Published: March 15, 2022
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy D.L. Straight Auctioneers
STURBRIDGE, MASS. – Think spring, said David Straight, siccing more than 4,500 registered bidders on three online platforms on nearly 500 lots of Americana and folk art on March 5. The colors, however, were more reminiscent of autumn with deep browns, mustards and oxidized blues among the many furniture pieces on offer. “There was a lot of positive feedback on this sale, one of those great occasions when both buyers and sellers are happy,” said Straight afterwards.
Leading the sale was a rare Newport, R.I., desk attributed to Job Townsend Sr (1699-1765) or his school, which ended up at $4,000. The slant lid desk in old surface featured a shell-carved interior and a bold original bracket base. The selling price was a marker of how the market values such material these days, as this desk was purchased in 2006 from Woodbury, Conn., dealer Wayne Pratt for $27,000. It was accompanied by a full condition report and documentation and measured 36 by 19 by 44 inches. According to Chipstone, best known for their blockfront, shell-carved furniture, the Townsends and Goddards dominated the furniture industry in colonial Newport.
A Nineteenth Century pagoda top tortoiseshell tea caddy outperformed its $1,600 high estimate to bring $2,875. With interior compartments and covers, it measured 9 by 5½ by 6 inches.
Fetching $2,250, a rare four-color, paint-decorated blanket chest from the Eighteenth Century was dovetailed, featured two drawers and a cutout bracket base. Dimensions were 40 by 18 by 38 inches wide.
Among the items that early sailors made during long voyages besides scrimshaw whale teeth, shell valentines and carved walking sticks were watch hutches, designed to house a pocket watch on a mantel or table back on land. A sailor’s ebony and whalebone watch hutch offered in this sale rose to $2,225 against an estimate of $300/600. The example was inlaid with hearts and stars and appeared to be old original surface, measuring 19 by 4 by 5 inches.
In original blue paint, a late Eighteenth-early Nineteenth Century narrow size corner cupboard with two flat panel doors, circa 1790-1820, was bid to $1,875. It was all pine and measured 89 by 38 by 16 inches.
The same oxidized blue was sported by an Eighteenth Century diminutive firkin for covered dry goods, which left the gallery at $2,625.
Settling at $1,375 each were an early leather farmer’s hat (a surprise) and a rare mustard painted New England keeler with wooden handles, 25 by 16 inches.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. D.L. Straight’s next sale will be in April, date to be announced.
For further information, 508-769-5404 or www.dlstraightauctioneers.com.
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