Sotheby’s is celebrating the success of its $12.95m folk art sale from the Ralph Esmerian bankruptcy which slightly eclipsed the previous record set in 1994 of $12.29m:
Top prices were achieved by superb examples across a remarkable range of disciplines represented in the collection, including carvings, portraits, weathervanes, painted furniture and more. The top lot of the auction was Samuel Robb’s carved figure of Santa Claus, which sold for $875,000 – multiples of its $250,000 high estimate (image attached). Robb created the work as a Christmas present for his daughter, Elizabeth, in 1923.
Other notable prices included: Ruth Whittier Shute and Samuel Addison Shute’s Portrait of Jeremiah H. Emerson, which fetched $665,000 (est. $150/200,000); a Rare Carved Pine Pheasant Hen Weathervane, probably Connecticut circa 1875, that brought $449,000 (est. $200/3000,000); and The Carver Limner, painted by an unknown artist in Freeport, Maine circa 1835 and depicting three members of the local Carver family, which sold for $521,000 (est. $100/150,000).