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Art, silver, Asian items highlight Cooper event
By Robert Kyle

TOWSON, Md. — From Chinese export porcelain, rugs and guns to furniture, fine art and jewelry, the June 8-10 auction at Alex Cooper’s auction offered a diversity of goods for the collector, investor, dealer, designer and homeowner.

When the gavel fell for the final time Monday afternoon, it would be oil paintings, Asian porcelain and sterling silver that commanded top prices.

The sale began Saturday morning with several hours of selling uncataloged items in a room near the main gallery known as the North Annex at Cooper’s office near Baltimore. This is where random household goods and antiques and collectibles that don’t make the grade for the gallery auctions are sold.

Action shifted at 1 p.m. to the gallery when 100 lots of Oriental carpets were offered. Prices ranged from $68 for an Indian runner to $3,540 for an antique Bakshaish Heriz carpet, $4,720 for an antique Bijar, and $4,420 for an antique Kerman. These prices reflect an 18 percent buyer’s premium.

Artfact bidders paid 21 percent – as one did for an antique Kerman that sold for $3,932. Several times expressing his dismay that some carpets attracted little interest, auctioneer Joe Cooper passed them for inclusion in a future sale.

The auction house has its own firearms license enabling it to sell guns it gets as part of estates. After the carpets finished, 45 guns were sold, followed by swords and knives. These lots were not sold to online bidders.

The top gun was a .50 caliber single shot rifle, an Armalite AR-50 with bipod and scope. It sold above estimate for $3,835. Selling for $3,245 was a set of four Colt Model 1911 World War I commemorative pistols. A phone bidder bought three antique Winchester rifles, Models 1892 and 1894. They sold from $824 to $1,180. A Colt single action Army revolver made in 1956 sold for $1,298 to a left bid.

Handguns in general brought moderate prices, possibly a result of the long waiting period before possession is permitted. A Colt Model 1911 brought $1,003 with buyer’s premium, a bit less than these World War I pieces usually bring.

A rush to buy all guns in Maryland has been in progress since April when the state passed strict laws that will become effective Oct. 1. The state police have been inundated with applications for background checks resulting a paperwork backlog where the normal ten-day waiting period has become closer to 90 days.

Auction buyers must pay for their guns in full but cannot claim them for up to three months later. Rifles and shotguns are released the day of the auction after approval is received via telephone.

Sunday featured 575 lots of furniture, art and decorations. Some of the Chinese export that sold was: circa 1790 Nanking cider flagon, $649; Nanking bowl circa 1770 with two salts, $118; four dessert plates circa 1690, $354; circa 1775 teapot, $501; five circa 1736 Famille Rose soup bowls, $2,006; pair of circa 1736 chargers, $6,490; and seven circa 1736 Famille Rose luncheon plates, $2,360.

A collection of 13 green export parrots, sold as seven lots, did well. A pair from the Kang Xi period sold for $1,888. Three pairs from late 18th century brought $708 for each lot.

From Japan, a ginbari cloisonné enamel on silver long neck vase with the mark of Kumeno Teitaro, with original wood storage box, far exceeded its $1,200 estimate when it sold for $17,700. Five Japanese carved deities sold above estimate for $1,062. Six Japanese carved ivory figures and groups doubled their high estimate at $1,652.

Furniture sales included: federal mahogany slant front desk, $1,180; circa 1800 serpentine front chest, $3,835; circa 1760 Pennsylvania Chippendale highboy, $2,655; Renaissance Revival side table, $177; Renaissance Revival carved oak bench, $2,360; classical, fancy-painted ebonized wood marble top pier table possible made in Baltimore in 1820 in the Finlay workshop, $7,080; George III style breakfront cabinet, $944; American Neo-Grec carved walnut table with marble top, $1,534; Potthast Brothers federal style sideboard, $1,298 (under estimate); and a circa 1800 federal cherrywood tall case clock, $4,130.

Here’s a sample of sterling silver sold in the Monday session: 123-piece Gorham flatware, $4,425; 96-piece Reed & Barton flatware, $2,360; early 20th century enameled cigarette box, $2,006; pair of mid-20th century fighting cocks, $2,360; Kirk repousse dinner bell, $70.80; 12 Gorham dinner forks, $826; eight Chinese export silver pedestal bowls, $354; 36-piece Russian flatware set with Moscow 1844 marks, $1,298; and two Franklin Mint albums containing 98 silver medallions, $4,130.

In paintings, an Alfred Bierstadt butterfly watercolor sold for $3,245 (estimate $12,000). Margaret Sarah Carpenter’s 19th century Two Girls in a Landscape brought $12,980 (estimate $8,000).

The Gleaners oil on canvas by Herman Maril (1908-1986) sold above estimate for $9,440. Café de La Paix an oil by Antoine Blanchard earned $3,245 (estimate $6,000). A lithograph by Pablo Picasso, Les Danse des Faunes, sold below estimate for $885. Edward Henry Watson’s silver gelatin photo print of a nude sold for $826. Contemporary American artist Markus Pierson’s giclee on canvas entitled High, edition 16/145, sold for $560.

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