Trove of Tiffany silver, fine and decorative art selected for Quinn’s Sept. 10 auction Also slated: Sept. 7 Pewter session and Sept. 8 Antique Books session featuring important 1802 Thomas Jefferson-signed Presidential document
Measuring 42 inches wide by 21 inches high, a Royal Copenhagen glazed cobalt-blue porcelain coelacanth (also known as a “fossil fish”) features bas-relief scales, an arched back and open mouth. Designed by Jeanne Grut (b. 1927-), the piece is titled The Blue Fish and could reel in $3,000-$4,000.
An extraordinary memento of the Panama Canal’s excavation, a circa-1914 custom-made occupational shaving mug bears a photographic transfer image of a steam shovel crew on the canal’s worksite. “The consignor’s grandfather was the crew boss and had one of these mugs made for each of the 11 members of his crew,” said Matthew Quinn. “Occupational shaving mugs have developed a very strong following over the last few years. We think this extremely rare mug could make as much as $5,000 at auction.”
On Sept. 8, Quinn’s associate auction house Waverly’s, will offer 300-400 lots of rare books, maps and autographs, with the sale’s headliner being a highly important document signed in 1802 by President Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of the Navy Robert V. Smith. The document consists of instructions to commanders of U.S. armed vessels navigating the Barbary Coast, conveying to them the right to bear arms “…for protecting effectually the commerce and seamen thereof.” Jefferson goes on to say, “…you are hereby authorized and directed to subdue, seize, and make prize, of all vessels, goods and effects, belonging to the Bey [sic.] of Tripoli, or to his subjects, and to bring or send the same into port, to be proceeded against and distributed according to law.”
“This document, which was identified as ‘An Act for the protection of Commerce,’ was a key part of the Jefferson Administration’s increasingly strong response to the demands of northern African pirates for tribute in return for the safe passage of American merchant ships,” said Waverly’s specialist Anson Brown. At the time, captured American sailors were being held for ransom or even sold into slavery in Africa. Jefferson flatly rejected the Pasha of Tripoli’s demand in 1801 for $225,000 in tribute, with annual payments of $25,000 thereafter. Instead, Jefferson crafted an Act that empowered the U.S. Navy to arm its personnel and take proactive measures. The historically significant document is estimated at $3,500-$6,000.
The Sept. 7 session’s European pewter offerings are led by an early 17th-century charger stamped “Cardinal” and marked on the plate rim with the Arms of Bishop Adrian III or IV of Riedmatten. On verso, it is marked “Pierre II Royaume 1609” and has the hallmark “F” below a crown. Measuring 13¾ inches in diameter, it is expected to make $200-$400.
A group of four pewter boxes includes a spice box with animal feet and finial with an interior angel-and-sword mark for Johannes Vepz. It is also marked “1715” on the lid. The quartet also includes a sectioned French pharmacy box marked inside the lid “FP Dusaussois Paris 1795,” and an old pewter snuffbox, possibly 18th century. Lot estimate: $200-$300.
An American (Meriden, Conn.) Jean Theobald pewter tea set