Auction of the Rosalie Coe Weir Estate

Case study of an estate's auction journey.

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Published on
December 31, 2018
Carl Rungius' Woodland moose from the Rosalie Coe Weir estate realized a $20,000 price at Capsule's American & European Art auction.

The Client

Rosalie Coe Weir was neither a celebrity nor a person who lived extravagantly. Though a modest and private person, she donated generously to the arts, but always anonymously. Yet her and her family’s collection was the perfect refined blend of everything. From the finest jewelry, important paintings, pieces of American history to rare Asian porcelain, the collection would make for a fabulous series of auctions. Because she had no children, the job of co-executors fell to a dear friend of Ms. Weir’s and to a lawyer whom she had known for decades.

We began at her unassuming apartment on the Upper East Side, which was decorated with antiques, porcelain, glassware, and paintings. Then, we visited Morgan Manhattan Storage, a prewar warehouse in Yorkville with big steel doors, high ceilings, and rough concrete floors. Here we found more antique furniture and the remainder of the art collection, including a 1911 painting of the beach at Tangiers by the renowned Irish artist John Lavery. Our next stop was Manhattan Mini Storage on East 62nd — three units, packed to the gills in this more modern facility. Finally, we made a trip to the co-executor’s law offices, where antique silver and incredible jewelry pieces — wrapped in newspaper from the Clinton era — had been kept in a vault. All of these locations contained wonderful treasures, tucked away in old boxes that were a little dusty and in need of being brought out into the light.

No one had noticed the George Washington inscription on this 1788 presentation urn until we pulled it out of an old box for cataloging. Sold privately.

The Approach

From the initial conversation, the executors’ main concern was the overwhelming nature of the whole situation. With the items spread across four locations, the goal was to liquidate the estate in a cost-efficient manner while remaining focused on achieving the highest prices possible for the collection. Our solution made it simple: we would handle it all. We offered free pick-ups from all of the various locations and as an added bonus, our auction listings, with the prices achieved, functioned as an appraisal for probate. We were able to move quickly, clearing out the apartment to ready it for sale and emptying the storage units so that the estate could take those expenses off of their books.

Items were divided up and selected for the appropriate curated sale. We executed our marking plan and produced glossy print catalogs. The stunning jewelry and exceptional fine art were exhibited both in New York City and in Litchfield, Connecticut and sold with great success at auction.

In the end the entire collection achieved remarkable prices. The Weir family, the lawyers, and the executors were all delighted by the results of the Capsule & Litchfield approach to managing the entire estate.

John Lavery’s, The Beach, Tangier, from 1911, a star lot of the Auction was featured as the cover and detailed in an essay in the print catalog. The piece sold at Capsule's American & European Art auction for $78,125.

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