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Artfact Live! May Auction Results Roundup

Sunday, May 1, 2011 9:12 am EDT


"Fine Art, Antiques & Jewelry, Day One"

Online sales at Artfact continued their upward trend in May 2011 with record sales at several Artfact Member Auction Houses. May’s highlights include I.M. Chait's "Asian & International Fine Arts Auction" with more than $1.7 million in online demand; R.O. Schmitt's two-day "Antique Clock Auction" with over 2,800 online bids from 24 countries and WestLicht's "19th Camera & Photographica Auction" where a 1923 Leica 0-series sold for $1.89 million – setting a world record for the most expensive camera at auction.

I.M. Chait, “Asian & International Fine Arts Auction” – May 1, 2011
Antique Chinese Ivory Brush Pot
Price Realized: $25,000
This antique Chinese ivory brush pot caused an online bidding frenzy during I.M. Chait's May 1st auction. Though bidding started at just $500, the price quickly soared as online bidders competed first against in-house bidders and then each other. When the hammer came down several minutes later, it was an online bidder who took home this slim brush pot with incised floral decoration for $25,000 – more than sixteen times its high estimate.

R.O. Schmitt, “Jewelry, Music Boxes & Clocks” – May 15, 2011
French Bronze and Ormolu Clock with Elephant and Cherub
Price Realized: $8,000
New Hampshire-based R.O. Schmitt Fine Arts holds antique clock sales twice a year. This year's Spring Antique Clock Auction included a fine French bronze and ormolu clock with c. 1870 movement. Listed in overall excellent and original condition, this 19th Century figural clock boasts a porcelain dial marked “Paris” and an illegible maker’s mark. With bids piling up in the days leading up to the sale, the clock sold online for $8,000.

Thomaston Place Auction Galleries, “Fine Art, Antiques & Jewelry, Day One” – May 21, 2011
Vera Cruz, Oil on Canvas Attributed to Manuel Serrano (1814 – 1883)
Price Realized: $21,000
Pulled from the estate of Caleb Cushing – US Attorney General under President Pierce and a Brigadier General during the Mexican-American War – this oil on canvas of tradesmen and travelers on a beach is attributed to Mexican artist Manuel Serrano (1814 – 1883). Estimated at $1,000 - $1,500, Vera Cruz became the surprise sale of Thomaston’s May 21stauction when it sold online for $21,000.

Harlowe-Powell, “Estate of Mr. & Mrs. C.H. Williams” – May 21, 2011
Historic 19th Century English Sterling and Silverplated Coffee and Tea Service
Price Realized: $21,000
This historic Coffee and Tea Service bears the family crest of two intrepid 19th Century Arctic and Antarctic explorers – Admiral Sir James Clark Ross (1800-1862) and his uncle Admiral Sir John Ross (1777-1856). Included with the Tea and Coffee Service, which bears the makers mark of Charles Thomas Fox (1801-1872), was a Sheffield Silverplate hot water urn. The urn bears both the Ross family crest and a crest symbolizing Sir James Ross’s expedition aboard the Enterpriseto rescue the failed Sir John Franklin Arctic Expedition. Estimated at $7,500 - $15,000 the service sold online for $21,000 – making in the top selling lot in Harlowe-Powell's May 21st sale.

Tajan, “Arts d’Orient” – May 24, 2011
Khamse de Nizami turkmène daté 1498-1500
Price Realized: €22,314 (USD $32,027)
Considered the greatest epic romantic poet in Persian literature, Nizami Ganje’i brought a realistic, colloquial style to the Persian epic this is still widely appreciated throughout the Middle East. Nezami was a master of the Masnavi or double rhymed verse style of poetry, which he used for five long narrative poems known as the Khamsa. In later centuries theKhamsa became a popular subject for the lavishly illustrated manuscripts commissioned by the Persian and Mughal courts. One of the stars lots of Tajan's “Arts d’Orient” auction was a late 15th century copy of the Khamsa complete with five illuminated frontispieces and seventy-six illuminated miniatures. Estimated at €3,000 to €4,000, the manuscript sold online for €22,314 (including buyer’s premium) – making it the top selling lot of Tajan's May 24th sale.

WestLicht, “19th Camera & Photographica Auction” – May 28, 2011
Leica M2 Grey
Price Realized: €120,000 (USD $172,236)
In 1960 twenty M2 grey painted cameras were delivered to the US Air Force in Germany. Today only ten are believed to still exist. Camera no.1105767, which was sold during WestLicht's May 28th sale, marks the first public auction of an M2 grey. This rare and coveted camera was listed in 100% original and working condition and came complete with a matching close-focus Summicron 2/50mm lens. Thanks to the efforts of one determined online bidder, the M2 grey sold for €120,000 (including buyer’s premium).

Northeast Auctions, “May Estates Auction: Session II” – May 29, 2011
Victorian Silver Fox Mask Stirrup Cup
Price Realized: $8,850
Stirrup cups or “parting cups” were traditional drinks offered to guests mounted on horseback before they departed for the hunt. By the mid-18th century, stirrup cups in the shape of fox and hound heads were being made in hand-chased silver or pewter. An integral part of the traditional fox hunt, one such cup was offered by Northeast Auctions during their May 29thauction. Dating to 1864-1865, the cup bears the mark of Charles Thomas Fox (1801-1872) and George Fox (1816-1910) – a father and son pair of London silversmiths active in the 1850s and 1860s. Thanks to the strength of Artfact's online bidding community, the cup sold online for $8,850 (including buyer’s premium) – well above its pre-auction estimate.

Note: Auction lot details and enlarged lot images available at with free registration.

About Artfact:
Founded in 1989, Artfact is the leading provider of SaaS technology and marketing services to the $40 billion live auctions market. Artfact provides over 20,000 estate and art auctioneers around the globe with marketing and e-commerce solutions including auction listings, online bidding, websites, and auction management software. Artfact’s network of web properties includes, and, and reaches over 2.5 million monthly unique users.

Based in Boston and with offices in Pennsylvania and the UK, Artfact currently has over 65 employees. In December 2009, Artfact closed a $13mm round of funding led by Commonwealth Capital Partners and Ascent Venture Partners.

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