Auction figure Chris O'Dea gearing up for what will likely be his most lucrative estate sale ever

By Moira Baird
The Telegram

Chris O'Dea's home is littered with paintings, books, silverware - just some of the 325 items he'll auction off Thursday. The most notable items for sale are two paintings by Group of Seven artist Arthur Lismer. A 1952 oil painting of a scene in Port de Grave hangs over a mantelpiece in O'Dea's home-based business in St. John's. O'Dea figures it will sell for tens of thousands of dollars.
 

The second Lismer painting is an earlier-version painting of the same area. "It'll be the best sale I've had," he said. "This is just going to be an outstanding auction and it's going to draw a good crowd." "I have had interest expressed from mainland Canada and I've had one inquiry from Europe." There are reserves on 12 items - meaning a minimum price has been set and they won't be sold for less. "The reason for the reserve is really to protect the interests of the estate," said O'Dea. "I have a responsibility to the estate to ensure that they get a reasonable return." In this case, the reserves are applied mostly to art, including the 1952 Lismer and a sterling silver bowl, known as a monteith, that was made in England in 1893.


O'Dea auctions about 100 items per hour.  That doesn't leave much time for undecided buyers to make up their minds.
They'll get a chance to view everything all day Thursday at the Star of the Sea Hall in St. John's until the auction begins at 7 p.m.
During the auction, O'Dea's wife, Margaret, manages the floor along with the seven people hired for the event. O'Dea doesn't use cue cards when describing auction items. He goes by memory, relying on knowledge developed over the years, and research.
"It's something I'm personally interested in. If I had cards, I wouldn't do my 100 items an hour - it'd slow me down. "I do lots of research and probably present more information than I need to present, but the public coming to my auction enjoy it because they learn, as well." It's not the biggest auction he has organized, but O'Dea expects it to generate more interest than others because of the wide variety of items. Among them: a handmade Grenfell mat depicting a dogsled team; antique clocks; mahogany chairs with satinwood inlay known as marquetry; three dining room sets; a large selection of 19th-century Newfoundland prints; mahogany Victorian slipper chairs; Staffordshire pottery; a Rosewood living room set; Toby jugs; and five fur coats - two of them vintage and made locally from sealskin.


O'Dea got into the auction business in late 2001 and quickly expanded into real estate. He had previously worked with Aliant, NewTech Instruments and Nortel Networks and the provincial government. "When I was dealing with a number of estates, after I was finished with the contents they used to say, 'Well, why don't you sell my house for me, too.' And I had to say, 'I'm sorry, I'm not licensed to do that.' "The perfect opportunity to study for real estate licence came when he broke a rib. "I had to sit tight for three weeks."


O'Dea holds two or three auctions a year, with each one taking a few months to prepare. "I'm somewhat selective in what I take."
Other items at next week's auction include: * An art book on Christopher Pratt by David Silcox of Sotheby's Canada. It includes a serigraph titled Labrador Sea and is one of 279 signed editions.* A 1719 cartouche of a fishing room that O'Dea says was originally
incorporated into a map of Newfoundland by Herman Moll. The detailed drawing labels and describes each piece of the fishing room. * A book commemorating the Atlantic cable stretching from Bull Arm, Trinity Bay, to Valentia, Ireland, by W.H. Russell and illustrated by Robert Dudley whose engravings depict the cable house and other scenes. * An 1830 book entitled Mundy's Life of Rodney about George Brydges Rodney, governor of Newfoundland for a fishing season in 1749. * An 1847 edition of A Digest of the Laws of Newfoundland by Edward M. Archibald that once belonged to Robert Kent, speaker of the House of Assembly in 1883.
*A 1725 cookbook, Le Menage Universel, published in France.


mbaird@thetelegram.com

Telegram article covering the results of the June 23, 2005 auction (PDF)

Click here to view NTV News coverage of the June 23/05 Auction

The auction was held at the Star Hall on June 23, 2005. Some of the results are illustrated as follows:

 

Albert Clouthier, Brig Hr., Labrador, RCA, 1947, 21 by 26

$700

Alfonso Toft, ROI, The Paper Mill Grand Falls, NL

$700

Bernard Vanier, Movement Terrestre, 1963, approx 24 by 24

$100

David Blackwood 1994, Haven, 20 by 32

$2700

Newfoundland print from Theodor deBry's book from 1627 or 1640

$825

F.H. McGillivary

$300

Fisherman's Houses Francois NL, George Pepper, 1952, 11 by 1

$300

G. Pepper, RCA, Mending nets, 1952, 16 by 24

$1400

Herman Moll 18th century view of Nfld fishing room Trinity

$700

Hilton Hassell RCA Bareneed, NL, 1979, 12 by 18

$1700

Ice Blink Frank Keating 1965, 14 by 20

$350

Kathleen Daly RCA, Fishing Boats, Portugal Cove, NL, 1950's

$2200

Kathleen Daly, RCA, Darrell's Hole, NL, 1950's, 20 by 16

$2400

Mariette Lydis Manola

$100

Mariette Lydis, Petite Danseuse

$200

Molly Lamb Bobak 1984, Seaport St. John's, NL 11.5 by 15.5

$1900

One of a series of 19th century Nfld. prints

$325

Print of Harbour Grace Tragedy 1888

$250

Rev Wm. Grey original drawing of St. John's 1853

$3200

Vict Lady

$300

Wilf Barnes, RCA, Icebergs off NL, 1930, 9.6 by 13.3

$1000

Labrador Sea silk screen from Quintus Press volume on Ch (1)

 

Signature card from Quintus Press volume on Christopher Prat
Spine of Quintus Press volume on Christopher Pratt

$1600

Oil painting by W.G. Gosling

$100

Group of Seven artist Authur Lismerís oil painting of Darrellís Cove, Port de Grave

$36000

Blackwood's Grenfell Rescued 1977

$2500

Close up dogs
Close up of Komatik
Close up of label
Grenfell mat

$2500

Rear of mat
Bedroom set

$425

Bedroom set

$900

Boyles Furniture Co. rosewood living room furniture

$2000

Corner desk and silver inkwell

$775, $100

Victorian tall chest of drawers

$1200

Chest of drawers

$225

19 century enameled plant stand

$1000

Grandfather clock

$700

Ansonia brass and enamel mantel clock c.1890

$250

Legal stacking bookcase

$450

One of a pair of single beds

$100

Victoriana card table

$550

Mahohany dining room table c.1850

$1500

View 2 Mahogany table
View 3 Mahogany table
Dining Room Set and Carpet

$1750, $325

Dressing table

$400

Base of Vict. marquetry top table

$1500

Edwardian nest of tables

$325

Hespler dining room table and chairs

$1200

Marquetry top of Victorian parlour table

 

Wing back sofa

$275

Victorian sofa

$300

Hall hat and cane stand

$600

Mahogany China Cabinet

$900

Hespler China Cabinet

$550

Mahogany inlaid curio cabinet

$325

Victorian chaise longue

$900

One of a set of 4 balloon back chairs

$825

Mahogany Vict. slipper chair c. 1850

$190

Leather upholstered chair with chippendale legs

$1250

One of a set of 8 mahogany dining room chairs

$350

Victorian arm chair

$250

Early Victorian slipper chair c.1850

$450

Victorian armchair

$225

Mahogany inlaid shieldback armchair

$200

Mahogany inlaid side chair

$200

Robust rocking chair c.1900

$400

Rosewood inlaid corner chair with stretcher base

$400

Binding from Le Menage Universal 1725

 

Le Menage Universal 1725

$100

Cover of W.H. Russell book Atlantic Telegraph 1866

$1500

Exterior of Trinity Bay cable station from The Atlantic Tele
Life and correspondence of Rodney in 2 vol, 1830

$100

Robert Kent's copy of the digest of the Laws of Newfoundland

$400

Sir Ralph Williams How I Became Governor and Lady Glover on

$125

Volume 1 and 11 of Newfoundland Pilot

$100

Wooden Walls Among the Ice Flows

$300

Boat in Bottle

$200

Collection of crystal decanters

$175-$475 ea

Pendant glass vase

$100

Collection of NL medals

$225

Silver inkwell

$100

Silver meat cover

$225

Staffordshire 1

$300

Staffordshire 2

$175

Staffordshire 3

$175

Staffordshire 4

$100 - $125

Sterling silver monteith 1895

$1500

China cups and saucers, etc
Coal bucket

$120

 

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