Thomaston Place Auction Galleries’ Fall Auction Features Rare Ben Franklin Ship’s Figurehead

Important 19th Century Benjamin Franklin ship’s figurehead, one of many great items to be sold at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries on November 8, 9 & 10

A monumental 19th Century carved oak ship’s figurehead depicting Benjamin Franklin will preside over Thomaston Place Auction Galleries’ fall three-day auction on at 11:00 a.m. November 8, 9 & 10. Originally salvaged from the sidewheeler “SS Franklin” that was wrecked off of Long Island, New York in 1854, auction goers will have the opportunity to view and bid on this rare portrayal of this beloved American Founding Father and philosopher.

Thomaston Place owner and auctioneer Kaja Veilleux said: “Our last major auction for 2019 provides limitless buying opportunities for both collectors and decorators. We are honored to welcome Ben Franklin to our Gallery, and we hope this auction collects many, many Ben Franklins from our bidder audience.”

The sidewheeler "SS Franklin" was built in Boston in 1850 as part of the founding of the New York & Havre Steam Navigation Company. She ran the New York-Southampton-Havre circuit from 1850 until her foundering in 1854, with no loss of life. Steamships of this era were the first to display full length figureheads, a development made possible by the change to a more vertical stem on steam driven hulls.

The auction’s marine collection will also feature a Revolutionary War naval cannon salvaged from the Piscataqua River in 1954, a bronze deck bell that was cast in 1870 and later installed on the Ohio & Mississippi River freight sternwheeler “William Whigham”, and an 18th Century oval tole tray painted with a dramatic shipwreck scene.

The diverse collection of artwork will include: an Edmund Charles Tarbell (MA/NH, 1862-1938) painting depicting a mother and child in a boat; a Parisian winter scene by Maurice Utrillo (France, 1883-1955); a work by John George Brown (NY/UK, 1831-1913) titled “A Stitch in Time”, depicting a boy repairing trousers; and an early portrait of a woman with parrot attributed to John Brewster, Jr. (CT/ME, 1766-1854). The art inventory will offer abstract works by Christiaan Hendrik Beekman (Netherlands, 1887-1964), Alexei von Jawlensky (Russia/Germany, 1864-1941) and William Baziotes (NY, 1912-1963).

There will also be paintings by Thomas Hart Benton (MO/MA/KS, 1889-1975), William Garl Brown, Jr. (NY/VA, 1823-1894), William Partridge Burpee (ME/MA, 1846-1940), Arthur Garfield Dove (NY/ME, 1880-1946), Emile Gruppe (MA, 1896-1978), Anthony Thieme (MA/CA, 1888-1954), Charles Dana Gibson (NY/ME/MA, 1867-1944); plus sculpture by Andre Harvey (DE/Fl/France, 1941-2018), Fritz Behn (Germany/Austria, 1878-1980), and Robert Laurent (ME/NY, 1890-1970).

The sale will include rarities from icons of popular culture, such as: an original Mayfair Studio first recording of Bob Dylan singing “Too Much of Nothing”, a George Harrison (1943-2001) hand written note, 26 lots of rare 1909 -1912 baseball cards, plus a diverse group of historic, political, and celebrity autographs.

Early furniture will be led by a Boston mahogany Sheraton card table attributed to John & Thomas Seymour, a Philadelphia Queen Anne walnut lowboy, and a Continental 17th c. elm trestle table. The auction will offer a selection of 20th Century furniture, such as: an Edward Wormley designed mid-century sofa, Paul McCobb secretary desk, Gustav Stickley two-door bookcase, plus Eldred Wheeler and D.R Dimes hand crafted pieces.

The diverse 223-lot Asian collection will include: a middle Qing bulbous cinnabar vase, an 18th Century Japanese Buddha altar figure, and a 6-piece suite of 19th Century Chinese embroidered silk court apparel. There will also be 58 lots of Native American artifacts, featuring a circa 1880 Plains Indian pipe tomahawk, Taino wooden ceremonial seat, circa 1900 Navajo Germantown eye dazzler rug, and a 17-foot tall Tsimchian carved cedar totem pole.

Other items of interest will include: a rare Laing’s Planetarium orrery, Louis Vuitton steamer trunk and suitcases, a lady’s 18K gold Patek Philippe wristwatch, 5 lots of Brother Thomas Bezanson art pottery, plus 98 lots of estate jewelry, 33 silver lots, and 45 fine oriental carpets.

The auction will begin at 11:00 a.m. EST each day. A complete, full color catalog, with detailed descriptions and photographs, is available, and all lots can be viewed at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries’ website,

In addition to live bidding in the auction hall, Thomaston Place accepts bids via absentee, telephone, and on the internet. Please call 1-207-354-8141 for more information, or to reserve seats in the auction hall.

The gallery will be open for previews Monday, November 4th through Thursday, November 7th (between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. each day) and from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning before the auction begins.

Thomaston Place Auction Galleries is Maine’s premier international auction company located on U.S. Route 1 in Thomaston. Thomaston Place is a leader in discovering Maine’s antique and fine art treasures by offering Free Appraisals each Tuesday at the gallery, creating fundraiser events for civic and charitable organizations, and providing house call appraisal services. Their expertise in researching and marketing antiques and fine art has earned Thomaston Place the respect of buyers, collectors and experts worldwide.

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