DOWNINGTOWN, PENN. — Thursday, October 10, will be remembered as a “blue” day at Pook & Pook, when just over 560 lots of historical blue Staffordshire from the Goldberg and Brown collection crossed the block. Of the 594 lots in the sale, 541 sold for a total of $410,805, including the buyer’s premium. All prices noted in this review include the buyer’s premium.
Hayden Goldberg, born in 1929, raised in Maine and educated at Bowdoin College and in England, lived in New York and visited Maine every summer. It was on his 1963 visit to Maine that he purchased his first piece of historical blue, a 9¾-inch-diameter Ridgway plate with a view of the New York City Hall for $20. With his life partner, Curtis Brown, a vast collection was built and, in accordance with his wishes, “the collection was to be sold and not given to a museum and sit on shelves in storage rooms.”
William and Teresa Kurau of Lampeter, Penn., major dealers in historical blue Staffordshire, have been selling to Goldberg and Brown for the past 35 years and know the collection very well. “They lived in a brownstone and everywhere you looked there was historical blue,” Bill Kurau said. He added, “It was an exciting sale and I bought 156 lots, plus a few more the following day, and got a platter that I have known about for 40 years.”
He was talking about lot 566, a blue feather edge small platter with transfer decoration of General Lafayette, “Welcome to the Land of Liberty,” that was owned by Richard and Virginia Wood of Baltimore before it went into the Goldberg & Brown Collection. It is the only one known and it exceeded the $5,000 high estimate, bringing $6,518.
Lot 10, a historical blue Staffordshire Capitol Washington strainer, Nineteenth Century, stamped “Beauties of America Capitol Washington J&W Ridgway,” measures 15 inches wide and sold for $3,081. A few lots later, a historical blue Staffordshire Boston State House reticulated basket and undertray, Nineteenth Century, impressed “Rogers,” the basket 3 inches high and 9¾ inches wide, sold for $4,740, just over twice the high estimate.
General Lafayette was pictured on many of the pieces, including a historical blue Staffordshire toddy plate, 45/8 inches in diameter, Nineteenth Century, impressed “Clews.” With a high estimate of $1,000, it sold for $3,792. The next lot also showed Lafayette on a cup plate, 3¾ inches in diameter, impressed “A. Stevenson,” that went for $2,607. A historical blue Staffordshire small platter with a view of Tappan Bay from Greenburgh, N.Y., Nineteenth Century, impressed “Enoch Wood & Sons,” 7¾ by 9¾ inches, well exceeded the $1,500 high estimate, bringing $4,740.
An estimate of $6/9,000 was on a historical blue Staffordshire Bellville of the Passaic River soup tureen, Nineteenth Century, 11 inches high and 15 inches wide, that was sold together with a Hope Mill Catskill, New York tureen undertray. The lot went for $3,555. A historical blue Staffordshire Detroit platter dating from the Nineteenth Century, 15 by 18¾ inches, brought $3,555, and the next lot, a historical blue Staffordshire Highlands Hudson River reticulated tray, 10 inches wide, Nineteenth Century, sold for double the high estimate at $3,081.
Selling for $5,214, just under the low estimate, was a historical blue Staffordshire Alms House, Boston tureen, 14½ inches high and 17½ inches wide, together with a Deaf and Dumb Asylum Hartford, Connecticut, cover and undertray, stamped “J&W Ridgway.” It was followed by a historical blue Staffordshire The Eddistone Light House reticulated basket from the Nineteenth Century, 3½ inches high by 11¼ inches wide, that sold just over estimate for $1,896. A historical blue Staffordshire West Point Military Academy reticulated bowl and undertray, Nineteenth Century, 4½ inches high and 11¼ inches wide, went over the high estimate of $3,000, selling for $4,977.
About 35 lots of various other pieces closed out the sale, including a group of transfer ware of Mount Vernon views, Nineteenth Century, with two teapots, two cups and saucers, a waste bowl, three luncheon plates, a cup plate and a saucer bringing $474, below estimate; and several purple transfer ware pieces, Nineteenth Century, including an eagle teapot, a Hancock House Boston plate and a view of New York cup and saucer that realized $326, just under the low estimate. A blue spatterware basin with transfer eagle and shield decoration, Nineteenth Century, 43/8 inches high and 13 inches wide, sold within estimate at $267, and two Salopian eagle and urn cups and saucers, Nineteenth Century, went well over the $600 high estimate, selling for $2,844.
Two patriotic pearlware child’s cups, dating from the Nineteenth Century, decorated with the bust of Washington and the other inscribed “America The Land of Liberty,” went just shy of twice the high estimate, selling for $1,541. A few pieces of Liverpool, pearlware, creamware, brown jasperware, Sunderland, copper luster and ironstone were offered, with the sale closing with a Blue Willow plate, Nineteenth century, with oval vignette, inscribed “North River James Kent,” 10¼ inches in diameter, at $1,541, just over estimate.
A reception and lecture on historical blue was at the Pook & Pook Gallery on Wednesday, the day before the auction, from 6 to 8 pm, and right on the heels of the auction was the annual meeting of the Transferware Collectors Club in Wakefield, Mass. In talking about the Collectors Club meeting while at the auction, Bill Kurau said, “It is always interesting; about 90 people usually attend, and the best part is that nobody calls historical blue Staffordshire flow blue.”