RSIR Seattle Hosts John D. Ward of Sotheby’s for Preview of Roy & Ruth Nutt Auction
On Monday, January 12th more than seventy RSIR brokers and invited guests joinedJohn D. Ward, Senior Vice President Head of Department, Silver & Vertu for Sotheby’s to discuss the Collection of Roy and Ruth Nutt, which will be auctioned in New York on January 24, 2015 and the Nutt Americana furniture and decorations, which will be sold Friday, January 23, 2015. The impromptu preview event was held at the Seattle branch office of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty over nibbles, fine wines and a display of interesting objects d’art.
From the Sotheby’s catalogue:
The Collection of Roy and Ruth Nutt: Important Americana & Decorative Arts
Sotheby’s is proud to offer the Americana collection of Roy and Ruth Nutt. Mr. Nutt, a computer pioneer and one of the developers of the FORTRAN programing language, and his wife Ruth celebrated American history through their collection of important American furniture, Folk Art, paintings, and Chinese Export porcelain, which will be offered on Friday, January 23rd. After his death, his wife continued to purchase, building the most important collection of Early American Silver in private hands. Ranging from great masterpieces to rare regional items and intriguing smalls such as school prizes and Masonic medals, almost half of the Silver offering is estimated at less than $5,000, and will be offered Saturday, January 24th.
“We were honored to host this informative evening and bring additional attention to a tremendous auction event,” says Stacy Jones, Owner and Vice President of RSIR. “In addition to acknowledging the Nutt family members for joining us and John D. Ward for his travels, I’d like to thank Beth Heard-Laffey, Director of Auction Liaison at Sotheby’s International Realty in New York for coordinating these events here in Seattle and others like it around the world.”
“Thank you to Stacy Jones and her team at Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty for this delightful discussion about the Nutt Collection,” says Ward. “We look forward to tremendous success at auction on January 23rd and 24th.”
Ward masterfully described many silver and metal works that are being auctioned in addition to other important Americana collectibles. Most notably he tied individual pieces to significant dates in American history recalling the people and populations of new townships like Boston, New York and Philadelphia hundreds of years ago.
“You quickly realize the weight of his commentary when you are viewing works designed by Paul Revere, which are older than almost every American city,” adds Jones. “Then to think you could be the owner of these items. What an extraordinary opportunity. I’m confident some new collectors were born that night.”
Speaking of being born, in addition to learning about American history, the true meaning behind “born with a silver spoon in his mouth” was shared. It turns out that true silver has purifying qualities, hence it was used as a vessel for wealthy citizens to pour water and even used as a baby soother. Guests were astonished to learn that collecting meaningful pieces may be the same cost at auction as buying new silver keepsakes from well-known retailers.
“New purchases require retail mark ups and lack provenance – we are selling American history at a price being set by our bidders,” shares Ward. “Many of our auction lots could be absolutely useful in everyday living and also provide a conversation piece on the dinner table with friends.”
Interestingly, American silver is valued on average at ten times that of European collections, says Ward, because it’s in much more limited supply.
Several members of The Nutt Family casually joined as members of the audience and later shared passionate stories of growing up around the collection. Much of it migrated from the East Coast to the West Coast and mostly ended up in their family compound on Orcas Island.
As a centerpiece and popular discussion topic, RSIR featured a very stout silver duck press on loan by Chad Mackay of El Gaucho Hospitality (see below). Mackay personally delivered the works musing that no kitchen is complete without one, let alone in silver. Reportedly, the El Gaucho Restaurant showcases more than 4,000 pieces of silver acquired from the Rosellini family estate.
In addition to the comments there were cocktails featuring specialty gin and vodkas by Copperworks Distilling Company, owned in part by Micah Nutt. This Seattle-based success story treated guests with tastings and an interesting perspective on the expanding craft distillery marketplace in Washington.