Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Catalog Photos Courtesy Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers
ST LOUIS, MO. – On April 25, Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers closed its online-only Eclectic Collections sale, the first one of its kind to be conducted in an online-only format. Though bidders were not allowed in the room and preview had been by appointment only, the sale proceeded as it always had, with an auctioneer on the podium, staff monitoring phone and online bids from the saleroom and runners holding items up as they crossed the block. Sourced largely from local sellers, the sale of 524 lots was the typical size of an Eclectic Collections sale and with only 33 lots going unsold, claimed a nearly 94 percent sell-through rate.
The sale had not originally been on the calendar, but with a wealth of material on hand and the decision to move the firm’s Modernism sale a bit later in the spring, it created the perfect opportunity for a sale of modestly priced offerings that appeal to a mostly local audience. “Because of this auction being online only, and one that had not been scheduled, we are very pleased with it overall,” Bryan Laughlin, curator and consignment specialist for Selkirk. Laughlin said that this sale, and the previous sale on March 21, had both seen increases in online registrations and about twice the number of online bids, as well as several new bidders.
The top lot of the sale – and the biggest surprise according to Laughlin – was an Anri Italian carved Nativity set, which realized nearly ten times its high estimate when it sold for $3,750. Loughlin attributed the success of the lot to its condition and extensive grouping that included some larger than average carvings. He said if the sale had taken place closer to Christmas, he would not have been as surprised.
An extensive and complete Lynn Chase “Jaguar Jungle” porcelain service for eight brought $1,750, the second highest price in the sale. When asked why the service had done so well, Loughlin speculated that with people spending so much time at home, the utilitarian service combining form with function had a lot of appeal. Rounding out the top three was a lot of nine books, seven of which were from the Limited Editions Club. Despite an estimate of $20/80, the lot was “in exceptionally good condition” and brought $1,625.
Other top lots in the sale include a collection of Japanese stamps that made $1,500; a Chinese famille noir vase that an Asian dealer based in the United States bought for $1,375, the same price paid for a pair of Chinese famille rose quail and longevity bowls with a later Yongzheng mark that Loughlin said were “very finely executed.”
Selkirk’s next sale will be a Modernism sale on May 23.
Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers is at 555 Washington Avenue. For information, 314-696-9041 or www.selkirkauctions.com.