uncommon view of that area, little known at the time. Adelaide became a major port after gold was discovered in the region in 1851, a few years after this view was painted. Gill and his father settled in Adelaide in 1839, and Gill began painting portraits and local scenes.
He also tried his hand at photography, opening a daguerrean gallery, but it was not a commercial success and soon closed. He would later go on to make numerous sketches of the gold fields, producing lithographs from those sketches, and he produced other successful series of lithographs of scenery, people and mining. His works are in several Australian museums. This particular painting was deaccessioned by the New Bedford Whaling Museum and will be returning to its geographic home.
Mid-Twentieth Century items included furniture, glass, lithographs and accessories. A bronze sculpture after Alexander Calder sold for $13,800, easily topping the category. The sculpture was one of a series awarded annually to winners of the National Magazine Awards, honoring excellence in the magazine industry. Approximately 20 have been awarded every year since 1970 and this was one of four that had been awarded to Robert Manning. He had a long career in the magazine field and had also served as an assistant secretary of state under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. He received these awards during his 16-year tenure at The Atlantic Monthly, including his time as editor-in-chief.
There were numerous other midcentury items, including a signed Lalique horse head, 17½ inches tall, which earned $4,800. A rosewood gateleg, drop-leaf dining table made in Denmark by Niels Koefoed (1929-2018) brought $3,360. He was best known for his dining room furniture, especially chairs, and the furniture was made in his factory. There were two sets, each with six teak W2 dining chairs by Hans Wegner for CM Madsen. Made in Denmark in the mid-1950s, each had woven seats, and each set brought $3,840. A lot with three Umbo plastic modular shelves by Kay Leroy Ruggles (1932-2012) sold for $2,640. Made in the 1970s, they could be arranged in numerous ways.
The sale included more than 40 objects from the once-prosperous Taino culture, which in the Fifteenth Century inhabited several islands in the Caribbean. They were the first peoples with whom Columbus made contact in 1492, and their story from that time forward is not a pleasant one. The objects offered in this sale were from the Alfredo Carrada collection. He was coauthor of Taino Hallucinogenic Implements; Inhaling the Cosmic Dust, and many of the items offered related to the ceremonial use and inhaling of cohoba, one of the hallucinogenics ground from the seeds of a local tree. Bringing $2,400 was a large stone anthropomorphic bowl made for communal consumption of cohoba. The same price, $2,400, was paid for a large Taino lignum vitae duho, a low bench more than 40 inches long, thought perhaps to be the largest surviving Taino artifact. It was in the form of a large reptile, possibly an iguana with a bird-like head. A small stone duho, which probably served as a support for an effigy figure, sold for $1,920. The catalog descriptions for these lots were especially informative.
Advertising and related items included a reverse-painted sign for the Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad. It would have been a perfect addition to any advanced White Mountains collection as the sign advertised train service from Boston, New York and points south through Crawford Notch and North Conway to several destinations in the White Mountains. By the late Nineteenth Century, railroads were advertising through service to the top of Mount Washington from distant locales and service to iconic grand hotels along the way, such as the Crawford House, the Mount Washington Hotel and others, many of which had their own railroad stations. The large, colorful sign sold for $8,700. Probably from an early country store, or an early soda fountain, was a fully restored cast iron, manually operated, belt-driven machine for making milkshakes. It brought $1,800. There was also a circa 1920, two-part Money-Maker Butter-Kist pop-corn machine, which reached $1,140.
After the sale, both Frank McNamee and Dave Glynn said they were pleased with the overall results and both said the gross, just under $390,000 was what they expected. Both said there were plenty of bargains. McNamee said, “We finished up about 4:30, which meant the sale went along smoothly. There were some things that surprised me like a scrimshawed whale’s tooth, a gun collection and the mid-Twentieth Century things. A set of plastic bookcases brought more than we’ve gotten for some Eighteenth Century highboys, including the one in this sale. That takes some getting used to. There’s no question that we’re doing much more with the midcentury items.” Glynn added that sales went to Middle Eastern countries as well as local collectors and dealers. “I was glad to see that the early Australian watercolor went home,” he concluded.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For more information, 508-748-3606 or www.marionantiqueauctions.com.