The late John P. Richardson, historian and owner of the Hingham Book House in the 1970s and ’80s, had a passion for collecting “everything Hingham,” particularly objects that told how people lived and worked in the years leading up to the 1900s.
That same passion was apparently felt last month by those attending Willis Henry’s third auction of Richardson’s collection as all of the lots found buyers.
The majority of the things that Richardson collected had belonged to Hingham’s first families including the Lincoln family, whose forbear Samuel Lincoln emigrated from England in 1637 and died in Hingham in 1690 and was the great-great-great-great-grandfather of Abraham Lincoln.
Among the Lincoln objects auctioned was an early 4-inch-high, 4-inch-diameter round wooden storage box stamped “WOL” on top and signed in pencil under the lid “William O. Lincoln 1818,” which sold for $3,042 against a $500-$700 estimate. Other objects with Lincoln family history included a paper lantern used in the celebration of President Lincoln’s second inaugural in 1865 ($2,632 against $500-$700) and a child’s wooden stand-up chair stenciled “Revere” on the bottom ($2,223 against $300-$500), dating to Mary Revere Lincoln, Paul Revere’s daughter, who married Jedediah Lincoln, a carpenter, in 1788.
The collection’s top-selling item was a box containing an 1800s ginger ale bottle embossed “Grattan & Co. Ltd., Belfast Ireland,” a small piece of shale embedded with a fossil, and a taxidermy of a dovekie, a small seabird.
The items had washed ashore in 1925 at Eastham near where Henry Beston was living on Cape Cod while writing “The Outermost House” (1928) and were retrieved by the naturalist author. The box with items, which sold for $4,680 against a $100-$200 estimate, was found later in the Hingham house where Beston and his wife, the poet and novelist Elizabeth Coatsworth, lived before they moved to Maine.
The 250-lot Americana and Estates Auction also included property from other consignors and estates, including an 18th-century Pennsylvania German blanket chest, which brought the auction’s top price of $30,420 (against $3,000-$6,000).
A collection of 11 lots of Grueby vases, jardinières, and bowls from the estate of Frederick Atwood Hagar of Marshfield sold for a total of $37,439, with the top seller a 9-inch vase that brought $7,722. Hagar was the grandson of Eugene Atwood, who in 1890 with William Grueby founded Atwood & Grueby, which became known in 1894 as Grueby Art Pottery of Boston.
Six early Louis Vuitton trunks from the collection of a Boston family, who used them for their travels to Europe in the 19th and early-20th centuries, all sold for a total of $16,613. The top price was the $5,265 (against $2,000-$4,000) paid for the trunk initialed “E.C.M.” for Edward Caldwell Moore, who studied in Germany in the 1880s and served from 1901-15 as Parkman professor of theology at Harvard.
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A rare 19th-century Chinese RKO rug was the top seller at Grogan & Co.’s Fine Oriental Rugs and Carpets Auction last month featuring more than 300 rugs and carpets from collections in the United Kingdom, Europe, and Canada as well as from the United States.
The 4-foot-11-inch-by-2-foot-8 rug, consigned by a London collector, sold over the phone to a European bidder for $23,600 against a $10,000-
$20,000 estimate. RKO rugs came by their name in 1967 when rug scholar Charles Grant Ellis said their design reminded him of the sound- wave pattern found in the logo of the RKO movie studio.
The auction’s second-highest price was the $20,060 paid by an Internet bidder for a late-19th-century 18-foot-10-inch-by-12-foot-1-inch Serapi, with an $18,000-$25,000 estimate, from the collection of Aram Jerrehian of the Philadelphia family of rug importers.
An early-20th-century 15-foot-5-inch-by-7-foot-9-inch Persian Khamseh carpet from the collection of rug scholar and author James Opie sold to a phone bidder for $18,880, while a circa 1910 11-foot-11-inch-by-7-foot-8-inch silk and wool Persian Tehran carpet went for $16,250 to a bidder in the room.
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A French porcelain tea service purportedly owned by Napoleon Bona-parte, France’s first emperor, sold for $11,400 at Skinner’s European Furniture & Decorative Arts Auction last month. The estimate was $4,000-
The service of 14 gilded pieces with hand-painted portraits of women and inscribed “Nast” for the Paris manufacturer was said to have been used by Napoleon during his 1812 Russian campaign but abandoned by his entourage during the retreat from Moscow. Subsequently the service was looted by troops under British command, and it descended for more than 150 years in two English families until it was sold in 1978 for $2,961.44 to the Tinney family of Belcourt Castle in Newport, R.I.
The auction’s top seller was a late-19th-century Minton Marc-Louis Solon decorated pâte-sur-pâte vase that brought $39,500 against a $20,000-
A 19th-century 25-inch French ormolu figural jardinière brought the second-highest price of $16,800 or more than 28 times the low of its $600-$800 estimate.
Topping the more than 200 lots of Wedgwood was a 19th-century black jasper Apotheosis vase with cover that fetched $12,000 ($3,000-$5,000).
Furniture prices ranged from $5,535 for a pair of Queen Anne-style marble-top pier tables to $4,613 for a parcel-gilt and painted mahogany veneer demilune cabinet, from $2,214 for a Louis XV-style bureau plat or writing table to $780 for a Victorian painted cabinet-on-stand.
The more than 50 lots of 18th-century glass, some with as many as seven pieces of stemware, ranged in price from $3,240 for two circa 1750 air-twist stem sweetmeat glasses to $246 for five circa 1740-50 glasses with plain stems.