Antiques & Collectibles: Skinner auction to aid Fuller Craft Museum

Bottom: At Skinner’s Books & Manuscripts Auction, this rare broadside (left) printed in London in 1789 with an engraved illustration of the plan and sections of a slave ship along with a description of a slave ship sold for $13,530 against a $600-$800 estimate. These four first editions (above) by Lowell-born novelist  and poet Jack Kerouac (1922-69) sold in a lot that brought $677 ($400-$600 estimate). Top: “More Jazz Chaos,” a glass fiber vessel (left) donated by its maker Toots Zynsky to benefit the Fuller Craft Museum, will be sold at Skinner’s 20th Century Design Auction with an $8,000-$12,000 estimate. The “Joe Chair” (right), made in Italy in 1970 and named for baseball Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio will have a $3,000-$5,000 estimate.
“More Jazz Chaos,” a glass fiber vessel (left) donated by its maker Toots Zynsky to benefit the Fuller Craft Museum, will be sold at Skinner’s 20th Century Design Auction with an $8,000-$12,000 estimate.

More than 50 handcrafted objects will be sold at Skinner’s 20th Century Design Auction Saturday at 10 a.m. at its Boston gallery to benefit Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, the only craft museum in New England.

Some of the objects have been donated by the artists who made them and others by donors. They are made of various materials, some as unusual as the recycled aluminum traffic signs used by Boris Bally (1961-) for his “Speed” chair, and the maple leaves and kozo paper used by Kay Sekimachi (1926-) for her skeleton bowl sculpture.

Estimates go from $8,000-$12,000 for the “More Jazz Chaos” glass fiber vessel by Toots Zynsky (1951-) of Providence to $300-$500 for “Short Core,” a framed panel of iridescent textured sheet glass accented by copper mesh by Thomas Meyers (1951-) of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.


The auction’s 547 lots of furniture, lighting, pottery, art glass, and decorative and fine art spanning the design periods from early 1900s Art Nouveau to late 1900s studio furniture are topped by a circa 1910 Tiffany Dragonfly lamp with a $60,000-$80,000 estimate.

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Other expected top sellers are two tables with free-form tops: a coffee table ($18,000-$22,000) by George Nakashima (1905-90), considered the father of American craft design, and a circa 1997 dining table ($35,000-$45,000) by his daughter Mira Nakashima-Yarnall (1942-).

Among the pottery offerings are unusual ceramic pieces by Picasso (1881-1973) with estimates ranging from $3,000-$7,000 for a “Visage” pitcher decorated with features from a human face to $800-$1,200 for a round dish with a worm in a bird’s mouth.

Other offerings of unusual design include a circa1970 beige leather and foam Italian-made chair in the form of a baseball glove, marked “Joe” and named for New York Yankees Hall of Fame outfielder Joe DiMaggio ($3,000-

Figural lamps of unusual design include an Art Nouveau table lamp designed as a female figure holding two tulip-form alabaster shades against the nude upper part of her body ($1,000-
$1,500) and a circa 1968 chromed steel floor lamp topped by an airplane with four head lights ($400-$600).


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“You Might Well Arsk,” a collection of humorous manuscripts and comic drawings by John Lennon, the late English musician and original Beatle, sold at Sotheby’s this month for $2.9 million, more than doubling its $1.2 million high estimate.

All 89 lots sold, with the 10 top-selling lots going for more than two to five times their high estimates.

The top seller was “The Singularge Experience of Miss Anne Duffield,” Lennon’s parody of Sherlock Holmes from his book “A Spaniard in the Works,” which sold for $209,000 against a $50,000-$70,000 estimate. The top selling drawing was “Untitled Illustration of a Four-Eyed Guitar Player,” which went for $109,375 against a $15,000-
$25,000 estimate.

All of the lots were from the private collection of Tom Maschler, the British publisher who first spotted Lennon’s artistic talent and brought “In His Own Write” (1964) and “A Spaniard in the Works” (1965) to market.


Lennon was 40 in 1980 when he was shot dead in New York.

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Ivory hand and whalebone nautical cane sold at Tradewinds’ all-cane auction for $6,490 against a $3,000-$4,000 estimate.
Ivory hand and whalebone nautical cane sold at Tradewinds’ all-cane auction for $6,490 against a $3,000-$4,000 estimate.

A presentation cane with a solid gold knob handle inlaid with a gold quartz stone brought the top price of $18,880 at Tradewinds’ all-cane spring auction.

The cane was inscribed “S. C. Fogus to A. C. Wilgus / California.” Shelton C. Fogus had crossed the plains in a covered wagon in 1849 and made a fortune mining for gold and silver in Nevada.

The second-highest price was $10,030 paid for a cane with an ivory handle depicting a semi-nude goddess with her arms crossed in a provocative pose to show a bare breast.

Canes often were used for more than just walking sticks. Some served as defense weapons, like the one with a nickel pepperbox pistol that was withdrawn when the “L” horn handle was turned. It fetched $8,850.

Some nautical canes were designed as “going ashore” defensive canes, an example of which sold for $4,720. With its huge turned ivory handle (2½ inches high, 2 inches in diameter) made of a single bull whale’s tooth, the cane could strike a heavy blow if needed.

A nautical cane with an octagonal-shaped whale ivory knob handle atop a carved whalebone shaft brought $7,620, the auction’s fourth-highest price, which was followed by $7,080 paid for an early English ivory pique cane.

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Books by Benjamin Franklin on electricity and by Julia Child and Si-mone Beck on cooking were the top sellers at Skinner’s Fine Books & Manuscripts Auction last month.

An expanded fourth edition of Franklin’s “Experiments and Observations on Electricity” printed in London for David Henry and sold by Francis Newbury, 1769, brought $22,140 against a $3,000-$5,000 estimate.

An inscribed first edition of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” Volumes One and Two (New York, Knopf, 1961 [and 1970]) sold for $18,450 against a $1,000-$1,200 estimate.

Child (1912-2004), the charismatic star of WGBH TV’s “The French Chef” in the 1960s and ’70s, and Beck (1904-91) , whom she met when they attended the Cordon Bleu in Paris in the ’50s, inscribed the book to Avis DeVoto , an editor, friend, and pen pal of Child.

The top-selling manuscript was a full-size 1833 facsimile of the original Declaration of Independence that brought $15,990 against an $18,000-
$20,000 estimate. Fearing the state of preservation of the original Declaration, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams in 1820 commissioned the engraver William J. Stone to create a full-size facsimile, 200 copies of which Congress later ordered published on parchment.

A rare offering was the large-format broadside printed in London in 1789 by James Phillips with text description of a slave ship alongside an engraved illustration of the plan and sections of a slave ship. The broadside, only five copies of which are known to be in US libraries, sold for $13,530, nearly 17 times the high of its $600-$800 estimate. It was purchased by a dealer representing a client.

CORRECTION: Because of
a reporting error, last Sunday’s “Antiques & Collectibles” story about a Christie’s auction of items from the estate of Huguette Clark (“Clark Family treasures have rich stories,” G8) misstated two things: The auction includes only items from her New York apartment, and the family expanded into apartment space below theirs, not on the same floor.

Virginia Bohlin can be reached at vbohlin@com