Published: April 13, 2004
The spring antiques sale conducted by Pook & Pook, Inc, on March 20 grossed more than $2.4 million, with 96 percent of the 649 lots selling. Included were lots from the direct descendants of John Green of Philadelphia, captain of The Empress of China, plus various other estates.
At the start of the sale there was standing room only, and the bank of seven phones was active immediately as more than 25 lots of handwoven carpets came to the block. A fine room-size Serapi, circa 1900, flew to the phones at more than twice its low $3,000 estimate. A room-size Kandahar, circa 1950, doubled its $2,000 low estimate.
The highlight of the sale, depicted on the sales catalog cover, was the ten-foot-high Philadelphia Chippendale mahogany tall-case clock, circa 1775, with brass works inscribed “David Paterson, Sunderland.” The bonnet had to be seen to appreciate why the bidding by the five phones plus the gallery took the final price to $159,000 against a modest high estimate of $70,000. During the sale, Ron Pook commented, “We have four or five sources here. It’s so wonderful when you get rdf_Descriptions that have never been out of the family. We have a fraktur. We have the Green family here and a West Chester estate. Great objects you just don’t see. And they come to light. It’s the first time you ever saw them.”
Other lots of “brown wood,” both late Eighteenth and ear-ly Nineteenth Century, were many and scattered throughout the sale. The second highest lot of the sale was a Delaware Valley Queen Anne tiger maple highboy, circa 1769, with provenance of the Howell family. It sold to the most persistent of the seven phones at $142,500 against an estimate of $40/60,000.
A Pennsylvania two-piece corner cupboard, circa 1800, made $10, 925. A Dutch walnut cupboard, circa 1810, with two glazed doors brought $13,800. Chippendale tea tables in mahogany, circa 1775, always sell well.
A fine New York Federal mahogany sideboard, circa 1790, sold once by Israel Sack, had a run to $14,000. The gallery outbid the phones for the painted pine accountant’s desk, dated 1841, at $18,400. Including two armchairs, circa 1825, a set of eight fancy dining chairs made $4,140. A second set of four Philadelphia bow back side chairs made its low $3,000 estimate. Selling to one of two phones, a Federal mahogany veneer breakfront, circa 1840, tripled its low $4,000 estimate.
“I thought the bidding was healthy and fair,” said dealer David Wheatcroft, Westborough, Mass. “I have seen the horse and rider before but not by that [Jacob Leith] artist.” Wheatcroft outbid the phones for both the horse with rider fraktur and a dog fraktur (“Mastiff-AD 1822”). The horse and rider vaulted high above its $3/5,000 estimate to $32,200. The Mastiff ran to $23,000, against a high $1,500 estimate. But the 9- by 15-inch fraktur birth record signed “Charles F. Munch AD 1822,” with a $20,000 low estimate, was one of the few lots that did not sell.
With a central star pattern and an American flag, circa 1860, a red, white and blue pieced Civil War quilt carried a high $2,500 estimate. While the gallery watched and listened to the contest, the prize sold to the most persistent of the seven phone bidders for $11,500.
Among the more than 60 known and lesser-known artists represented, about a third of the oils and watercolors had strong interest from the phone bank and/or the gallery. The C.E. Burchfield (American, 1893-1967), watercolor landscape, 17- by 21-inch had interest, selling for $21,050 against a high $9,000 estimate. The oil on ivory miniature portrait of Hester Green, wife of Captain John Green. Jr, by James Peale (American, 1749-1831), was a buy at $27,600.
A watercolor landscape by J.F. Cropsey, dated 1892, made $17,250. Peter Hurd painted a fine 21- by 26-inch oil on panel horse portrait that made its low $8,000. A group of ten Currier & Ives hand-colored lithographs (all from the Dittmar collection) ranged from $1,000 to $1,840 for the “Life of a Fireman.” A still life with ewer and fruit, 36 by 27 inches, by Milne Ramsey sold within its $15/20,000 estimate.
It took six phone lines to handle the aggressive bidding for the fabulous George III gilded 54-inch bird’s-eye mirror, circa 1790. The spread-eagle crest, plus the Thomas Fenhan label, most likely caused it to soar to $25,300.
A small selection of antique silver crossed the block. A uniquely designed George Sharp gilt pierced scoop serving fork with a small turtle appliqué went to the phones at a deserving eight times its low $300 estimate. The gallery outbid the phones for the four et al serving spoons by Joseph Richardson, Jr. The Peter and Ann Bateman teapot, circa 1790, was a buy at $1,300.
Under miscellaneous, a bronze peace medal necklace, dated 1871 and with pipe beads, had the attention of the two phones plus the gallery, and went to $345, the phone winning. With 250 animals and human figures, the Noah’s Ark left the harbor at $14,950. The 86-inch narwhal (an arctic whale) tusks, one of two offered, made a tad above its high estimate of $8,000. The American polychromed scrimshaw whale’s tooth, Nineteenth Century, depicting a seaport and three ships sailed off at $7,475.
Prices reported include the 15 percent buyer’s premium.
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