DOWNINGTOWN, PENN. — “I am very happy, it all went well and we set a new record with the sale of the Hofman Alms-House painting,” Ron Pook said a couple of days after the two-day sale ended on Saturday, October 12. He noted that “we had only a few little worries,” but really only one was noticeable to the people gathered in the gallery: a nearby storm caused the electricity to fail on Friday, the first day of the general sale, and the gallery was in the dark for about 15 minutes.
During that time, Ron set up a new plan to continue on with the sale. He raised his voice, relied on the pictures in the catalog as the video screen was dark, and the sale resumed. Soon power was restored, the mic gave him a stronger voice, and the video screen seemed to take its own time to come back to life. But it did.
All of the prices noted in this review include the buyer’s premium.
An absentee bid of $10,073 took lot 21, an Anna Pottery stoneware inkwell, dated 1884, in the form of a frog sitting atop a half -round reservoir, the opening with an incised bust of a man, signed and dated on the backside, 4 inches high. A leather love bird pincushion, Nineteenth Century, probably Virginia, went for $1,185, a painted cast iron horse head hitching post finial, 13½ inches high, brought $2,015, and an American hooked rug with a horse on a red ground, inscribed E.H. Bittner, 54 by 68 inches, sold for $2,607.
A New England Queen Anne tiger maple high chest, circa 1760, 65 inches high and 37¼ inches wide, went for $9,480, over a high estimate of $6,000; a Joseph Lehn painted sugar bucket with lid, retaining a vibrant salmon surface with yellow pinstriping and vine decorated iron banding, 9 inches high, sold for $4,503, and a carved and painted spaniel by Wilhelm Schimmel, 4½ inches high and 6¾ inches wide, estimated at $10/15,000, sold for $9,113.
A selection of bird carvings included a pair of painted swans by Madison Mitchell, retaining the original ivory surface, made $7,703; a Lloyd Johnson carved and painted Wilson’s snipe, signed on base and dated 1962, 75/8 inches high, sold at $830; and another Johnson carved and painted pectoral sandpiper, signed and dated on the base 1963, 6½ inches high, brought $940, almost twice the high estimate.
A Continental painted bentwood bride’s box dating from the early Nineteenth Century, the lid decorated with an embracing man and woman, sold for $1,701 against a high estimate of $700; a child’s painted Hitchcock settee, circa 1840, retaining the original gold stenciling on a black ground, 25¼ inches wide, fetched $1,422; a Maryland stoneware advertising pitcher, Nineteenth Century, impressed “A.W. Crosler Dealer in Dry Goods Groceries & C Quantico MD,” with cobalt floral highlights, 7¼ inches high, brought $3,402, nearly tripling the $1,200 high estimate; and a Pennsylvania Federal two-part cherry corner cupboard, early Nineteenth Century, 93 inches high and 44 inches wide, went for $3,318.
A couple of sawbuck tables were in the sale, including a Pennsylvania painted example, circa 1800, with scrub top and underhanging drawer, retaining old green surface base, 76 inches by 29½ inches top. It realized $4,617.
A Boston silver porringer bearing the touch of Benjamin Burt, 5½ inches in diameter, went for $3,402; a few lots later, a Philadelphia Chippendale walnut dining chair, circa 1770, with a cabochon carved crest, shell apron and ball and claw feet brought $2,607; a Philadelphia pewter sugar bowl, circa 1800, attributed to Parks Boyd, made $3,792, and a New Hampshire Queen Anne tiger maple secretary desk, circa 1760, 80½ inches high, went for $5,925.
From a group of redware, a Virginia crock, Nineteenth Century, impressed “S Bell Strasburg,” with mottled green, brown and tan glaze, sold for $2,370 against a $1,000 high estimate.
A Chinese Export charger, early Nineteenth Century, decorated with three figures chasing koi, 15½ inches in diameter, well exceeded its $1,000 high estimate, finishing at $5,451; a carved and painted eagle wall plaque with an American flag and shield, George Stapf, brought $5,451; an oil on board by Ben Austrian of three chicks and a spider, signed lower right, 10 by 8 inches, made $5,925, and a Harry Bertoia brass and beryllium sound sculpture, 38¼ inches high, finished at $33,180.
A winter landscape watercolor by Peter Sculthorpe titled “The Beekeeper,” signed lower right and measuring 40 by 60 inches, sold for $14,220 against a high estimate of $10,000. Selling for $3,081 was a Virginia bell metal posnet, Eighteenth Century, signed “Ino Taylor Richmond,” 18¼ inches long. A Jacob Medinger (Montgomery County, Penn., 1856–1932) redware presentation jug, inscribed “June 15 1931 made by Jacb Medinger for Henry Titlow while here at Limerick Pottery,” 8¼ inches high, brought $3,318, close to three times the high estimate.
A Lebanon County, Penn., painted poplar blanket chest, circa 1830, retaining its original brown and ochre sponge decoration with three blue sponged tombstone panels, sold for $4,503; a first edition of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. In Prose; Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, copyright 1843 and published in London by Chapman & Hall, had a high estimate of $12,000 and sold for $14,220; a 1912 $20 Saint-Gaudens gold coin, uncirculated, blew past the high estimate of $1,800, climbing to $15,405, and lot 644, the last lot of the auction on Friday, a miniature 14K gold and enameled fire wagon and ladder truck, circa 1860, attributed to the silversmith Albert Coles, New York City, went for $21,330.
Saturday’s portion of the auction started off with objects from the collection of Mr and Mrs Lawrence H. Skromme, Lancaster, Penn., including a pair of portraits, husband and wife, by Jacob Eichholtz (American, 1776–1842), oil on canvas, 29 by 24 inches and both signed and dated verso 1816. The pair sold for just over twice the high estimate at $11,543. Strong interest was shown in lot 649, a painted pine knife tray in old green surface with a heart cutout handle. It measures 7½ inches high, 12 inches wide and 8¾ inches deep and sold for better than three times the high estimate at $2,370.
A pair of pearlware blue feather edge quezals, circa 1820, 8 inches high, was knocked down for $475 by Ron Pook and it went to buyer number 475. “I am not a lottery player, but this might be a signal,” Ron told the gallery. Actually, with the buyer’s premium, the final bid was $563. It was followed by a set of four English Queen Anne pedal base brass candlesticks, 7 inches high, circa 1760, that sold for $1,778.
Three chairs came up, almost in a row, starting with a New England William and Mary ladder back armchair, circa 1740, with mushroom cap hand rests, retaining an old red surface, that went for $1,778, followed two lots later by a New England William and Mary banister back armchair, circa 1740, with a heart cutout crest, retaining an old black surface. Connecticut dealer Lillian Cogan was listed in the provenance and the chair sold for $2,370, just short of double the high estimate. Three lots later, another New England banister back armchair was offered, dating from the mid-Eighteenth Century with a tulip cutout crest, old black surface, the Lillian Cogan provenance, for $4,740, a bid just shy of four times the high estimate.
Another New England piece was a William and Mary painted pine blanket chest, circa 1740, with lift lid and two drawers supported by turned bun feet, retaining an old black and red decorated surface. With a high estimate of $3,000, it sold for $7,703. A miniature carving of a robin by A.E. Cowell, stamped on the underside, garnered $1,304, while a Pennsylvania painted poplar wall cupboard with one door, circa 1840, original red surface, went for $5,214, well over the $2,000 high estimate.
Selling for double the $2,000 high estimate was a Civil War painted regimental drum, labeled “A. Rogers, Flushing, Long Island,” with the original eagle decoration, 13½ inches high and 16½ inches in diameter. A silver gilt boar’s head tureen by Tane, after the original by Thomas Germain, taken from a painting by Francois Deportes, 136 troy ounces, made $5,346, and a French carved and painted cat carousel figure, early Twentieth Century, retaining an early surface and brass label reading “Limonaire Freres Paris,” 39 inches long, brought $3,792.
Selling at $23,700 was a Pennsylvania walnut line and berry inlaid chest of drawers, circa 1740, with two short drawers and three long drawers with molded surrounds, supported on ball feet; a rare Pennsylvania five-plate cast iron stove, dated 1749, the sides decorated with the “Dance of Death” scenes, the front with oval scrolls, realized $11,850.
A Georgian ebonized bracket clock, circa 1800, with a silvered dial, inscribed “William Smith, London,” 14½ inches high, sold for $4,503; a pair of Chinese Export porcelain Rose Mandarin barrel-form garden seats, Nineteenth Century, with interior court scenes and floral and butterfly borders and dragon decorated tops, 18½ inches high and 13 inches in diameter, went over the $5,000 high estimate, selling for $8,888.
The final lot, a Kirman carpet, circa 1920, 15 by 10 inches, with a high estimate of $1,500, finished $4,029.
Upcoming auctions at Pook & Pook include decorative arts on December 10–11, and period furniture, fine art and accessories on January 17–18.
For additional information, www.pookandpook.com or 610-269 4040.