From Royalty to Rock ‘n’ Roll, Selkirk is Hitting High Notes in first half of 2017

Coming into their 2-year anniversary, Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers in St. Louis started strong in 2017 with a series of auctions satisfying the growing appetite for eclectic, gallery and specialty auctions in St. Louis and beyond. Through the first four auctions of the year, the team has increased the average price per lot sold, while delighting sellers and bidders with the variety and unique character of each auction, garnering local, national and international interest.

Local “King” Steals the Show in the Summer Eclectic Auction (June 2017)

Nationwide interest in a local piece of brewing history brought the much anticipated active bidding from the gallery, phone and Internet at the June 10 Summer Eclectic Auction. Ultimately an absentee bidder took home the 1800s Louis Vuitton traveler’s steamer trunk once owned by Adolphus Busch, founder of the famed Anheuser-Busch Brewery, for $3,750. Provenance confirmed by family and Louis Vuitton, the historic trunk received attention from Busch family members, friends, and Breweriana collectors.

Other items receiving widespread attention and high bids included a pair of African and likely Benin bronze lions ($780), a Bakelite mahjong set ($813), a Dodson-Braun St. Louis Pickles crock ($690), a Chinese round table screen ($720), a Chinese large embroidered textile ($1,000), and a Maitland-Smith hall table ($660). Did we mention this was an eclectic auction?


Imperial Provenance Highlighted Spring Gallery Auction (May 2017)

A finely curated Gallery Auction brought significant international interest to the May 20th Spring Gallery Auction. A stately oil on canvas of an Imperial Russian family, painted in 1846 by the Italian artist Cosroe Dusi (Italian, 1808-1859) and supported by well-documented provenance and meticulous research, was the subject of rapid-fire phone and internet bidding. The final price of $24,000 elicited spontaneous applause.

The painting was part of the estate of Mary Patricia Brunell who lived a quiet life in rural Illinois, despite being a descendant of Prince Nicholas Orloff, who led a colorful life in Europe and America after being exiled during the revolution of 1917. Among the other lots in the estate was a striking Russian gold and enameled pommel pendant in the manner of Faberge, which sold for $3,690. An enchanting Meissen figure of Zemire, known to be the favorite dog of Catherine the Great, fetched a royal sum of $4,063.

An American, early 19th century tall case clock, marked “S. Davis – Pittsburgh” graced the gallery with an elegant scrolling pediment above the floral-painted metal face with moon phase dial. It took no time at all for the bid to rise to $10,200 when the gavel fell.

Also highlighting the auction was an important Chinese large jade and rosewood Ruyi scepter which sold for $7,500. Watercolors on paper, one of women on a river bank and the other of buffalo herders, by In-ting Ran (Chinese, 1903 – 1979) brought $5,938 each.


Inaugural Gentleman’s and Musical Instrument Auctions (April 2017)

On April 22nd , Selkirk introduced “A Gentleman’s Auction” to St. Louis, and also held their inaugural Fine & Vintage Musical Instrument Auction. Bidding flew fast and furious for a Gibson 1967-68 Flying V guitar, hitting a high note when it sold for $17,400, while a 1966 Stratocaster left-handed guitar brought $7,200. Representing interest in classical instruments, a fine violin labeled "Arnold Voigt, Maker of Master-Violins, Markneukirchen A.D. 1932" brought active bidding and a final price of $7,813.

Gentlemen and ladies appreciated the value of a scarce 1906 green Lenox porcelain pitcher depicting two golfers, pushing the sales price to $4,500. A young woman in a sparse draping gown, holding a basket of flowers with butterfly on top, in mixed bronze and copper finished patina by Jean-Baptiste Germain (French, 1841-1910) struck a pose on the original two-part revolving base labeled "PRINTEMPS _ par J. B. Germain - Salon des Beaux-Arts 1892." The bronze beauty brought $2,160.

In contrast, the strong lines of L. & J. G. Stickley Mission style furniture attracted active bidding with a Harvey Ellis design sideboard selling for $2,625, a set of 10 Mission spindle dining chairs selling for $2,520, and dining table for $1,920.

St. Louis Cardinal baseball memorabilia collectors were avid bidders for a 1926 pin for the pennant winning team, with dangling ornaments which scored a $625 sales price on the auction block.

Bronzes Place First in Speciality Auction (March 2017)

The gallery turned over three times at the March 11th Auction featuring Native American and Ethnographic artifacts, followed by additional decorative items, jewelry and more than 120 Oriental rugs. Heavy gallery traffic continued throughout the day, with happy buyers settling their wins as eager bidders arrived for the next section of lots.

"Against The Odds,” the dramatic bronze by Bob Grieves (American, b. 1922) showing white-water frontiersmen in a canoe exquisite sold for $4,800. Demand for bronze continued after the live bidding was over, with “Hunter’s Prayer,” a bronze by Allan Houser (American, 1914-1994), bringing $8,400 from a post-auction bid. Buyers in the room, on the phone and over the Internet bid eagerly on the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Peace Medal, which brought $2,040, more than three times the estimate.

The crowd continued their excitement, as bidding ensued, first on the Wabanaki style birch bark canoe and then on the Chippewa (Ojibwe) style birch canoe, both of which were featured in the front window of the gallery, and each bringing $1,200.

Interest in Native American pottery was evident, as two jars sold above estimates at $1,560 and $2,040 respectively; a Native American pottery bowl brought $780.

Other highlights include “The Forest Has Eyes” painting by Bev Doolittle (American, b. 1947) that brought $1,250; and a rare sterling and turquoise scorpion squash blossom necklace that brought $1,020.

Bidding stayed active through the end of the auction, with Persian rugs bringing prices in the thousands, including a Persian Sarouk and an antique Persian Heriz Serapi at $1,800 each, and an antique Persian Karaja runner and a semi-antique Persian Mashad Khorisan at $1,440 each.


Elegant Erte and Armani are the “Leading Ladies” in Winter Eclectic Auction (January 2017)

On a rare sunny day in January, Selkirk had a full gallery to open 2017 with their Winter Eclectic auction. Appropriately named, “eclectic” was the operative word for spirited bidding on such diverse items as Chinese hanging scrolls, a collection of snuff bottles, Armani figurines, an oil painting by James Peter Cost, and sterling pieces.

Sculptures and figurines of women were the highlight of the auction, specifically on two bronze sculptures by Romain de Tirtoff Erte (French/Russian, 1892-1990). “Fire Dancer” and “Dream Girl” brought $2,625 and $2,750 respectively; both were polychrome bronze sculptures with foundry marks: Chalk & Vermillion and Seven Arts. Equally as exciting was the interest on a collection of Giuseppe Armani figurines. The bidding was fast and furious on more than 40 pieces, selling for between $150 and $950 each, well above estimates. “La Pieta,” Italy, 20th century, composition, was from a limited edition of 5,000 and was accompanied by the original box and certificate; the gavel fell at $938.

Early in the auction a pair of 20th century ink-on- paper Chinese hanging scrolls sparked heavy bidding, bringing in an above estimate $813.

Just a few items later, a collection of more than 50 early to mid 20th century snuff bottles in different forms and materials, including hardstone, faux stone, porcelain, glass and more, realized $1,080, more than twice the high estimate.

Still in the first hour of the auction, a pair of 21st century woodblock prints from Japan, one depicting temple grounds and the other illustrating a city landscape, sold for $390, more than 15 times the high estimate.

An oil-on- canvas painting, Coastal View, by American James Peter Cost (1901-1966) – a somber seascape depicting a craggy coastline with an overcast sky – brought $4,560, more than four times the high estimate.

Several pieces of furniture made a statement, as well, including a Rocco style display case and console table, bringing $360 each – both well above estimate. An oak dental cabinet sold for $720.

Bidding stayed active through the end of the auction, with several sterling pieces selling above estimates, including a Gotlieb Kurz sterling platter at $438, an Ellis Barker Sterling serving tray at $625, a Fisher sterling platter at $300 and a Gottlieb Kurz Habana pattern sterling platter at $625.