News-Antique.com - Feb 01,2010 - New York, NY, 25 January 2010 – Sotheby’s 2010 Americana Week sales brought a combined total of $15,029,329, with both sales exceeding the high estimate in front of a packed salesroom. Sotheby’s two-day sale of Important Americana totaled $13,334,005 (est. $5.4/10.4 million*) and was 94.1% sold by value and 80.1% sold by lot. The series continued with Chinese Export Porcelain from the Private Collection of Elinor Gordon, which brought a total of $1,695,324 (est. $850,000/1.3 million). The single-owner sale was 94.9% sold by value and 84% sold by lot.
A new auction record for American silver was set on Friday when an Important American Silver Punch Bowl by Cornelius Kierstede, made in New York between 1700 and 1710, sold for an astonishing $5,906,500. With a presale estimate of $400/800,000, auctioneer David Redden opened the bidding at $275,000 and almost instantly a bid of $500,000 was called out by Ian Irving of Ian Irving Ltd. As many as six different bidders raised their paddles, but at around $3 million the battle was reduced to two determined clients, an anonymous gentleman seated in the room and New York dealer S.J. Shrubsole. The
competition continued for several minutes before the winning bid was cast by the anonymous purchaser in the room; bringing the gavel down to rousing applause. The final price of $5.9 million is more than seven times the previous record for American silver**, and is the second highest price ever paid for any piece of silver at auction***.
John Ward, Head of Sotheby’s Silver department, commented, “The Cornelius Kierstede bowl was a fantastic item that made a fantastic price, which is wonderful for the market. This piece had it all: large size, great condition, beautiful design by an idiosyncratic maker, fresh provenance, and a great story, all of which came together to create auction magic. The Kierstede bowl and the Maxwell vase both achieved exceptional prices, but we saw great competition throughout the silver portion sale, suggesting that collectors are enthusiastic about American silver at all levels.”
The punch bowl has descended in the family of Commodore Joshua Loring, whose stately home in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, the Loring-Greenough House, has been preserved as an historic site. A Royalist, Loring abandoned his residence in August 1774 to take refuge in Boston, and the family emigrated to London in 1776. According to tradition, the bowl was hidden in a well
on the property during the Revolution. Retrieved by the family, it descended quietly with them in England for 230 years, completely unknown, until the owners sent a grainy photograph to Sotheby’s London silver department in March of 2009. Also among the highlights of the silver lots offered on Friday was The Maxwell Vase: An Important American silver presentation vase, Thomas Fletcher and Sidney Gardiner, Philadelphia, retailed by Baldwin Gardiner, New York, 1829, which sold for $494,500 (est. $250/350,000) to New York dealer S.J. Shrubsole. One of the most imposing pieces of silver created in early 19th century America, the 24-inch tall testimonial