Published: May 10, 2011
Wallpaper boxes and rye straw baskets were the order of the evening at Pook & Pook, Inc on April 15 at the sale of the Elgin Collection. With 600 registered bidders, many in the audience, the showroom was hopping for the 208 lots on offer. When all was said and done, the total achieved was well over double the high estimate, reaching a healthy $799,778.
Eugene and Dorothy Elgin were well-known discerning collectors of Pennsylvania German folk art. Almost everything in their collection came from country auctions or private homes in York, Adams and Cumberland counties. They bought excellent examples in exceptional condition. Their interests included furniture, redware, decorated tole, rye straw baskets and a variety of other folk art items.
The sale started off on good footing with some solid prices, including a rare Chester County diminutive walnut linen cupboard, which went for $28,440, and a colorful hooked rug with hearts and potted flowers that sold for $10,073. Other highlights included two chip-carved house banks for $3,318, a nest of three rye straw baskets for $5,688, a bright American hooked rug with two stags beneath a stylized floral tree soared over the estimate to reach $6,517, and two appealing rugs with a cat theme brought $4,740 and $5,925, respectively. Continuing with the cat motif, two fine seated chalkware cats, made by the same hand, held the attention of bidders †the taller bringing $20,145 and the smaller, $7,702.
Most of the baskets were in perfect or near perfect condition: a massive rye straw example with a domed lid did well at $8,887, and an openwork basket achieved $5,214.
“Cora’s Bank,” a fine stoneware bank dated 1874, attributed to Peter Hermann of Baltimore, with double-sided cobalt floral decoration was bid competitively to $20,145.
One of the highlights of the sale was an excellent tole decorated tray with an octagonal crystallized center panel in pristine condition, which, after much active bidding ended up at $42,660. A rare red tin tole lighthouse coffeepot with bold foliate and fruit decoration brought $18,960.
A very clean walnut Dutch cupboard interested many buyers and went to $22,515; a Lancaster County painted poplar seed box achieved $23,700.
A stunning group of small Pennsylvania wallpaper boxes were offered. Having rich blue and orange designs, they ranged in sizes from 1½ to 4¼ inches high. To the amazement and delight of the crowd, they soared to prices ranging from $592 to $8,887, with many over the $5,000 range.
A Simmons parrot with polychrome decorated surface was estimated at $4/6,000 but ended up at $26,070; a Schimmel painted rooster brought almost three times its high estimate, selling for $14,220; and an Albert Abelt rooster illustrated in Just for Nice by Richard S. Machmer did well when it realized $3,792.
Interest in works on paper was high. A vibrant fraktur by Adam Wertz brought $18,960, a small Jacob Maentel portrait of a young woman realized $15,405, and a watercolor of a peacock by the “Engraver Artist” realized $14,220. Other items included an Anthony Bacher sugar bowl, which rose to $6,517, a cast iron giraffe-form doorstop brought an amazing $15,405, a miniature pine firkin sold at $4,266, and a slip decorated redware creamer sold at $5,925.
All prices given include the buyer’s premium.
For information, 610-269-4040 or www.pookandpook.com .
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