Review & Onsite Photos by Rick Russack, Catalog Photos Courtesy Withington Auctions
GOFFSTOWN, N.H. – Withington Auction’s February 25 sale lacked only a live audience in the auction hall. Fortunately, that’s the way it was planned as southern New Hampshire got about of 12 inches of snow the day before the sale. The name “Withington” is probably one of the oldest and best-known auction names in New Hampshire and northern New England. Dick Withington – who has NH auctioneer’s license #1 -started selling in 1949 and became known as a master showman with the ability to squeeze one last bid out of almost anyone. He knew all his customers by name – no numbers were needed when he was selling. He sold the company in 2005 to Larry and Marcia Leizure and died in 2007 but the company continues, now a partnership of five.
The sale was conducted from the company’s new office space. Three internet platforms were in use and both telephone and absentee bidding were available. Several hundred potential bidders were online as the sale started and remained through the day. Included in the offerings were early American and other furniture, clocks, mocha, silver, paintings, a camera collection, Oriental rugs and more.
Drawing the most interest from bidders, and bringing the highest price of the day at $9,600 was an early Nineteenth Century Norwalk Conn., tall case clock with a dial signed by I. Keeler. It’s the only known example by him. Members of the Keeler family were active silversmiths in Connecticut, and a well-known family in the Norwalk area but the family is not known as clockmakers. A search of the internet yielded little information. Keeler’s name is clear on the well-painted dial and the eight-day brass movement, with a second hand, is housed in a case more than eight feet tall, with mahogany veneers, fluted quarter columns and it stands on its original full height, French feet. Its brass finials were described as circa 1850 replacements. The clock was in good running condition.
Another tall case clock dating from the Eighteenth Century, also from Connecticut but by an unknown maker, sold for $1,920. An English mahogany tall case clock, made by William Tickle (1738-1804) in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne went out for $570, in working condition. There were more than a dozen other clocks in the sale, including a Seth Thomas ship’s clock in a nickel-plated case, with a “Y” bell which earned $510.
Furniture included vintage and quality reproduction pieces. Two early pieces each finished at $2,160. One was a two-drawer mahogany nightstand with cookie cutter corners that was attributed to the Seymour shop or the North Shore area; it had replaced brass. The other piece selling for $2,160 was about 200 years older: a James I period oak wainscot chair with a carved panel. Its condition issues were noted in the catalog and online description. A good-looking William and Mary two-drawer blanket chest in later red paint, on original feet and with old, but probably not original, hardware seemed reasonable and sold for $840. It retained its original cotter pin hinges. An early Nineteenth Century hanging cupboard from Pennsylvania, with its original four-pane glass door and original surface, earned $450. Bidders also liked an Eighteenth Century Irish armchair with a well-carved drape crest and carved knees. It brought $1,800, more than three times the estimate.
Quality reproduction pieces, such as those by Eldred Wheeler, continue to find a ready market. A four-drawer Newport-style block-front chest, on ogee bracket feet by Wheeler realized $1,800. Doing a little better at $2,160 was a set of eight bowback Windsors, including two continuous armchairs, made by the Warren Chairworks. Asian pieces included a painted, leather-covered camphor-wood blanket chest, 41 inches long and in good condition, which reached $420.
There were about 20 lots of silver with a sterling tray weighing 42 troy ounces that finished at $1,020, slightly over scrap value. A flatware service for eight, weighing 32 ounces, went out for $720. Earning $420 was a 21 troy ounce Boardman sterling coffee pot with a wooden handle.
There were some pleasant surprises. A 36-inch brightly colored Twentieth Century Artistic Carving Co., eagle holding a “Live and Let Live” banner went out for $1,800. At 35 inches tall, a famille rose vase with gilded lion handles and decorated with court scenes and floral patterns realized $2,040. Also exceeding expectations was an early cased brass sextant with an inlaid ivory plaque initialed “D.G.”; it brought $2,280.
There was also a miniature watercolor of a woman, attributed to Justus Dalee (1793-1878). Dalee was active 1826-1847 in New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut. He was a musician during the War of 1812 and took up painting later. His 21-year artistic career included painting family records and portrait miniatures. He advertised himself as the “Side Portrait Painter.” This miniature sold for $1,140.
After the sale, Mike Reopel said that he and his partners, Larry and Marcia Leizure, Ken Labnon and Gary Yeaton were pleased with the sale, which grossed slightly under $100,000. “We had a good assortment of stuff; furniture, ceramics, silver, jewelry, clocks, Asian things, and country Americana, so there really was something for everyone. The online participation was strong and we’re looking forward to our next sale. That will be April 22 and we’ll have a strong selection of American furniture, among other things.”
For information, 603-680-1676 or withingtonauction.com.