James Edward Butterworth’s oil United States, from the MBNA Collection of Maritime Art & Ship Models, brought $68,500 to lead Heritage Auction’s Oct. 27 Maritime & Ship Models Signature® Auction. The sale’s 323 lots enjoyed a 99% sell-through rate to realize $1.4 million, exceeding the high estimate. Of the almost 500 participants, nearly a fifth attended the auction in person at the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
The collection, managed by Nicholas Dawes, Vice President of Special Collections, was considered ‘a comprehensive look at the best maritime art has to offer.’
“We are thrilled with the results,” Dawes said. “Exhibiting this grouping during the Annapolis Boat Show and holding the sale at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium set the stage for success: The venues appealed to passionate bidders and perfectly accentuated this unique collection, contributing to it selling above its high estimate.”
In addition to the work by Buttersworth, maritime works by two separate British artists brought $35,000 each: An Action in the East In the East Indies by Robert Dodd and a painting titled Clipper ‘Aberdeen’ by Montague Dawson. The collection spanned the best of 20th century maritime art as a 1905 work, Three Masted Schooner ‘Andrew C. Pierce’, by Antonio Nicolo Gasparo Jacobsen sold for $21,250 and Roy Cross’ 1998 work Boston Liverpool Packet Parliament in Boston Harbor sold for $23,750, a record for the artist. A second work by Cross, Whaler ‘Reaper’ Anchoring in Nantucket Harbor, 1994, brought $18,750. Attesting to the strength of the collection, only four of the nearly 200 paintings offered did not find buyers.
Among the sale’s more than 100 vintage models, of which 100% were sold, an imposing ship model of the frigate ‘Virginia’ sold for $17,500. The actual ‘Virginia’ was launched in Maryland in 1776 and served for less than two years before being captured by the British in 1778. The model, made by craftsman John M. Bobbitt, shows the ship close to completion and features exposed hull ribs using cherry and boxwood.
Other maritime highlights include the original ship’s bell from HMS Activity, which sold for $11,250. The Activity was a WWII escort carrier of the British Royal Navy launched in 1942. The bell is presented in a period mounting with dolphin bases standing a full 60 inches tall.
Heritage Auctions is far and away the largest auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s third largest, with annual sales of more than $800 million, and 750,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and receive access to a complete record of prices realized, with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com
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