Published: May 18, 2021
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Hartzell’s Auction Gallery
BANGOR, PENN. – No doubt you’ve heard that old analogy of the buggy whip as being “an obscurity sitting on an anachronism.” True that buggy whip makers were fringe players at the margins of the horse-drawn carriage business, which, when gas-powered vehicles came along, suffered a meteoric descent into obscurity. Still, there are no doubt collectors of buggy whips, just as there was certainly a collector who spotted two group lots of cast iron hitching posts at Hartzell Auction Gallery’s May 7 sale of stoneware and primitives. One group of matching horse head hitching posts in worn paint estimated at $400/800 sold for $2,583, and a similar group of five, also estimated $400/800, finished at $2,242. They were the top lots in Hartzell’s auction, which was offering more than 500 lots culled from several Sussex County, N.J., estates and private collections. Included was stoneware and redware pottery, crocks and jugs, folk art, baskets, cast iron benches and more.
More than tripling its $500 high estimate, a blue-decorated stoneware jug with script advertising promoting “Frank Hernese, Newton, NJ” soared to $1,770. The 2-gallon vessel was in good overall condition and stood 13¾ inches high. Another 2-gallon blue-decorated stoneware script jug, this one promoting “Michael Martin, Mauch, Chunk, Pa.,” and 14 inches high, also finished at $1,770.
Fetching the same price was an African American Philadelphia Giants baseball painting that also outperformed its estimate, in this case $400/800. Done in oil on a wooden panel, the depiction of the Negro League baseball player, circa 1902-1911, measured 9½ by 8 inches in its frame, which was not original and had some restoration.
Decorated in blue with a wreath pattern rather than script, a 9½-inch-tall stoneware milk pitcher, probably New York or New Jersey, brought $1,003.
Bidders took another 2-gallon blue-decorated stoneware script advertising jug to $750. It was 14½ inches high and was marked “J.R. Piper, Morristown, NJ.” And a blue-decorated stoneware crock, 2-gallon size with lug handles, featured a chicken pecking corn and sold for $600.
Folk art was on offer in this sale. A painting on velvet, which went out at $1,168, depicted a soldier speaking at a podium as an audience of well-attired ladies and gentlemen and farm animals stood at attention beneath a flag on a pole surmounted by an eagle. It measured 11 by 15½ inches.
Another folk art oil on canvas, Nineteenth Century and depicting hunting dogs with hunter and a house in background, earned $826. It was in a gold painted wooden frame and measured in total 26 by 39 inches.
Folk art in a different guise came in the form of a slate-decorated parcheesi gameboard. Bid to $800, its marbleized slate featured an “H” in the center of the 20-by-20-inch board.
Also fetching $800 was a Nineteenth Century wool basket with bentwood handles and pegged construction base. At 12½ by 27 by 17 inches, it had minor breaks and wear from use.
A Nineteenth Century Native American medicine bag sold for $750. Offered in as-found condition, it was accompanied with a note stating, “A relic from the Pueblo of Cochise,” dated 1861, and “This bag and other relics were found in the Cochise Pueblo” – Found by General Bernard, J.D. Irwin in the Apache Pass, Arizona. The bag measured 6 by 6 inches without the strap.
Notable metal benches performed well in the sale. The first was a Regency cast iron garden bench. Featuring an urn motif and half round design with good, weathered patina, the 29¾-by-57-by-14-inch bench left the gallery at $922. Two cast iron garden benches made $767 and $600, respectively. Both were ornate with geometric and floral patterns and each measured 42 by 32 by 15 inches.
Early lighting was represented by a wrought iron and brass lighting device. Realizing $861, it was a combination betty lamp and candle holder, 22 inches high, with an adjustable pole and brass decoration on the base. An ornate brass table lamp, commanding $600, had a polished brass and copper base with ruby glass ball shade and gold dragon motif. The base was 11½ inches high and the shade measured 5¾ by 6 inches.
Rounding out the sale’s top highlights were a vintage butcher block at $750 and a vintage dental cabinet at $676. Like buggy whips, there is not much call for dental cabinets these days except that they make great storage, and this one was a dandy – with three doors with etched glass inserts and glass knobs over 22 drawers, plus a black glass shelf or top and a beveled mirror back on a marble base.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For additional information, www.hartzellsauction.com or 610-588-5831.
September 19, 2023
September 19, 2023
September 19, 2023
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