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Native American Treasures Electrify Bidders at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries

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THOMASTON, ME: The auction floor was energized at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries as items from a collection of late 19th Century Plains Indian beaded buckskin items came to the floor at their May 31 & June 1 feature sale and obliterated their presale estimates.

Owner and Auctioneer Kaja Veilleux said: “These museum quality Native American pieces drew strong interest because of their fine craftsmanship and excellent provenance, having descended in a Portland, Maine family. We are also very pleased with the performance of other items in the sale, such as some of the great paintings and sculpture, oriental pieces, and important ephemera.”

The undisputed star of the sale was a Northern Plains Indian Hidatsa buckskin shirt with dyed quill and seed decoration, long fringe and buffalo hair tassels which quickly surpassed its $20,000 to $30,000 estimate and raised $115,000. Other high flying Native American lots included: a circa 1880 Lakota Sioux hickory bow and 15 arrows that brought $25,875; a group of two beaded buckskin pouches, including a Lakota Sioux medicine bag and a Mandan paint pouch, that sold for $14,950; and a lot containing a Lakota Sioux buffalo hide beaded knife sheath and Hidatsa buckskin holster that also fetched $14,950.

A beautiful oil on canvas painting, “Where the Blackbirds Nest”, by James Taylor Harwood (UT/CA, 1860-1940) topped the fine art category, bringing $57,500. A large still life painting with grapes by William Mason Brown (NY/NJ, 1828-1898) wowed the auction crowd when aggressive bidding raised the selling price to $20,125, and a circa 1830 oil on panel Prior-Hamblin School portrait of a young girl in a white dress shot past its $2,000 to $3,000 presale estimate and reached $16,100. An oil on canvas portrait of a young man, dated 1837, by Thomas Sully (UK/PA, 1783-1872) also had strong appeal and sold for $10,350.

Several outstanding pieces of three-dimensional art brought strong prices, including a pair of 20th Century Chinese life-size bronze garden figures of geese from the estate of Brooke Astor that brought $12,650, and a Gothic ivory standing figure of Madonna and Child with scepter and orb that fetched $9,775.

A variety of treasures from the East also performed well in the sale. Bidding for a 17th Century or earlier Iznik (Turkish) architectural tile opened with a bid of $10,000 and ultimately sold for $39,100. Two fine Chinese lots attracted strong bidder interest and ultimately brought $8,050 each — an Export porcelain garniture set with Mandarin panel scenes, and a 17th Century bronze Warring States form floor vase.

Several lots containing correspondence from Bataille Muse (1751-1803), a prominent Virginia lawyer with connections to George Washington, brought strong prices. The top lot was a group of documents that included four personal record transcriptions of letters to Washington from Muse that sold for $11,212.50. A collection of 37 pieces of correspondence between Muse and Ferdinando Fairfax (1766-1820), Virginia landowner and godson of George & Martha Washington, brought $6,900.

Many pieces of estate jewelry also fared well in the auction. An 18K white gold, diamond and emerald necklace reached $28,750; and a platinum, diamond and cushion cut blue sapphire ring fetched $13,225.

A complete list of auction results can be found at www.thomastonauction.com. The next Thomaston Place Auction Galleries fine art and antique feature auction will take place on Saturday and Sunday, August 23 and 24, 2013.

Thomaston Place Auction Galleries is coastal Maine’s premier auction and appraisal company located on U.S. Route 1 in Thomaston. Thomaston Place is a leader in discovering Maine’s antique and fine art treasures by offering Free Appraisals each Tuesday at the Gallery, creating fundraiser events for civic and charitable organizations using its unique Mobile Appraisal Laboratory, and providing house call appraisal services. Its expertise in researching and marketing antiques and fine art has earned Thomaston Place the respect of buyers, collectors and experts worldwide.

NOTE: All prices include the 15% buyer’s premium.