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Antiques and Fine Art Auctions Blog

Skinner expert appraisers and auctioneers discuss antiques, fine art, and collectibles. Keep up on market trends and get collecting tips from antiques experts. Discover the stories behind the art and antiques Skinner offers at auction.

Middle Eastern Art & Chinese Ceramics Lead Skinner’s Asian Works of Art Auction, September 16

BOSTON, MA – Skinner, Inc. will present an Asian Works of Art auction of over 700 lots on Friday, September 16, 2016 at 11AM, coinciding with Asia week auctions in New York City. The auction features several important private collections, including early Middle Eastern ceramics and manuscripts, tomb pottery from the Han and Tang periods, and an exceptional collection of early monochrome miniature ceramics from the Tang to the Qing dynasty.

The Estate of Marion E. James

Brown-glazed Low Bowl, Persia, possibly 13th century (Lot 39, Estimate $2,000-3,000)

Brown-glazed Low Bowl, Persia, possibly 13th century (Lot 39, Estimate $2,000-3,000)

The auction opens with an excellent selection of Middle Eastern ceramics, manuscripts, and metal work from the estate of Marion E. James, former Chair of the Department of History at the University of New Hampshire. Professor James’s interest in Middle Eastern history led her to travel to Iraq, Afghanistan, India, and Syria in the 1960s. While traveling she began collecting works of art that interested her and could be used as teaching materials. Many pieces from her collection were bequeathed to the University of New Hampshire and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Outstanding offerings from the estate include Persian ceramics dating from the 11th to 18th centuries; featuring a large beige-glazed bowl with hippopotamuses (Lot 34); a green-glazed Nishapur high bowl decorated in high relief with a molded calligraphic band and bird and flower motifs (Lot 35); and a turquoise and black Kashan deep bowl decorated with a central female figure and an interior border of animals (Lot 37, all estimated between $2,000-$3,000).

Early Chinese Tomb Pottery

Sancai-glazed Caparisoned Horse, China, Tang dynasty (Lot 57, Estimate $15,000-20,000)

Sancai-glazed Caparisoned Horse, China, Tang dynasty (Lot 57, Estimate $15,000-20,000)

For collectors of Chinese tomb pottery, the auction offers an excellent selection of warriors, entertainers, animals, and villages from the Han and Tang periods, many with thermo-luminescence certificates. A large black lacquer horse from the Han Dynasty (Lot 55, $10,000-$15,000) and a sancai-glazed horse from the Tang Dynasty (Lot 57, $15,000-$20,000) are two pieces of particular interest. Not to be missed is an exceptional pair of large, white marble lions with dragon heads of Ba Xia (Lot 84, $40,000-$60,000) possibly from the Tang dynasty. In Chinese mythology, Ba Xia is known as one of the nine sons of dragon king, sculptures with his likeness were typically placed at the entrance of bridges to ensure safety.


Celadon-glazed Double-bottle Vase, China, 18th century (Lot 127, Estimate $8,000-10,000)

Celadon-glazed Double-bottle Vase, China, 18th century (Lot 127, Estimate $8,000-10,000)

A strong collection of monochrome ceramics offers a stunning array of glazes and shapes. Highlights include a rare, black ware russet, truncated Meiping bottle (Lot 99, $8,000-$10,000) and a celadon-glazed, double-bottle vase (Lot 127, $8,000-$10,000), as well as, several superb pieces from the Liao and Tang dynasties. A Ming-style bottle vase with a Qianlong mark, possibly of the period, highlights blue and white ceramics (Lot 177, $5,000-$7,000). Fine examples of Yaozhou and Ge-yao ceramics feature a celadon-glazed stoneware ewer (Lot 215, $2,000-$3,000), and a narcissus planter dating to the 18th century (Lot 227, $2,000-$3,000). The cover lot of the auction is an exceptional monumental cinnabar vase from the 18th century, decorated with four carved landscapes (Lot 387, $3,000-$5,000).

Other featured highlights include, but are not limited to:

Six-color Overlay Peking Glass Covered Jar (Lot 395, $4,000-$5,000)

Gilt-bronze Buddha, Tibetan China, 18th century (Lot 525, $8,000-$10,000).

Imperial yellow semiformal robe embroidered with the “Twelve Symbols of Imperial Authority” (Lot 594, $8,000-$10,000)

Embroidered wall hanging depicting lotus blossoms interspersed with the “Eight Buddhist Symbols” (Lot 603, $5,000-$7,000)

Previews, Catalogs, and Bidding

Auction previews are free and open to the public and held in Boston on Wednesday, September 14 from 12-5PM; Thursday, September 15 from 12-7PM; and Friday, September 16 from 9-10:30AM. The print catalog is available for purchase from the Subscriptions Department at Prices realized will be available at during and after the sale. The Skinner website enables users to view all lots in the auction, leave bids, and bid live, in real-time through SkinnerLive!



Judith Dowling
Director of Asian Works of Art

Jenna Nastri
Marketing & Communications Manager

Collector’s pieces: Lewis Scranton Americana auction tops $1,000,000

By | Jane Viator

On May 21, Skinner held an auction of fine Americana that was notable on several counts.

The consigner, Lewis Scranton, is a long-time Connecticut dealer specializing in glaze-decorated slipware; 18th century Connecticut furniture; silhouettes and portrait miniatures; and domestic ironware.

He requested “an old-fashioned, on-site auction in the backyard.” He also stipulated no reserves and no buyers’ premiums.… Read More

Commemorating a Fallen General in Cast Iron

Cast Iron General Wolfe Fireback, 18th century (Lot 34, Estimate $2,000-3,000)

Cast Iron General Wolfe Fireback, 18th century (Lot 34, Estimate $2,000-3,000)

For centuries cast iron firebacks have decorated the insides of fireplaces and typically, served two primary functions. Firstly, they protected the wall at the back of a fireplace from the excessive heat of the hearth’s fire. This was particularly important in chimneys constructed of daub (a mixture of clay and straw over woven sticks or branches). The secondary function of a fireback is to radiate heat from the fireplace into the room.… Read More

Country Americana Online Auction Offers Objects, Furniture & Artwork of Our American Heritage, August 9 – August 16

H. Anderson Contemporary Folk Art Carved and Painted Woman with Birds, late 20th century (Lot 1224, Estimate $500-700)

H. Anderson Contemporary Folk Art Carved and Painted Woman with Birds, late 20th century (Lot 1224, Estimate $500-700)

MARLBOROUGH, MA – August 9, 2016 – Skinner, Inc. is hosting an online-only auction of Country Americana from August 9 through August 16. Interested bidders are invited to view items and meet with specialists in person from August 11 through August 14 at Skinner’s Marlborough, MA Gallery.

The Americana-themed online auction features a curated selection of furniture and decorative arts including:

♦ Over 30 lots of Shaker furniture, objects and textiles, from communities including Canterbury, Mt.… Read More

Best of The West

The Blackfeet chief’s shirt and leggings (Lot 143, Sold $663,000)

By | Jane Viator

On a Christmas morning in the 1880s, an Indian chief in full war regalia distributed gifts to the delighted inhabitants of Castlemorres, a grand Irish manor house.

A close look would reveal that the Indian garb was from different tribes and time periods: shirt and leggings of a Blackfeet chief of the 1830s, feather-decorated Ojibwa headdress of the 1840s.… Read More

Fine Jewelry & Art Consignment Day | Kennebunk

Edwardian Emerald and Diamond Brooch, sold $495,000.

Edwardian Emerald and Diamond Brooch, sold $495,000.

Thursday, August 25 | 11AM-3PM

Inviting Consignments

Skinner is welcoming advance reservations in the Kennebunk area through Wednesday, August 24. Meet with expert appraisers John Colasacco, Kaitlin Shinnick and Elizabeth Haff for a complimentary verbal auction evaluation and possible consignment of your Fine Art & Fine Jewelry for our upcoming fall auctions.

Brick Store Museum Program Center 117 Main Street Kennebunk, ME

Request Reservation

Reservations recommended, walk-ins welcome.… Read More

Skinner Presents Two-Day Auction of American Furniture & Decorative Arts in August

Ruth W. Shute (1803-1882) and Dr. Samuel A. Shute (1803-1836) (Lot 519, Estimate $100,000-$150,000)

Needlework Picture After Edward Savage ‘Liberty in the Form of the Goddess of Youth,’ America, early 19th century (Lot 160, Estimate $15,000-25,000)

MARLBOROUGH, MA – Skinner, Inc. will present a two-day auction of American Furniture & Decorative Arts on August 14 and 15 in their Marlborough Gallery. The auction of over 770 lots will feature a wide array of Americana, including strong collections of folk portraiture and painted furniture, early American furniture and smalls, and Pennsylvania folk art including fraktur and painted tin.… Read More

Beat the Heat at First Tuesday | August 2 | Marlborough

German Violin, c. 1920, labeled Copy of Joseph Guarnerius made in Germany. Sold for: $1,599

German Violin, c. 1920, labeled Copy of Joseph Guarnerius made in Germany. Sold for: $1,599

Join us for First Tuesday in Marlborough

Tuesday, August 2 1:30PM – 4PM

Skinner Marlborough Gallery 274 Cedar Hill Street Marlborough, MA

Specialties include Fine Art, Photographs, Jewelry and Musical Instruments

First come, first served. No appointment necessary. Limit of 3 objects per person.

Contact Us: 508-970-3240

Event Details

 Read More

Consign with Skinner in California | Musical Instruments & Memorabilia

Now accepting appointments in California for July 21-29

Skinner’s Director of Fine Musical Instruments, Adam Tober, will be in California from July 21-29 accepting consignments of fine violins, vintage guitars, Nudie suits and music memorabilia.

Contact Adam today to schedule your appointment or home visit for verbal evaluation and possible consignment for Skinner’s November 5 auction.

Request Appointment

Contact us: 508.970.3216



 … Read More

Summer Update from Fine Arts at Skinner

Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926)  Study of Water/An Oil Study Fragment (Lot 326, Estimate $60,000-$80,000)

In the face of an overall lukewarm spring art market season, a number of lots in Skinner’s May 13 Fine Paintings & Sculpture auction did outstandingly well. The strongest works spanned the 19th and 20th centuries and were spread out geographically across the globe, reflecting Skinner’s reach as an auction house with many areas of expertise.

Skinner is proud to announce its first sale of an oil-on-canvas work by Claude Monet, Study of Water/An Oil Study Fragment.… Read More

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