Published: April 20, 2021
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Flying Pig Auctions
WESTMORELAND, N.H. – Worth the wait, Flying Pig Auctions’ online Americana auction, originally scheduled for March 29, took flight on April 12, offering nearly 400 lots gathered from multiple estates from all over New England, Florida, New York and New Jersey. It was a diverse and eclectic selection of antiques and collectibles, including period furniture, Oriental rugs, artwork, weathervanes, toys, dolls and child-related items, stoneware and more.
“The sale exceeded our expectations, which is always a nice thing,” said co-owner Roxanne Reuling afterwards, adding that the cause for the sale’s delay was “overzealousness.” “Our clock sale was March 1; we scheduled an onsite estate sale March 11 and 12. I was hoping I could get those all done and still get the sale in on March 29. I just couldn’t get it all done. There was no reason I couldn’t just postpone it two weeks and retain my sanity. You always hope that people are paying attention – and they did. It went well.”
She noted that unlike the single-owner clock auction, “this was a fairly eclectic, with the majority coming from three collections – from New Hampshire, Florida and New Jersey.
“We had live preview for two weeks prior to the sale,” said Reuling. “We had quite a few people in. Of course, it helps that we have the shop as well. We pick up some customers that come to preview the auction, and the auction picks up customers with people who just come to the shop and didn’t know about the auction.”
The sale itself was online-only plus absentee and phone bids. There were more than 900 registered bidders online, the majority from the United States but also from Turkey, Germany, China and South America.
The top lot in the sale was an antique 10-foot-5-inch-by-13-foot-10-inch Persian Oriental room-size rug from the New Hampshire estate, which was levitated by 17 bids from its $300/500 estimate to a final price of $6,150. It sold to a collector on the West Coast, who apparently appreciated the desirability in terms of age, color and style of a so-called “blue Sarouk.”
The second highest price in the sale was achieved by a Victor Talking Machine phonograph from the Florida collection. It also outperformed, leaving a $400/600 estimate far behind to settle at $2,460. The 15¼-by-15¼-by-8½-inch-tall machine (not including horn) went to an online bidder. The Victor Talking Machine Company goes back to the late 1880s, when a creative entrepreneur named Emile Berliner invented the mass-production flat phonograph record. Thomas Edison had invented the cylinder phonograph ten years earlier in 1877, but there was no practical way to mass-duplicate his cylinders at that time. Berliner’s flat-disc design allowed copies to be made of audio recordings in the manner of a printing press. In the fall of 1901, The Victor Talking Machine Company was founded and it became a major player in the explosively growing phonograph market.
The third highest price realized in the sale was $2,091 for an antique painted “Silver Ware” wooden painted trade sign in green and yellow paint, which identified the business’ name as “Robbins.” A phone bidder won the graphic 48-by-19½-inch sign.
Collectors of toy soldiers vied for a large lot of Britains lead English hunt scene figures that included dogs, horses, fox, figures on horseback, deer, trees, fences, etc. William Britain, an erstwhile brass clock maker, started a toy soldier production business that made W. Britain a household name during the Twentieth Century. The figures were created by hollowcasting, a process in which molten lead was poured into a figure mold and before the entire figure could set, some of the molten metal was poured back out again. The result was a figure that was hollow in the center. This set was bid to $1,968, going to the internet.
The sale also included some choice items crafted from wood.
Clark Voorhees (American, 1911-1980) is well-known for his sculptures of whale and other sea-going mammals. There was one in this sale, a wooden carved and painted dolphin, signed and measuring 18 inches long. It went out at $1,968 to an online bidder.
Offered in as-found condition, although there had been some restoration done to the case, a Nineteenth Century 16-drawer apothecary in blue paint took $1,353. It measured 18¼ inches tall by 26 inches wide by 8½ inches deep.
And, for the same price, an online buyer scooped up a wonderful Eighteenth Century burl bowl, 12½ inches in diameter.
Additional highlights included two vintage reindeer in faux fur with wooden painted antlers at $1,353; an Eighteenth Century shaved hearth broom, approximately 52 inches long, going out at $1,230; and large lot of (mostly) stone fruit, including mushroom, artichoke, peaches, lemons, grapes, pear, etc., in an antique mustard painted bowl earning $1,107.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house.
Flying Pig Auctions’ next sale is set for June 7. For information, www.flyingpigantiques.com or 603-543-7490.
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