It was during the Case Antiques Auction on January 25th, 2014, that I saw these beautiful silver sauce boats. But I had no idea of their worth. The auction interested me mainly because friends of mine had submitted a Catherine Wiley painting to go up for bid to fund an exhibit at our local Ijams Nature Center. (Click here to read.)
The catalog description read as follows: Pair of 18th century American silver sauce boats or butter boats, mark of Lewis Fueter (New York, (1746-1784). Crafted in the Rococo style, each sauceboat has a scalloped rim, broad, extended spout, and cast double-scrolled handle with acanthus leaf thumbgrip, and rests on three cabriole legs with stylized shell patterns at each knee and triple pad feet supports. Matching stylized cypher monograms on both. Each marked on underside, “Fueter” (see matching circa 1770 mark pictured in Ensko’s American Silversmith’s and Their Marks , p. 265). 3-7/8″ H x 6- 3/4″L x 3- 7/8″ width. 16 oz troy.
When they came up for auction as Lot 274 with an estimated value of $3,000, my friends and I were surprised when the bidding reached $8,000, $9,000, $10,000 rather quickly. And right behind us, we heard a young man gasping, Agghhh! Ugghh! at every bidding increment. We looked back at the man (turning pale at the exorbitant bidding), and asked, Are you all right? He leaned forward and sheepishly whispered, Those are my sauce boats!
Well, what a treasure these were turning out to be as the bidding reached $20,000, then $25,000, then $30,000. I was afraid the man would faint. When the auctioneer gaveled down at $37,000, we all gasped and wondered how the original estimate could have been so low. And then we wondered what made these pretty-but-nothing-special-to-the-naked-eye so extraordinary. I walked to the case where purchased items were stored until pick-up and noted the silver mark on the bottom. One of the assistants frankly admitted, We may have underestimated this one.
Then I walked back to my seat. The owner (by now, he was the previous owner) of the sauce boats had gone to get iced tea, yet I dare say he might have taken to strong drink had the opportunity presented itself! His friend then leaned over and whispered to me, You have no idea of the whole story. He bought them in a box lot in a yard sale in Morristown, Tennessee, for only $25.00!
Quite the treasure indeed, I thought.
For more entries in the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure, click here.
(To access the information on the Lewis Fueter silver sauce boats, click here. The final price of $43,290 quoted on the site includes the buyer’s premium.)
2240 Sutherland Avenue, Suite 101
Knoxville, TN 37919
32 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure”
Your delivery of the story was SPOT ON! I was on the edge of my seat! LOL!
It’s not likely a story like this will come my way again. What fun!!!
We were looking for a sauce boat, cannot remember why, a few years ago, and could not find any. I think $25 was our upper limit :-). I think everyone would just love to be the owner of those trinkets.
Every time I watch Antiques Roadshow, I ask, “Why can’t this happen to me?” 🙂
Thanks for reading/commenting!
I know what you mean 🙂
Marvelous closeups!!!! I’m so thrilled you are experimenting and playing with new ideas. How fun it that.
Thanks so much! I’m learning from you!!! Appreciate the comment.
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WOW! I’m surprised he didn’t faint! Well worth the $25 I guess!
I really thought the guy just might pass out!! He couldn’t believe what was happening . . . and neither could anyone else. Thanks for reading!!!
Great story…thanks for sharing the words and photos for the “rest of the story.”
Thanks so much. It was an interesting event in a long day of auctioning! But oh, so worth it! Appreciate your comment!
Wow! amazing story..loved it.
Thanks so much! It was amazing, and I’ve always wished it could happen to me. But being right in front of the guy who originally bought the sauce boats was rather fun. We kept looking back to see if he was going to pass out or something!
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NW Frame of Mind
Antiques Roadshow is one of my favorites and I always hope one of my “finds” turn out to be worth something. 🙂 Thanks for sharing such a fun story!
I LOVE Antiques Roadshow, and I’m always amazed at what people have without knowing the value! Thanks for commenting!
Indah Nuria Savitri
wooow..treasure indeeed….love the silverwares…USD 25 to 37,000! speechless…
Quite a markup, don’t you think?!!! Thanks for reading and commenting!
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Don’t you just LOVE stories like that?! Wonderfully interesting post.
I really, really love knowing someone who either owns something up for auction or has just purchased it. What would be fun is to see what people do with the item afterwards! Thanks for reading/commenting!
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What a wonderful story…
Thanks! I was so glad I was there!!! And I’d love to return!
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Nature on the Edge
What a stroke of unexpected luck…. i enjoyed reading your account.
Thanks! It was a great day to be in Moscow!
I sure hope it happens to me someday!!! Thanks for reading!
It often happens to buy something at yard sale and discover later the piece is worth a bundle of money.
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