Published: July 5, 2022
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy JSE & Associates
MOUNT CRAWFORD, VA. – Fresh-to-the-market collections fueled strong prices at Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates’ June 23-25 Americana auction. The firm said it was one of its strongest Americana sales to date. There were nearly 1,300 lots in the three-day event, which posted a sell-through rate in the high 90s. The firm does not disclose sales totals, but reported a busy gallery on each day, with competition that was intense throughout each session with several thousand registered bidders participating online, by phone, in house and through absentee.
“Overall, this was a very strong sale for us,” said Will Kimbrough, the firm’s auctioneer, vice president-department head, Americana, fine art and research specialist. “The robust sales results across multiple categories indicate a sustained interest in the diverse Americana marketplace, from early folk portraiture to Native American objects, to antique and vintage guitars. Additionally, we were also pleased to secure several consignments of important objects descended directly in the families of the original owners for this sale. Astute buyers will pay a premium for fresh-to-the-market material of high quality, and numerous results from the weekend bear this out.”
Leading the material sold over the weekend was a pair of Charles Peale Polk (1767-1822) portraits, which rose to $72,900. The pair went to an East Coast dealer who was bidding against a Virginia institution, both on the phone. The pair of portraits comprise one of three versions painted Polk in 1799 at the request of Gerard Briscoe (1737-1801), a wealthy landowner in Frederick Co., Va. It is presumed that Briscoe commissioned the three copies from Polk in order to give each of his daughters a pair. Eleanor, one of the Briscoe daughters, received this pair from her father and mother, and brought them with her to Staunton, Va., upon her marriage to Archibald Stuart. The portraits have since descended directly in the Stuart family.
The first day showcased glass deaccessioned by Vermont’s Bennington Museum. A group of blown-molded material, much of which retained extensive provenance, included many rare examples of early American glass. Top lot was a blown-molded GII-6 deep bowl in an unusual brilliant yellow green. Likely made in Kent, Ohio, around 1830, it drew significant presale interest from private individuals and the trade, and wound up selling to a collector on the floor for $39,487. Also, a blown-molded GII-6 shallow bowl in aquamarine, also likely made in Kent, realized $18,225, while a blown-molded GV-8 creamer in deep violet blue, probably Boston & Sandwich Co., was bid to $18,225 and a pattern-molded broken-swirl footed open salt in deep amethyst, probably Pittsburgh, Penn., or Zanesville, Ohio, made $13,365.
A highlight on the second day was Part III of the collection of Staffordshire transferware with American historical views of the Nick Routson, Phoenix, Ariz., said to be one of the finest collections ever to come to market. It featured a wide variety of forms, many in extremely rare patterns and with good provenances. Country accessories, pottery and folk art from various consignors augmented the day’s offerings, which were led by a Staffordshire American Historical transfer-printed ceramic platter featuring the Arms of Pennsylvania. It had received strong presale interest, which was borne out by an online trade bidder, who, on behalf of a client, took the final price to $14,580. Additional highlights on Day Two included a Staffordshire Medallion Portrait series transfer-printed ceramic large jug/pitcher at $10,935; a rare Staffordshire American view transfer-printed ceramic ladle featuring a Hudson River view at $5,467; and a Shelton Sisters (Forsyth Co., N.C.) rib-type woven-splint diminutive white oak basket at $2,916.
Material deaccessioned by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation headlined Friday’s session, with proceeds to benefit its collections acquisition fund, along with items from numerous US private collections. The day’s premier lot was the previously discussed pair of Charles Peale Polk portraits of Gerard and Margaret Briscoe from 1799. The rare Eighteenth Century Virginia backcountry portraits captivated two phone bidders, who pushed the pair all the way to the $72,900 final price. The Friday session also was noteworthy for an important George Washington 1778 Revolutionary War signed letter from Valley Forge, descended in the same family as the Polk portraits, which earned $42,525.
Additional highlights from the day included an east Tennessee or southwest Virginia paint-decorated yellow pine blanket chest at $25,515; a Navajo Native American silver and turquoise squash-blossom necklace with a collection history in the family of Dr Richard Tisinger, who worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the 1930s, at $19,440; and a 1921 Martin O-45 acoustic guitar playing to $14,580.
After the sale, company president and principal auctioneer Jeffrey S. Evans commented, “This sale generated robust interest across the board, from bidders near and far. The caliber of the material offered across all categories was very appealing to a broad swath of collectors. Levels of online participation in our auctions continue to grow for us – a real indication that there is sustained market demand for a diverse range of Americana and folk art. The overall excitement and strong sales results reflect the freshness and high quality of the merchandise offered.” Evans added, “Looking forward to the fall, we are excited to offer more early American glass from the Bennington Museum, as well as Part Four of the Routson collection, so we anticipate another strong sale in November.”
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. The firm is currently accepting consignments for upcoming auctions. It is currently working on its Americana auction, August 25-27, which will feature a single-owner collection from North Carolina, rich in period furniture, historical flasks, bottles and folk art, as well as a large collection from Ohio.
For additional information, www.jeffreysevans.com or 540-434-3939.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm