Published: September 25, 2018
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring
DOWNINGTOWN, PENN. – Pook & Pook Inc enjoyed impressive results for their first auction of the fall season. On Friday, September 14 and Saturday, September 15, the auction house was buzzing with guests eager to preview the lots on offer and place their winning bids. Early American furniture was the star of the weekend, as it so often is at Pook & Pook. Kicking off the approximately 650-lot sale was nearly 120 lots from the Las Vegas, N.M., estate of Mary Louis Shartle. Shartle and her husband Tom had been collectors of antiques since the late 1950s, when they were living in Houston, Texas. A Quaker, Shartle’s taste reflected her beliefs: plain versus ornate, functional versus decorative. The first of the Shartle’s salt box homes was in the East Texas Piney Woods and was filled with Shaker pieces, baskets, quilts, cupboards and wardrobes. After the couple moved to Montezuma, N.M., Shartle began to collect Russian lacquer boxes, netsuke, art and jewelry. The couple frequently antiqued in New England and filled the second of their salt box homes, which was in Las Vegas, N.M.
The first lot of the sale was a Pilgrim century oak sunflower chest with a possible attribution to the workshop of Peter Blin of Wethersfield, Conn. Pook & Pook had priced it at $5/10,000, which generated considerable interest, and after heated bidding, it sold to a bidder in the room for $27,500. Another lot from the Shartle collection that did well was a large Shaker pine cupboard attributed to Abner Allen of Enfield, Conn. The cupboard was also priced conservatively at $2/4,000, but it closed at $10,000. Not far behind was a William and Mary cherry hutch table that had provenance to both the Deerfield Academy and Lillian Blankely Cogan. It went out just above the high estimate, at $8,125.
Highlights from the first day included a Southern Hepplewhite mahogany cellarette from a Wilmington, Del., estate. The cellarette, with its original brasses and marquetry spiral shell inlay, was an exceptionally popular lot and kept Pook & Pook’s entire bidding staff busy on the phones. It quickly surpassed its estimate ($2/3,000) to end at $18,750. A Chester County Chippendale semi-tall walnut chest of drawers, which had been previously handled by Pook & Pook when they sold the collection of James Grievo, achieved $10,000 against an estimate of $5/8,000, and a tiger maple linen press went out for $5,750.
The second day of the sale was led by a Pennsylvania Federal cherrywood tall case clock with a painted face inscribed Jacob Eby Manheim and an inlaid oval eagle. Priced at $4/7,000 to generate interest, the clock did just that with bidders, reaching $17,500 and the third highest price in the sale. Following closely behind the clock was an oil on panel still life attributed to Isaac Nuttman (1801-1872), which included fruit, birds and butterflies frequently seen in Nuttman’s works. Bidding interest moved it just past the high estimate, and it closed at $16,250 against a $10/15,000 estimate. Rounding out the top three lots in the second day was an Ephrata, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Sheraton walnut two-part Dutch cupboard with an old, dry surface and blue-painted interior. The backboard was inscribed with the maker’s name, and it nearly doubled its estimate ($6/8,000) to finish at $13,750.
Exceptional early American decorative arts also saw high prices over the two-day sale. Items of special note included a selection of fraktur, with a Pennsylvania ink and watercolor vorschrift selling for $12,500 and an ink and watercolor birth and baptismal certificate selling for $8,125. Admirers of the Pennsylvania German arts should mark their calendars for Pook & Pook’s next upcoming auction, The Collection of Paul & Rita Flack, which is scheduled for Saturday, October 13. The Flack sale will include more than 70 lots of fraktur.
Pennsylvania artists were well represented in September’s sale, with eight lots by Berks County artist Ben Austrian crossing the auction block, including a large oil on canvas depiction of his well-known hen and chicks selling for $13,750 and an oil on canvas painting of a curious kitten with a butterfly achieving $10,000. A Schimmel carved and painted rooster was hammered down at $10,625, and a miniature watercolor on ivory portrait also saw a high level of interest, with its depiction of an American sea captain and his ship selling for $10,625.
Prices realized include buyer’s premium, as reported by the auction house. Pook & Pook’s next Americana and International Auction is scheduled for January 11-12. To consign items for that, or any other Pook & Pook Inc auction, please email email@example.com.
For information, 610-269-4040 or www.pookandpook.com.
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