American Furniture & Decorative Arts Auction Grosses $3.7M

The Andy Williams Folk Art Collection yields extraordinary prices

BOSTON, Mass. – March 13, 2013 – Skinner, Inc. today announced exceptional results for its recent American Furniture and Decorative Arts sale held on Sunday, March 3rd. The sale grossed $3,763,695.25, including buyer’s premium, with many lots far exceeding pre-sale estimates.

The Andy Williams Folk Art Collection

Ammi Phillips (American, 1788-1865), Double Portrait of the Ten Broeck Twins, Clairmont, Columbia County, New York, 1834, Sold for $880,000

Items from the extraordinary Andy Williams Folk Art Collection dominated the sale, bringing in a total of $2,471,725 for 22 lots. The auction’s top sellers included both paintings and decorative objects from the eclectic collection. One outstanding example is a double portrait of the Ten Broeck twins by Ammi Phillips, a composition which remains among the artist’s most confident and successful. With its dramatic color and stunning detail, the painting exceeded its pre-sale estimate high of $500,000, bringing $880,000. Other highly successful objects include a visionary and exceptionally beautiful 19th century still life painting of a basket of fruit with flowers that brought $480,000; a carved and polychrome-painted race-track tout tobacconist figure by Charles Parker Dowler that sold for $390,000; and a superb pair of Ward Brothers Widgeon decoys, featuring exceptional original surface and lifelike form that brought $132,000. James Bard’s portrait of the sidewheeler steamboat NEVERSINK exceeded its pre-sale estimate high, selling for $108,000.

Portrait of the Sidewheeler Steamboat NEVERSINK

James Bard (American, 1815-1897), Portrait of the Sidewheeler Steamboat NEVERSINK, Sold for $108,000

Andy Williams entertained generations through his music, television, and theater. Following an extraordinarily successful performing and recording career, Williams built a focused collection of visual art. Alongside modern American paintings, American Indian artifacts, and pre-Columbian art, he put together a distinctly beautiful distillation of American folk art. Gathering prime examples of weathervanes, shop carvings, and paintings, Williams collected examples of uniquely distinctive and striking American popular and untrained art. He was known in the art world for his keen eye and impeccable taste; the success of his folk art collection in the recent sale underscores that reputation.

“This sale is a testament to the fact that out-of-the-ordinary material continues to be in great demand, especially for decorative arts,” said Stephen Fletcher, American Furniture & Decorative Arts department director. “The objects in the Andy Williams collection were chosen with great care and an informed aesthetic. Many had not seen the market for decades.”


China Trade School, 1830-1835, The Waterfront Hongs at Canton, China

China Trade School, 1830-1835, The Waterfront Hongs at Canton, China, Sold for $45,000

Other highlights from the sale include a Chinese-school oil painting titled The Waterfront Hongs at Canton, China that sold for $45,000. An 1835 American folk painting entitled The Junction formed in Medford by the Meeting of the [Mystic] River, Canal, and Railroad illustrated the contemporary American fascination with transportation technology. Captivating this modern audience, the work more than quadrupled its pre-sale estimate high of $30,000, selling for $144,000.

With its recently launched new website, Skinner saw participation in its online bidding platform, SkinnerLive!, increase dramatically during the Americana sale. The new website offers enhanced search capabilities and greater exposure for the extraordinary works Skinner offers at auction.

About Skinner

Skinner auctions draw international interest from buyers and consignors alike, with material regularly achieving record prices. The company’s auction and appraisal services focus on fine art, jewelry, furniture, and decorative arts from around the globe, as well as wine, fine musical instruments, rare books, clocks, Judaica, and more. Monthly Skinner Discovery auctions feature a breadth of estate material. Widely regarded as one of the most trusted names in the business, Skinner appraisers have appeared on the PBS-TV series, Antiques Roadshow, since the show’s inception. Skinner has galleries in Boston and Marlborough, Massachusetts with an international audience of bidders participating in person, by phone, and online through the SkinnerLive! online bidding platform. For more information and to read our blog, visit the website at, find us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter @Skinnerinc.



Stephen Fletcher
Director of American Furniture & Decorative Arts

Kate de Bethune
Director of Marketing

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