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Northeast Teaser

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PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — As several fully rigged tall ships sailed into Portsmouth Harbor this past weekend, Ron Bourgeault and his crew at Northeast Auctions set sail for yet another blockbuster marine, China Trade and sporting art auction. The tally for the auction of 1,750-plus lots, conducted August 15–17, totaled an impressive $7.9 million. Nearly one dozen items either exceeded or came close to the $100,000 mark during the sale, with an original watercolor by John James Audubon topping the list.

The rare watercolor, later reproduced as a lithograph, plate 27, in Audubon’s The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, circa 1841–1845, soared past the $80/120,000 presale estimates with the lot hammering down at $458,000. The lot carried a provenance of having been “Purchased from a Boston bookseller in the 1930s; found in the bookseller’s street stalls.”

A pair of primitive paintings of the Nantucket whaleship Spermo sold to the Nantucket Historical Association after a competitive round of bidding for $370,000, a carved and painted figure of “Jack Tarr” sold at $337,000, and a pair of Sunqua China Trade paintings depicting the Hongs went out at $216,000.

A carved sternboard eagle with banner did well at $183,000, a scrimshawed whale tooth depicting the “Residence of John Adams, Pitcairn Island” hammered down at more than triple the high estimate at $144,500, a pair of Hong paintings by Lam Qua realized $139,000, British sailor George Hodge’s diary with illustrations made $128,000, and the scrimshawed whale tooth attributed to Caleb Albro and known as “Neptune” brought $100,260.

A complete report will appear in a future issue.



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