Doyle at Home Revisited

The July 26 Doyle at Home sale has come and gone, and as usual it was a smash success. As an incognito observer on the floor (and though I could not see the telephone or internet bidders) I can say that the auction drew a crowd of all ages and shapes. A young couple of about 26, a man dressed all in yellow, a fashionable father-daughter pairing, and a young man who looked about 20 were among the in-person bidders I noticed. It had been a long while since I had been to a live sale, and it was a delight to be among this crowd as the lots rolled through, bringing the friendly competition and the surprise bargains that they always do.

The sale, a few times, surprised me. First, some of the art pieces went well over their estimates. Lot 24, a group of charcoal sketches I found particularly charming, had attracted, apparently, more attention than just mine: it sold for $937, about 4 times its high estimate of $250. Lot 93, a charming still life, sold for $1,125, over double its estimate of $500. Perhaps most surprising, a group of three prints estimated at a high of just $200 sold for $1500 (lot 107). On the other hand, there were pieces to be had at a bargain; Joe Stefanelli’s The Pals sold under its estimate at just $312 (lot 80).

The first truly fun competition in the saleroom happened over lot 244, a group of five Charles X gilt-metal mounted white opaline glass boxes (the one I had imagined a group of girlfriends buying together). Estimated at $1,500-2,500, they ended up selling for $5,000 after much back and forth. Similar competition followed for lots 246, 247, and 253, all with similar wares.

The best bargains, in my opinion, were the following: a pair of leather chairs I had found to be so charming upon my walk-through of the sale that I almost bought them for myself (lot 159). They sold well below their estimate of $500-700, at $312 for the pair. Similarly, two Louis XVI style upholstered fruitwood bergeres (which I think would be such fun in any apartment) sold just within their estimate at $250 for the pair (lot 332). Two of my very favorite lots sold well under their estimates (I wish I had bid!): Lot 378, the most beautiful iridescent glass lamp base, sold for $250 (est. $400-600), and Lot 385, the most darling chandelier, sold for $406 (est. $600-800). Other bargains: rugs! Auctions are clearly the place to buy rugs (see lot 444, for example).

Now, I know you’re all wondering about the blue couch (lot 199). That, upon reflection, was my favorite lot in the sale. Well, it rightfully sold for over double its $400-600 estimate, at $1,625. The red ladder (lot 427), another favorite, also more than doubled its estimate ($200-300), selling for $687. Some of my favorite lots, however, went unsold, which just goes to show that one should always bid at auction, whether one feels one can afford the estimate or not – it is possible to luck out and to be the only bidder, just as it is possible to get pulled into battle with the previously innocent person next to you! That is what makes auctions so much fun.

-- Olivia Andrews Dillingham


Doyle at Home

Next Auction: Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 10am
Exhibition: Thurs, Aug 10, 10am - 5pm / Fri, Aug 11, 10am - 5pm / Mon, Aug 14, 10am - 6pm
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