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Antiques & Collectibles: Collectors’ entree — artifacts from Pier 4

“British Warships in Port” by the Dutch-born British artist Isaac Sailmaker is from the marine collection of the late Anthony Athanas, founder of Pier 4 restaurant. The painting is expected to bring $40,000-$60,000 at Boston Harbor Auctions’ Marine Sale.

“British Warships in Port” by the Dutch-born British artist Isaac Sailmaker is from the marine collection of the late Anthony Athanas, founder of Pier 4 restaurant. The painting is expected to bring $40,000-$60,000 at Boston Harbor Auctions’ Marine Sale.

Decorative items and selected furnishings from Anthony’s Pier 4 restaurant, which closed in August after 50 years on the Boston waterfront, will go on the block next Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. at Boston Harbor Auctions’ Marine Sale at Lannan Ship Model Gallery, 99 High St.

The sale will also include the marine-related collection of Pier 4’s late owner Anthony Athanas (1911-2005), who immigrated to this country from Albania with his family when he was a young child, left school at 14 to work in a Lynn restaurant, and at his death was the owner of three restaurants. His flagship Pier 4, which grossed $12 million a year in its heyday, was the most profitable restaurant in the United States of its time.

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The more than 100 Pier 4 marine-
related items range from the weathered masthead light ($200-$400) from the restaurant’s entrance to a lobster buoy ($100-$200) from the back deck, from the hand-carved timber sign “Boston” for the frigate Boston ($750-$1,500) from the main stairway to the carved wood fish from the lobby ($200-$400). From the main bar there is a Seth Thomas ship’s clock ($400-$600) and the brass bell used to signal the last call for service ($1,000-$1,500).

The expected Pier 4 top sellers are a painting of the merchant ship Jane Blain ($12,000-$16,000) by the Scottish artist William Clark (1803-83) and a museum-quality cased model of the USS Porpoise ($4,000-$6,000), built at the Boston Navy Yard in 1836 and lost off the South China coast in 1854, probably in a typhoon.

Topping the paintings in the Athanas collection are “British Warships in Port” by the Dutch-born British artist Isaac Sailmaker (1633-1721) and a monumental 58-by-85-inch painting of a ship in distress by the British master marine artist J. W. Carmichael (1800-68). Each has a $40,000-$60,000 estimate.

The 654-lot auction also features personal property of financier J. P. Morgan (1837-1913) that descended in his family. It ranges from the commodore flag ($15,000-$30,000) flown on Morgan’s yacht Corsair III, the flagship of the New York Yacht Club when Morgan was the commodore in the late 1900s, to a book of 20 matches with the Morgan private signal flag on the cover ($200-$400). Also being sold are Minton china used on the flagship, a bottle of 1795 cognac ($10,000-
$20,000), and a bottle of 1838 Madeira ($8,000-$12,000) from Morgan’s private cellar.

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An exceptional Sioux pre-reservation war shirt, of the type awarded to men held in the highest esteem by the tribe, headlines Skinner’s American Indian & Ethnographic Art Auction Saturday at 10 a.m. at its Boston gallery. The beaded and quilled hide shirt, which dates to the third quarter of the 19th century, is expected to bring $150,000-
$250,000.

Another exceptional offering is a circa first quarter 19th-century Northeast carved wood belt cup, possibly Micmac. The cup, which hung from the user’s belt, was used to scoop water to drink when canoeing on a river. The estimate is $25,000-$35,000.

An important Northwest Coast offering is a Chilkat blanket woven of mountain goat and cedar bark with the pattern incorporating animal parts relating to a clan’s crest animal. The 52-inch-long, 67-inch-wide fringed blanket dating to the last quarter of the 19th-century has a $40,000-$60,000 estimate, while a classic 74½-by-57-inch Navajo man’s wearing blanket has a $30,000-$40,000 estimate, and a circa 1870 nearly five-foot-long Plains pictorial beaded buffalo hide blanket strip has a $20,000-$30,000 estimate.

Topping the 25 lots of pottery is a 16½-inch-high, four-color storage jar made in the 1930s in the southwestern Zia Pueblo and decorated with two stylized birds and abstract florals. It has a $25,000-$35,000 estimate.

Although the pottery offering is small, “it is arguably the best we’ve presented to date,” said Douglas Deihl, director of the American Indian & Ethnographic Art department.

Topping the ethnographic offerings is a Maori carved wood lintel, created in the 19th-century by the New Zealand-based people to be placed over the door of a meeting house. The 57-inch-long, 20-inch-high lintel, which has a $20,000-$30,000 estimate, was collected by the consignor’s grandfather in the South Pacific during World War II.

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A cased model of the United Fruit Co.’s freight and passenger sister ships Tela, Castilla, and Iriona is a highlight of Phyllis O’Leary’s auction Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at the Masonic Lodge, 1101 Highland Ave., Needham.

The 1927 builder’s model of the ships built in Belfast that year has been consigned by a Wellesley resident, who worked at one time for United Fruit Co. The estimate is $1,500-$2,500.

The auction’s expected top seller is an oil painting depicting ships in a harbor at low tide ($2,000-$4,000) by the French artist Jules-Achille Noël (1815-81). Another painting of note is an oil of the Arlington Street Church shown from the Boston Garden by Jon Smith, the contemporary South Carolina-born artist who, following study in France, lived and painted in Boston for 15 years before moving to Florida.

Other art offerings include a 1989 hand-colored lithograph by Robert Motherwell (1951-91), two 1981 colored screen print and fabric collages by Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008), and two etchings by Boston artist Aiden Lassell Ripley (1896-1969).

Lighting choices are as varied as a 19th-century Victorian hanging lamp, a 1920s table lamp in the form of a bronze peacock with colored crystals for feathers, a Japanese temple vase electrified as a 22-inch table lamp, and a mid-century Marlee lucite lamp.

Clock choices range from a 19th-century 7-inch carriage clock by the French maker L’Epée to a 1930s General Electric refrigerator clock that was used as a promotion to introduce the company’s “Monitor Top” electric refrigerator.

Other 1930s collectibles include a Smith Corona typewriter, an 8-inch Little Orphan Annie toy stove, and a mahjong set made with bones.

Virginia Bohlin can be reached at vbohlin@comcast.net.
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