Published: June 17, 2003
MT CRAWFORD, VA. – Green Valley Auctions, Inc conducted its annual spring sale of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century glass and ceramics of May 12-13. Included were significant collections, as well as individual offerings from consignors from several states.
Auction participants represented 29 states and Canada, with 195 bid numbers issued. The doors opened Monday at 8 am to preview, and by 11 am auctioneer and president Jeffrey S. Evans had begun with a collection of reference books and other materials. Past auction catalogs from various firms, covering subjects of mainly glass and ceramics, and dating from the 1920s to the 1990s, continue to be important reference materials and strong sellers.
Following the reference materials, the auction turned to the much-awaited early American glass cup plate collection of the late Robert W. King. Green Valley Auctions, Inc was chosen to liquidate the collection that King had amassed, a collection of historical proportions with many rare and important examples. Included with most of the cup plates were provenance cards that read like the “who’s who” of early glass circles of years past.
Among collectors, museums and dealers, Nineteenth Century American glass cup plates are identified not by a shape or impressed design, but by the numerical designation established by Ruth Webb Lee and James H. Rose (Lee/Rose) in their book American Glass Cup Plates first published in 1948. Overhearing some of the conversations at the auction preview might sound like code to those not familiar with American glass cup plates. It became clear that not only did company president Evans speak the “cup plate language” but he and his staff had produced an auction sale catalog that few auction houses could have duplicated.
Of the 273 cataloged lots, those cup plates that would emerge as notable began with an extremely rare, brilliant deep green Lee/Rose #227 that sold for $7,150. It was speculated that only seven or eight examples in this color exist. A colorless Lee/Rose #68 and possibly one of only four known reached $5,225, as did a Lee/Rose #459-M opaque jade green and possibly one of two known examples, the other being the Sandwich Glass Museum.
The final sales sheet showed 52 cup plates exceeding $550, 38 topping $1,100 and 23 reaching above the $2,200 mark. Following the cup plates were blown and pressed salts, with an extremely rare Boston Sandwich Glass Company covered salt reaching $1,320. A toy lacy glass oval bowl in canary color saw $1,760. The star of the lacy glass, however, proved to be one of only five known “Hairpin” square dishes that topped at $7,150 after strong bidding.
The selection of fine lacy glass saw many lots selling in the $50/500 range, which provided ample opportunity for collectors and dealers to attain good examples. The same held true in the early cut and engraved and the free-blown and blown molded categories. A free-blown trumpet vase in rose color sold for $1,100, while a free-blown open compote in cased light blue with rose color interior and folded rim, $935. A large free-blown witch ball in deep ruby saw an impressive $1,045 and a cobalt blue with white looping drug bottle, $990.
The next eye opener was a sulphide paperweight with busts of four early American presidents, possibly produced at the New England Glass Company, which sold to a well-known dealer in early glass for $1,760 and generated pre-auction interest from the Corning Museum of Glass.
A rare pair of pressed flute wine coolers attributed to the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company sold for a respectable $2,640 and was followed with a bang by a pressed loop leaf vase in brilliant deep violet-blue which sold to the phone bidder for $8,525 after fierce bidding.
The first lot of the early lighting category resulted in some disappointment when a fine example of the Onion (Eaton) oil lamp, attributed to the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company in a rare mottled blue color sold for an anemic $2,530 to an exceptionally fortunate and well-known Massachusetts dealer of early glass.
Lighting that didn’t disappoint included a very scarce pre-kerosene period ruby cut to clear whale oil/fluid lamp with pressed hexagonal base that sold to a local advanced collector for $1,870 and a full figural overlay kerosene lamp with a white cut to deep green font that towered an impressive 183/4 inches high that sold to a Canadian collector for $1,870.
Day two, the sale of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century ceramics featured the Dr Charles Rand Penney collection of more than 500 Staffordshire figures. Penney assembled some 150 collections. His Staffordshire collection began in the 1950s with travels through North America and Europe in search of rare examples.
A scarce group figure of three dogs sold for an impressive $2,750 (even with a crack to the base) while a pair of seated children on goats ended at $1,760 after heated bidding. An example of an “Uncle Tom” group figure sold to a Florida phone bidder at $1,210.
The Staffordshire collection concluded with the sale of Penney’s sizable reference library and was followed by early ceramics that included transfer ware, featheredge, Gaudy Dutch, Gaudy Welsh and Gaudy ironstone. In addition, there was a sampling of historical transfer ware, King’s Rose and mocha ware.
An offering of 33 pieces of Parian was well received with full figures, busts, a wall shelf and a set of plates, among others. The top lots include Mercury seated on a rock with one wing restored at $880 and a full figural of a woman holding an inverted urn that also reached $880. The offerings of pearlware, spatter ware and others rounded out the two-day event, with a spatter ware dove pattern handleless cup and saucer with red spatter rims that brought $1,430 and a spatter ware dangling tulip pattern handleless cup and saucer with blue spatter rims and a repair to the saucer, $1,650.
Prices quoted above include the ten percent buyer’s premium.
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