Published: June 18, 2019
CLARENCE, N.Y. — Among the more than 700 lots, including several items from the Strong Museum, crossing the block at Schultz Auctioneers on June 15 was a coal hod by Charles Rohlfs (1853–1936) that finished at $63,250, including the buyer’s premium.
The rare, early Twentieth Century coal hod made by the Buffalo-based, internationally recognized furniture maker was acquired by a private collector, according to the auction house.
A coal hod — or coal scuttle — is a container used for holding a small, intermediate supply of coal convenient to an indoor coal-fired stove or heater.
This coal hod is made from oak and wrought iron and measures 23 inches in diameter, 12 inches high and 30 inches at the widest point of the base. It is believed to have been in the same house since it was made in Buffalo in 1900 and is in good original condition.
Charles Rohlfs was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. After moving in 1888 to Buffalo with his wife, successful detective novelist Anna Katharine Green, the actor-turned-furniture-designer/artist/craftsman established his furniture-making business there in 1897.
Despite having no formal training as a furniture maker, Rohlfs quickly became known for his original, artistic furniture that most closely aligned with the Arts and Crafts movement, but the Rohlfs style of furniture featured eccentric designs and highly individualized, elaborate carvings and ornamentation.
After an exhibition of his work at the Marshall Field’s department store, Rohlfs’ furniture quickly gained international attention. His pieces were well-received throughout the world — so much so that he was commissioned to make a set of chairs for Buckingham Palace in the early 1900s. Rohlfs died in Buffalo in 1936.
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