Auction Blog

Schwenke Americana/Native American Arts Auction Reports Over 1300 Online Bidders As Decorative and Native American Arts Performed Well

Posted March 12, 2015

Louis Vuittone Steamer Trunk

Scrimshaw Dolphin Jaw

Volley Pistol

Japanese Blue & White Charger

Inuit Carved Scrimshaw Marine Ivory Chess Set

Early English Carved Livery Trade Sign

Fine Kazak Caucasian Rug

Auction Included Single Owner Collection of Inuit Marine Arts

Woodbury, CT – Schwenke Auctioneers conducted its Americana/Native American Decorative Arts Estates Auction on Sunday, March 8th at 11am. The sale featured over 300 lots including Americana, folk art, country furniture, fine art and a large single owner collection of Inuit marine decorative arts. According to auctioneer Tom Schwenke, the three internet platforms employed for the sale racked up over 1300 registered bidders, and the saleroom was filled throughout the sale.

The top lot of the sale was a vintage Louis Vuitton steamer trunk with original label in the interior, stamped 746363 and having a key but lacking the interior tray. The trunk measured 21 1/4" high, 35 3/4" wide, 20" deep, and fetched $6,875 from an internet bidder, against a $3000-4000 pre-sale estimate.

The sale included yet another vintage Louis Vuitton cabin trunk with iron handles and raised on wheels, with original label in interior, serial number 207072, and also lacking tray. Measuring 16" high, 47 1/4" wide, 22 1/2" deep, the cabin trunk was claimed by another internet bidder for $2,875.

The second top selling lot was among the marine arts section of the sale, an early scrimshaw dolphin jaw bone decorated with designs of ships, lighthouses, whales, trees, buildings and birds, measuring 15 1/4" long, 5 5/8" wide. The intriguing scrimshaw piece also was knocked down to an internet bidder at $5,312.50, against a pre-sale estimate of $1000-2000. Also performing well was a large possibly Northwest coast carved wood ladle on wrought iron display stand, measuring 25" high, 7" wide. The huge ladle fetched $2,500 (est 800-1200) from a Canadian internet bidder.

Among the other top performing decorative arts lots was a most interesting and rare English flintlock four barrel volley pistol, with engraved receiver and mahogany grip. These small "duckfoot" handguns were typically used by the British Navy to repel boarders onship. The pistol bore engraved lettering on side "Hyham", and measured 7" long, 3 3/4" wide. Going out at $2,125, the piece was claimed by a South Carolina bidder using an internet platform.

The sale included a small number of oriental pieces, with the top selling Asian lot being a large antique Japanese blue and white porcelain charger with all over design of circled crane crests on a lapis ground, 19th century, the reverse enameled with an abstract foliate border and bearing apocryphal Chenghua marks. The charger had been purchased in 1978 at Mitsokoshi NYC, and was accompanied by a provenance certificate. The 19 ½” diameter charge crossed the block to an internet bidder from Japan at $1,750.

The core of the sale was a substantial collection of Inuit marine decorative arts from a single owner private collection. The group of items had been the subject of a presentation on Saturday, March 7th by the collector, who discussed his collection and the history of many of the items in a one hour session “The Expert Eye”, which was the second in a series of decorative arts forums presented by Schwenke Auctioneers. The top selling lot from the collection was a rare and unique Inuit scrimshaw marine ivory chess set, with carved figures depicting an Inuit couple, bears, walrus, seals and igloos. The chess pieces varied in size from 1 1/4" high, 3/4" wide to 2" high, 1" wide. Also claimed by an internet bidder, the chess set fetched $2,625 against a pre-sale estimate of $700-900.

European and English period and decorative furniture fared well in this March sale. The top lot English decorative arts lot was an English or Scottish carved wood double sided trade sign, 19th century or earlier, for the Worshipful Company of Weavers, London, displaying the motto "Weave Truth with Trust". The edges and other areas of the early sign showed evidence of earlier polychrome decoration. The sign was for the oldest recorded London City livery company. It is mentioned in the pipe roll of 1130 and was granted its first charter by Henry II in 1155. At present the company retains a connection to textiles through its contributions to the textile industry. The sign, measuring 42" high, 36 1/2" wide, was claimed by a phone bidder at $3,375, who won out over internet bidders and an in-house absentee bidder from England. A large English oak gateleg dining table, 20th century, measuring 29" high, 24" wide, 83" long, open 60" wide, was sold at $1,062.50 to a New York City designer, bidding on the internet.

Several Mexican jewelry items were offered, with the top lot a Mexican sterling silver "Thumbprint" bracelet in the manner of Antonio Pineda, 20th century, makers' mark "VC Hecho en Mexico, 925 Eagle", which sold to a collector in the room at $406.25 (est $500-600).

A select group of estate oriental carpets were offered, including Persian and Caucasian room and scatter sized rugs, and other regional Asian rugs of varying sizes. Top rug lot of the sale was a fine Caucasian Kazak geometric rug, turn of the century, measuring 5' 11" long, 3' 1” wide, claimed by an absentee bidder for $2,250 (est $900-1200).

Schwenke Auctioneers’ next auction is scheduled for Sunday, April 26th at 11:00 am. The sale will feature Mid-Century Modern and Contemporary Decorative Arts. As always, absentee and phone bidding will be available for this live gallery auction, and the sale will be broadcast live on the internet. For more information please visit the firm’s website To inquire about consigning to this sale, please call Woodbury Auction at 203-266-0323.

Return to the Latest Blog Post