Paint, Folk Art Sees Strong Prices At Garth’s Country Americana Auction

The top lot of the auction was this Oriental rug that attained $9,300.

DELAWARE, OHIO — On March 15, Garth’s Auctions hosted a one-day auction of country Americana: painted furniture, folk art and textiles. The draw of 604 lots filled parking areas quickly, and clients jockeyed for the best seats in Garth’s historic barn.

It did not take long for bidder paddles to begin flying as the hanging tobacconist sign from the collection of the late J. Garland Warren’s estate opened the sale. The triangular American cigar trade sign retained its original paint and highlights of black and sold for $1,440. A late Nineteenth Century Baird advertising clock finally sold to an absentee bidder for $1,680. A double-sided hotel sign for Hotel Metropole brought $2,760.

As Garth’s president Amelia Jeffers commented, “Advertising signs are just one of several categories, which have now become part of the what we like to recognize as the “art of the everyday.” The interest in these once utilitarian signs continues to grow thanks to the color, form and whimsy.”

Other ordinary objects of their day, now elevated to folk art, garnered equally strong prices. An iconic barber pole, ex John Schnall collection, commanded $1,680. Additionally, two architectural eagles drew serious attention from collectors far and wide causing prices to soar. The first, a late Nineteenth Century zinc example, which previously graced a building in Concord, N.H., was ex Bill Kandle (Ohio) and sold for $3,000. The second, a spread-winged eagle with white worn paint, brought $4,500 after some intense bidding.

Gameboard prices also reflect the increased demand in this genre of material culture. Reflecting the imagination of the makers, a Nineteenth Century Parcheesi gameboard with original paint sold for $2,952, over its high estimate. A double-sided checkers and Chinese checkers decorated gameboard brought $1,046 from an online bidder. The crowd kept paddles high for the folksy ventriloquist dummy head. Even with one ear missing, it sold for $1,722 against an $400/600 estimate.

As always, painted furniture is in demand and during this sale dry sinks continued a recent trend of impressive results at Garth’s. An American Nineteenth Century, pine high-back dry sink with original old grey-blue paint sold for $2,880 against a $400/800 estimate. Another example with old green paint outperformed its estimate at $3,000 and a poplar dry sink with old yellow paint brought $2,640.

Among other painted pieces selling well throughout the sale, were an American bucket bench with old paint that sold to a in-house bidder for $3,480 and a one-piece cupboard in bright yellow paint for $3,360. A decorated Soap Hollow blanket chest also performed well. The 1845 piece from Somerset County, Penn., brought $2,400. The chest was among the earliest dated examples of Soap Hollow furniture.

Smalls were scooped up over the course of the day as well, led by a half-plate ambrotype of an armed man, American 1855–65. The seated portrait of a bearded gentleman holding what appears to be a Colt revolver and a bone-handled bowie knife in his lap ($1,5/2,500) finally sold for $6,000. A decorated treenware container with bold vinegar sponging in red and blue on a mustard background brought $3,600. Another decorated treenware covered container took $1,980, while a large Peaseware covered jar fetched $1,320.

The bidders looking for art were definitely pleased with the options here. An oil on canvas signed in the lower right, “No. 38 The Barn I’ve Admired For Years” by Tella Kitchen (1902–1988) went for $4,620. Two watercolors by David Ellinger (1913–2003). Several folksy carvings by Paul Tyson garnered a great amount of attention and sold for $1,140, $3,480 and $1,440. A painting and diorama with ships of the New Harlem made $2,280.

Additional highlights of the sale included a flintlock musket marked for J.M. Caswell, Lansingburgh, N.Y., sold together with a period powder horn for $1,920, while another carved powder horn that was elaborately decorated with buildings, boats, birds, insects, animals and a fine mermaid fetched $1,800.

Of the lots of taxidermy offered, a shoulder mount of an American buffalo brought $1,800. A Plains Indian beaded pipe bag and catlinite pipe which had descended in the original family brought $2,460. Several Oriental rugs brought high prices, including a Twentieth Century, room-size, Heriz nearly doubled its high estimate for $9,300. Another room-size Heriz brought $3,360, and a room size Malayer sold for $4,320.

All prices reported include the buyer’s premium.

For additional information, www.garths.com or 740-362-4771.

The half plate ambrotype of an armed man achieved $6,000.

A dry sink made $3,000.

An architectural eagle realized $3,000.

This gameboard brought $2,952.

The decorated Soap Hollow blanket chest realized $2,400.

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