Review by Carly Timpson; Photos Courtesy Pook & Pook
DOWNINGTOWN, PENN. — Pook & Pook’s first sale of 2024, the two-day Americana & International Auction, closed on January 19 after presenting more than 730 lots in total. With a 97 percent sell-through rate, the sale achieved $1,498,027, exceeding the sale’s high estimate by more than $400,000. Pook & Pook’s vice president, Jamie Shearer said, “Once again Pook and Pook flexed its muscles in the auction world of folk art and Americana. Overall expectations were exceeded throughout many collecting fields, as they always seem to draw a very diverse bidding clientele.”
On the first day of the auction, January 18, a sparkling sapphire necklace claimed the top spot and no other lots could unseat it. Commanding $68,750, the Belle Époque (1890-1915) sapphire and diamond necklace was “One of the most beautiful pieces of jewelry we have ever sold,” according to Pook & Pook. The 18K gold chandelier-style necklace had floral, bow and garland motifs set with diamonds and eight pear-cut sapphire pendants.
Finishing behind the jewels was an exceptionally rare giraffe carousel figure, circa 1900-05. The carved wood giraffe was from the workshop of Charles Looff, Riverside, R.I., and retained its historic, possibly original painted surface. At 70½ inches tall, this piece is heading from one collection to another for $45,000. The same Pennsylvania collector consigned a few other carousel figures, including a 61-inch-tall goat that made $12,500, a running stag that finished at $8,125 and a horse that earned $4,500.
Of the more than 30 lots of early American glass, a New York State glass olive-yellow lily pad sugar bowl came out on top. From a New Jersey collection, this circa 1840 rare bowl and cover was sold with a 1946 receipt from McKearins Antiques, Hoosick Falls, N.Y., that described the piece as “one of the rarest sugar bowls known.” The possibly Redwood or Lockport Glass Works bowl approached its high estimate and was sold to an Ohio collector for $23,750. A visually similar piece, an olive-yellow salt cellar attributed to Lancaster Glass Works, circa mid-Nineteenth Century, also came from the same New Jersey collection. This salt cellar is also considered to be rare and was won at $18,750 by a phone bid from a N.J., collector.
Earning $20,000 was a Nineteenth Century aqua pattern-molded sugar bowl with cover. Another impressive glass lot was a rare New York lily pad compote, possibly by Redford Glass Works. This circa 1840 dish was a light aqua color and had both type II and type III lily pad designs — one of the rarest forms of lily pad glass. The 5½ by 7½ compote made $11,250 and will be going to New England with a buyer who was new to Pook & Pook.
Pook & Pook also saw successes in the furniture category. A Massachusetts Pilgrim Century joined oak chest, circa 1655-90, finished as the top lot of the second day and its price tied for the top furniture lot overall. Thanks in part to the piece’s impeccable provenance, the chest, with a lift lid and single bottom drawer, sold to a trade buyer for $22,500. Once exhibited at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (1971-72), the chest’s previous owners include Luke Vincent Lockwood, Dwight Blaney, Israel Sack, William Coburn and the most recent New York collector. The chest was also illustrated in two of Wallace Nutting’s books, Treasury, Vol I, and Furniture of the Pilgrim Century.
A circa 1830 paint-decorated pine corner cupboard from the Jacob Hoestedler family of Pennsylvania was the leading furniture lot from the first day. Also achieving $22,500, the two-piece cupboard was probably made in Harleysville, Lower Salford Township, Penn. The top half has four shelves behind glass double doors, while the bottom consists of a single drawer and more shelving storage behind two raised panel doors. A similar example is in the Goschenhoppen Folklife Museum, Green Lane, Penn. A long-time collector will be adding this to their collection.
Other noteworthy pieces included a Lancaster County Chippendale walnut schrank and a Northeast shoe foot table, both of which earned $16,250. The late Eighteenth Century schrank wardrobe had a possibly unique pediment with a double broken arch design. Measuring 94 inches tall and 84 inches wide, the wardrobe had five drawers beneath side-by-side double-door compartments. It sold to a Pennsylvania collector. The shoe foot table, circa 1730, came from a New Jersey collection but did not have much recorded history. It was likely made in New York or New England and was sold to the trade.
Crossing the block at $12,500 was a painted poplar open pewter cupboard from a Pennsylvania maker and a corresponding expert opinion from antique furniture consultant Alan Miller. In two pieces, the upper section of the circa 1760 cupboard was decorated with a cove cornice and scalloped sides. In addition to typical shelving, the top piece also included a functional plate rail and spoon rack. The base of the cupboard, supported by dovetailed straight bracket feet, had two drawers above double raised panel doors. From a St Louis, Mo., collector, this cupboard was bought by Pennsylvania dealer Greg Kramer, who was an active bidder and buyer throughout the sale.
While glass and furniture seemed to lead the sale, some paintings found success as well. A folk portrait of three children attributed to Joseph Goodhue Chandler was the star of this category. The subjects in this circa 1835 painting are children of the Slater family from Webster, Mass. In 1980, the work was exhibited at the Holyoke Museum as part of “A Folk Art Pilgrimage.” Unsigned and untitled, the portrait found a buyer at $17,500. The painting was consigned by a long-time Pook & Pook client and was sold to a trade buyer.
Interestingly, the second-best result of a painting was that of another young child. This Frances Tipton Hunter watercolor and gouache illustration of a baby and puppy outperformed its estimate of $500-$1,000. After a tight battle between two bidders, the painting was claimed by a Florida museum for $14,080.
A pair of coordinated Continental oil portraits rounded out the top 16 lots. Signed “Cooper,” the portraits depicted a man and a woman, both in ornate dress and against a light, clouded background. The subjects are seated in opposite directions, though their faces are turned so they can be displayed as if they are looking in the same direction. Though unconfirmed, the subjects bear resemblance to King William III (r 1689-1702) and Queen Mary II (r 1689-1694) who were the only joint sovereigns of England. The set of golden framed portraits sold to an Ohio collector for $11,250 against an estimated $400/700.
Standing out as one of the more unique lots compared to the other top performances was an Eighteenth Century cast iron fireback that came from a New Jersey collection. Stretching well beyond its estimated range of $800-$1,200, the fireback realized $13,750. The design appears to depict a lion and a horse flanking a family crest with illegible text scrolled beneath. Despite expected wear from use in the fireplace, the piece was in good condition and was sold to a trade buyer.
According to Shearer, another exceptional sale was that of a Pennsylvania carved maple butter print with a double-headed eagle design. Shearer said, “I think it is a new auction record for a butter print. It sold to a Pennsylvania collector who was in the room, underbid by an absentee bid from a North Carolina collector.” The 5-inch-diameter print, inscribed “R.M.” came from a St Louis, Mo., collection and sold for $8,750 against the estimated $800-$1,200.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. Pook & Pook is auctioning the collection of Joseph Kindig Jr on February 8-9. For information, 610-269-4040 or www.pookandpook.com.