Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Auction Action in Maine - Kaja Veilleux

So many auctions, so little time! Nearly any day of the week, somewhere in Maine there's an antiques auction. It might be a weekly Sunday morning local auction, or a bi-weekly consignment auction, or an on-site once-in-a-lifetime old family farm auction, but it's not difficult to find auctions to attend in Maine.

Dealers love auctions. Not only is it an opportunity to buy fresh stock, but it's a lovely way to spend a day socializing with other dealers and catching up on news (and gossip
). It's pure good luck if you come home with something new to add to your inventory, since buying is super-competitive, and it's possible you may spend an entire day at an auction and buy absolutely nothing. Attending auctions is just part of a dealer's life, and if the gods are smiling and your wallet isn't too tight, you might actually be successful.

One of the premier auction houses along the Maine mid-coast is the Thomaston Place Auction, which only offers about a half-dozen or so sales a year. The quality is some of the best to be found in New England, and auctioneer/owner Kaja Veilleux - known locally just as "Kaja" - knows his trade well. He consigns early New England furniture and decorative accessories, folk art, marine-related antiques, high quality jewelry, toys, dolls, paintings, and similar good antiques, all designed to bring in the heavy-hitting buyers. It's a formula which works well for him, and over the years he's built a well-recognized auction house based on his ability to accomplish strong sales prices.

I previewed his most recent auction a couple of weeks ago and took a few photos with permission, since I was writing a free-lance story for an antiques trade paper. Take a look at the photos and prices, and you'll know why Kaja has such a large following of dedicated auction-lovers who want rare antiques.

The quality was there, and the antiques appealed to big-ticket buyers. There were plenty of items sold at much less money than shown here, but I thought you might like to
see what some really good old stuff sells for at auction in Maine.

In the middle of the page, the 42" tall, circa 1870s, hand-carved from wood figure was made by an unknown ship-builder. She's Lady Liberty, and is all original surface, with outstretched hands holding books. She is fabulous and one of a kind - and was truly appreciated to the tune of $35,000.

At the top is the stack of three 19th century boxes in old blue paint, which sold for $1800 as a group.

And the rare leaping 19th century stag full-bodied weathervane, in beautiful original gilt paint, was estimated to sell for between $18,000 to $22,000, and brought $25,000.

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