SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. — It all paid off in the end for auctioneer Kip Blanchard, as a lot of hard work resulted in premium prices paid at Blanchard’s Auction Services Premier Adirondack Auction that took place on August 9. Conducted at the Mt Pisgah Lodge, the sale attracted a huge crowd of buyers, the majority of which consisted of summer residents that own camps and retreat-style homes throughout the Lakes region.
This was the sixth Adirondack auction for the Potsdam, N.Y.-based auction house and it has become its most popular antiques event of the year. “It was a fabulous sale,” said Blanchard in the days following the auction. Having just returned to the office after loading furniture sold at the auction onto a private boat that was en route to a camp on an island camp accessible only by boat, the auctioneer reflected on the success of the auction. “We had a lot of people at the sale. There were so many of the ‘right’ people in the crowd. I was delighted to see so much interest and bidding and the action was strong across the boards,” he said.
Blanchard commented that items for this auction are saved throughout the year, culled from various estates and picked fresh. “We had over 400 lots of fresh-to-the-market stuff and there are no reserves. People really like this auction because they know everything is there to sell. Everything… from Tiffany lamps to Adirondack guide boats,” said Blanchard.
The auctioneer commented that the success of the auction relates directly to the labor-intensive efforts that are put forth. “We are a small auction company; I am the one that is there picking the merchandise up, I am the one photographing the merchandise for the ads, I am the one that is up on the auction block calling the sale. And I am the one that delivers the merchandise to the buyer’s home. People really like that. And it results in a lot of good consignments,” he said.
Calling the auction a “social event,” Blanchard stated that he really wants his customers to come out and enjoy themselves — and most of the time, he says, they go home with something. More than 85 percent of the auction sold to buyers in the room. “People really like the idea of buying a Tiffany lamp or a painting and taking it home with them and redecorating their camp,” said the auctioneer.
The sale got off to a quick start with a large early Adirondack pack basket, one of many items consigned from the Indian Lake camp of the late Robert Gerard, with it going to a happy bidder in the gallery for $258.
A rare J.C. Brown mahogany acorn clock was offered a few lots later, and it would get the ball rolling for the day. Active bidding from the gallery saw the rare timepiece sell at $9,200.
A half-dozen prime examples of Tiffany lighting were offered with virtually all of the lots selling to private clients in the gallery. Leading the way was a Tiffany Studios lamp with leaded glass Daffodil shade on a bronze base that sold in the gallery for $44,850. A signed Tiffany Tulip lamp on a bullet base attracted a good deal of attention, selling at $40,250; a Tiffany 16-inch leaded glass Poinsettia shade on a signed three-socket decorated and footed bronze library base finished at $37,375; and a Tiffany lamp with a leaded Woodbine shade on a signed bronze bullet-form base sold at $21,850.
Also sold was a Tiffany Studios hanging shade in a geometric pattern with turtleback tiles measured 21 inches across and brought $40,250.
Other lighting included a Handel Jungle Bird lamp with a colorful reverse painted parrot that sold for $12,650.
A good selection of paintings were offered, with a view of Rainbow Falls, Watkins Glen, N.Y., attracting serious attention. In a heavily carved, museum-quality Black Forest frame, the gallery attributed the unsigned painting to James Hope. Blanchard called the painting a “wild card,” citing a signed example of the painting, in a much larger version, as selling for six figures at a New York City auction recently. Active bidding in the gallery pushed the price to $14,375. A signed Worthington Whittredge oil brought $1,150, and a serene scene of Three Brothers Island sold to a happy client at $402.
Two prime pieces of New York State stoneware had been consigned from an old-time, out-of-state collection. The consignor related to Blanchard that the pieces had a special place in his heart because he had “landed his first job in Potsdam” and that they had originally come from the Ogdensburg collection of Helen and Bud VanKennan. The first of the crocks to be sold was a C. Hart & Co., Ogdensburg, 3-gallon crock with folky leaping stag cobalt decoration. Serious bidding came from a host of collectors. In the end, however, the rare piece sold to an old-time Ogdensburg resident for $7,475. “It was fun that the crock sold to an Ogdensburg native,” commented Blanchard, “It is back where it was originally made after 165 years.”
A rare W. Hart, Ogdensburg, 2-gallon jug with horse head decoration in cobalt was also actively bid, with it selling elsewhere for $5,060.
The top lot of the furniture in the auction was a signed Old Hickory porch glider that had been picked from a New Hampshire lake home. The rare piece was in excellent condition and sold for $4,985. A Gustav Stickley miter mullioned single-door bookcase did well, selling at $4,830. A mosaic twig and burl corner settee was attributed to Rev Ben Davis and was bid to $3,680.
A couple items from the Robert Gerard collection that took off included a Kodiak bear trophy rug that Gerard shot on a hunting trip; it finished at $2,587. A rare pair of Irondequoit Bay decorated canoe paddles from 1901 drew heated competition. A bidder in the front of the gallery motioned to Blanchard as the lot crossed the block — “pointing to the paddles and then to himself.” Blanchard reported the bidder holding firm all the way to a selling price of $3,335.
One item that I thought was a really good buy was an early horse-drawn ice saw that had come from the Whitney Park homestead. In old red paint, the saw had been rescued from the dump by the camp’s caretaker and it was eventually consigned after he passed. Despite the great history, Blanchard was somewhat disappointed with the $316 realized.
All prices include the buyer’s premium charged. For additional information, 315-265-5070 or www.blanchardsauctionservice.com.