Published: August 5, 2003
– More than 700 rdf_Descriptions crossed the auction block during an exciting two-day Summer Americana sale at Knotty Pine over the weekend of July 26-27. The sale featured a huge collection of fire related material on Saturday, including fireman’s helmets, fire buckets and toys, and a large assortment of Americana on Sunday.
Auction gallery owner John Pappas commented that he was extremely pleased with the outcome of the sale and said that the gallery was subject to an enormous amount of phone and absentee bidding. The auctioneer stated that a crowd of roughly 150 was on hand for Saturday’s specialty session, while a standing-room-only crowd made its way to the gallery for Sunday’s Americana session.
The top lot of the fire memorabilia was a 14-inch sterling presentation trumpet from Dorchester, Mass., that was engraved and dated 1855. The lot was subject to numerous absentee bids and heavy phone action with it selling after stiff competition from the gallery at $5,720.
Fire buckets attracted a great deal of attention with a nice pair of leather buckets marked “Varrell” and dated 1812 commanding the top price. The buckets, decorated with swags and stars sold after active bidding for $4,675. A paint decorated bucket from the State House did well selling at $2,750, an early bucket from Lexington, Mass., brought $2,530, and a bucket from Ipswich sold at $1,650.
Fire related toys also brought strong prices with a large handmade ladder truck selling for $2,200, a smaller and more elaborate ladder truck also brought $2,200, a cast-iron, horse-drawn pumper $1,540, and a squirrel-tail hand-pumper fire engine realized $1,925.
A pair of brass fire engine side lamps with ruby glass did well at $1,100, a brass presentation trumpet dated 1851 brought $1,825, and a an oil cloth duck-bill, hand painted parade cap went out at $1,100.
Other top lots included the beaver-front shield holder from a helmet that was hammered down at $1,760, a child’s wooden sled with hand pumper painted decoration $1,595, a fire trumpet marked “Charlestown,” $1,760, a fireman’s belt and helmet $990, and a six-inch Gamewell fire bell sold at $1,017.
The top lot of the session came as a surprise to many in the room as a Native American basket or tray with swirling pinwheel decoration was offered. The basket, measuring 18 inches in diameter, was thought by the gallery to be Apache in origin. Pappas commented that as soon as the ads broke, the phones started ringing regarding many of the pieces, but especially the basket. The auctioneer stated that calls came in from all around the country with requests for images and to reserve phone lines. Numerous absentee bids caused the lot to open high, but active bidding from the telephones and the gallery saw the price pushed to $22,000.
Another rdf_Description in the sale that attracted quite a bit of attention was a Nineteenth Century folk art portrait of a young child and a dog that was signed on the reverse “Pt. By H.J. Tyler, 1833.” The good-looking portrait had been consigned from a private Connecticut folk art collection and provenance stated that it had originally been purchased directly from a local home 12 years ago. The painting opened with crossing absentee bids at $13,000 and moved rapidly in $500 increments between New Hampshire dealer Betty Willis, seated in the front row of the gallery, and a bidder on the telephone. Bids bounced back and forth between the two with Willis eventually claiming the lot at $18,150.
The selection of furniture was led by a nice Federal tiger maple, slant front desk with fan carved interior that sold after active bidding at $8,800. A small tavern table with single drawer and stretcher base also did well hammering down at $3,630, while a continuous arm Windsor in old black paint realized $1,980.
A country Sheraton swing leg, drop leaf table went for $1,650, a two-door jelly cupboard with cutout base in blue paint brought $1,650, a Hepplewhite mahogany card table $1,265, and a Sheraton dressing table realized $2,035. A nice Sheraton three-drawer over two-door jelly cupboard was actively bid with it selling for $2,200, a blind front, step back cupboard in old paint $2,200, and a Pennsylvania kitchen table with tapered legs realized $1,100.
A nice Eighteenth Century presentation silver creamer attracted the attention of several dealers. The piece, presented to Lt Richard Brown of the New York State Artillery, was hallmarked by William Farris, Annapolis, Md., and sold for $2,530. A nice small early American tea pot signed “Curry and Preston, Philadelphia,” also did well bringing $495.
Other rdf_Descriptions of interest included an early tin wall sconce with three candleholders that was actively bid to $1,275, a painted Parcheesi board with hearts $1,320, a carved Bellamy-style eagle $1,760, a watercolor family register from Vermont $1,100, and a cast-iron mechanical bank of a mule in a barn realized $1,402. A large Staffordshire soup tureen with Boston State House decoration did well despite a professional repair at $1,210, while a Staffordshire covered vegetable bowl with “City of Canterbury” decoration realized $660.
Prices include the ten percent buyer’s premium charged. The next auction at Knotty Pine will be a general estate sale on August 11. For further information contact John Pappas, Gallery at Knotty Pine Auction Service, Route 10, West Swanzey, NH 03469, or call 603-352-2313.
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