Published: December 24, 2001
By JMW Fletcher
LUDWIGS CORNER, PENN. – A cataloged auction featuring fine art, textiles and period furniture was held on November 30 and December 1 by Pook & Pook Auctions. Of the featured 636 lots offered – plus 30-odd addenda – a group of lots was sold for the Benefit of Clividen of the National Trust and other collections.
The lead lots in the paintings category sold during the Saturday morning sale, were a pair of small, similar still lifes by John Frederick Peto (American 1854-1907). Illustrated on the front cover of the catalog, the two oil on board paintings of books, candlesticks, a pipe and a canister carried a most modest estimate of $12/18,000.
Two phone bidders dominated the attention of auctioneer James Gibson. The first phone won the nine and a quarter by six and a half inch still life for $40,000; the second phone won the six and three-eighths by nine and three-eighths inch still life for $27,500.
Of the other canvas lots, an E.D. Lewis (American-1835-1910) river landscape made $4,100. A good small G. Cope (American – 1855-1929) brought $3,500, (est $2,500/3,500). An A. de Service Espoy (American-1869-1952) was a buy at $4,200, (est $4/ 5,000).
Carrying a modest estimate of $1/1,500, a fine C.M. Young (American, 1869-1964) 18 by 23 inch painting, with help from the two phones, brought a deserving $6,500. A Fraktur, dated 1812, by J.A. Eyers (7 by 6 inches) watercolor on paper brought $6,000 (est $3,5/4,500). Depicting a man on horseback, a Pennsylvania watercolor on laid paper (15 by 13 inches) rode off at $3,100, (est $8/1,200).
On the long addendum sheet, listed as #500-A, was a superb Philadelphia Chippendale Gostlowe-type figured mahogany tall (very tall) chest-on-chest, circa 1775. The upper section had a molded broken arch bonnet with three short drawers over two short drawers and three long drawers. This rested on a lower section with three long drawers. Ron Pook included the lot as an addendum because “the estate wanted it sold – right away.”
The addendum sheet showed a teaser estimate of $30/50,000 for the chest-on-chest. The gallery opened the bidding at $20,000. But at $40,000 Gibson began to play the three standing phones, one against the other. It was the most persistent and still anonymous of the three phone bidders, that made the prize the top lot of the sale – a realistic $170,000.
Among the plethora of antique furniture lots was a pair of George III inlaid mahogany card tables, circa 1790. Four active standing phones vied for the pair. And the last standing one, won the D-shaped tables at double the high $9,000 estimate. A Reading, Pa. walnut tall-case clock, circa 1810, enclosing an eight-day works with painted, moon-phase dial signed “Daniel Oyster, Reading,” made a tad below its low $8,000 estimate.
A Pennsylvania-decorated pine dower chest, circa 1800, signed W. Clewell, (sans feet) sold a bid above its low $4,000 estimate. Another addendum lot was a good set of eight bench-made Chippendale-style chairs that was actively sought after to $4,600 (est $2 /3,000).
Though placed eighth from last, of the 275 lots sold Friday evening, two knowledgeable bidders had stayed and actively fought for the New England Chippendale cherry slant front desk, circa 1775. The hammer fell with a final bid of $8,500 (est $2,5/3,500).
Within the 30 plus lots of hand-woven carpets that opened the Friday evening sale was a gem – a real masterpiece of the weaving art. Featured on the back cover of the catalogue, a 11’10” by 9’9″ circa 1900 Heriz was abruptly catalogued as, “With overall stylized floral motifs on an ivory ground.” When brought to the floor the carpet flew far, far above its high estimate of $12,000 to a reasonable $47,500. An interesting Karachov Kazak 8’7″ by 5’11,” with repairs, sold a tad above its $5,000 high estimate.
Auctions are fun. Fun to attend, fun to write about. Watching lot #126 go under the hammer was a joy. With a very reasonable estimate of $700/900, the lot was adequately cataloged as a “Carved and polychromed miniature barber pole, circa 1880, with red, blue and white painted surface, 15 inches high, (minor loss).” The bidding clipped along, with help from a phone participant, to an astounding $6,100. Unfortunately, the anonymous consignor was not available for comment.
A blue spatter platter depicting a blue, red and green parrot – flew to $3,800. ($8/1,000). Detailing a yellow rooster with a blue wing and red tail, a blue spatter pitcher, circa 1830, and a Leeds peafowl plate flew even higher and doubled its low $2,000 estimate. Attributed to John Nels, a Pennsylvania wheel-thrown, slip-decorated, redware 14-inch bowl dated 1772 (Prov. J. Kindig, Jr) brought $3,750 against a high estimate of $2,500.
All prices listed do not reflect the 15 percent buyer’s premium.
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