Published: January 10, 2023
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Copake Auction
COPAKE, N.Y. – Copake Auction conducted its 43rd Annual New Year’s Day Auction on January 1, a tradition that this time featured 763 lots, only four or five of which failed to connect with a buyer, according to the firm’s co-owner and auctioneer, Seth Fallon. The auction was presented live online and in-person with limited seating by appointment. In past years the gallery would have been full for this event, which enjoys a large local clientele. This year there were just about 35-40 people in the gallery, the first live sale in three years, save for the annual bicycle auction, and the bidding action has mostly shifted to online platforms. There were about 3,000 registered bidders for this sale, with participation from 35 different states and five different countries. The sale total was around $500,000. “It was a very good sale for us, strong across the board,” said Fallon. “I thought the stuff was very well received.”
Copake is well known for selling choice weathervanes. Indeed, at preview, an entire room in the gallery is devoted to the category, bristling with myriad examples of the form. The top vane – and top lot – in this sale was a leaping stag example, stand included, 29 by 26 inches, which cleared its $6,000 high estimate to finish at $8,100. An Angel Blowing Horn example that was mounted on a wooden base ascended from a $400/600 expectation to go out at $4,200. A full-bodied bull weathervane, base included, 24 by 21 inches, charged to $3,720.
Standing proud, a peacock weathervane, 30 by 21 inches, stand included boasted a final price of $2,760, while an Angel Gabriel weathervane, stand included at 14 by 14 ½ inches realized $2,640.
Items from the Gliedman estate, New York City collectors, were featured, including Shaker furniture and accessories, folk art, game boards, decoys and weathervanes. The auction featured 65 Shaker lots, foremost among them a Nineteenth Century Shaker Mount Lebanon nine-drawer chest, 43½ by 20½ by 62½ inches, sold for $7,800. A close competitor was a Nineteenth Century two-part apothecary cabinet, also property of the Gliedman estate. It was estimated $2/3,000 but did much better, finishing at $7,500, won by a collector outside of New York City. The 54½-by-18½-by-70-inch-high piece had everything one could ask for – 30 graduated drawers in the bottom half, three cabinet doors revealing shelves in the top half, plus a sill to work on. Made about 1850, it had been purchased from Charles Flint and came with the book, Measured Drawings of Shaker Furniture and Woodenware (Ejner Handberg), and blueprints of cupboard – blueprints marked “Shaker Apothecary Sill Cupboard, About 1850 / Made And Used At The South Family, Enfield N.H. / Charles L. Flint, Antiques, Lenox, Mass.”
Founded in 1793, the Enfield village was the ninth of 18 Shaker communities to be established in the United States. At its peak in the mid-Nineteenth Century, the community was home to three “Families” of Shakers. In 1923, after 130 years of farming, manufacturing and productive existence, declining membership forced the Shakers to close their community.
Property of the Gliedman estate, a Nineteenth Century Shaker cupboard having two doors over six drawers, 38 by 25½ by 80 inches, left the gallery at $3,120, while the Gliedmans’ Nineteenth Century Shaker two-door cupboard in old red paint, 49 by 17 by 69½ inches, took a twice-high-estimate $2,400.
The Gliedman estate also contributed a New England painted wood game board to this sale. It had much less wood than the apothecary but did as well, soaring from a $1/1,500 estimate to a final price of $7,500. Measuring 21 by 21 inches, the Nineteenth Century painted board was marked “Merry Christmas From Hazel 1895.” Another Nineteenth Century New England painted game board, 21 by 20½ inches, was ex-collection of Charles Flint and made $6,300.
Also from the Gliedman consignment came a Nineteenth Century Shaker three-finger box in yellow paint. It was 11½ by 8½ by 5 inches and also doubled its high estimate to sell for $2,400. The same price was achieved for an early wooden carving of an American Indian that had been valued at $200/300.
In addition to the Gliedman estate, the sale featured 300 lots from the Barbara Packer Estate, Germantown, N.Y., and New York City. According to the Fallons, Barbara Packer was a friend and customer for more than 20 years and had a wonderful collection of folk art, period furnishings, cigar store figures and samplers. One of the key items from this collection was a folk art sculpture by Stephen Huneck (1948-2010) of a dog walker, signed and dated 1993. The resin figure with five dogs, 62 inches high, had previously sold at Stair Galleries in 2001. Seth Fallon said he was gratified that in this sale the sculpture was won by Huneck’s niece, who paid $7,200, more than triple the high estimate.
Another whimsical item from the Packer estate was a large figural cast metal Monkey chandelier. Measuring 41 inches in diameter and 50 inches high, it was estimated $500/700, but climbed to $5,400.
An impressive Eighteenth Century New Paltz kas crossed the block, going out at $6,000. It was constructed in three parts – base, case and cornice – and stood 8 feet 10 inches high. A rare highlight was the presence of split ball feet, one of three known examples of this form. Another furniture highlight was a Korean low decorated table. At 39 by 27 by 14 inches, it supersized its $200/300 estimate by attaining $4,500.
Bette Davis (1908-1989) was an American actress with a career spanning more than 50 years and 100 acting credits. Born Ruth Elizabeth Davis in Lowell, Mass., she became known for such iconic roles as Broadway diva Margot Channing in All About Eve, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane and memorable quotes like “I’d like to kiss ya, but I just washed my hair.” A photograph of Davis by Victor Skrebeneski (b 1929) soared from $500-$1,000 to $5,400. Marked “2/12 For Betty with Admiration Victor,” the 23-by-19½-inch image had been willed to the consignor from Davis.
Notable ephemera included enlistment papers for General George Washington’s Army. Dated January 4, 1776, Colony of New Hampshire, the lot featured detailed information written verso and was bid to $3,900.
Rounding out the sale’s notable lots were a monumental carved Italian baroque frame, circa 1650, overall 87 by 71 inches, at $3,480 and a painted Parker “Jumper” carousel horse that leapt to $3,000. It measured 65 by 11 inches with a 43-inch height and came with appraisal and identification information from well-known carousel dealer Donald “Rusty” Donahue.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. The next sale is scheduled for February 11. For information, 518-329-1142 or visit www.copakeauction.com.
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