More than 100 people were in house for Cowan’s spring Americana fine and decorative art on March 15. The auction realized $702,629 in total sales with 440 successful bidders on 551 lots.
The biggest surprise of the auction came with the sale of an English Regency mahogany wall clock that was estimated to sell for $4/6,000. The clock fetched $34,500 and became the highest selling item of the auction. Although the engraving on the clock face attributed the clock to Thomas Mudge, there was dispute over his hand in the piece. Mudge died in 1790, and the clock was most likely made after 1800. Bidders, however, chose to go after the piece and did so aggressively.
A marble bust of prominent Cincinnati businessman Job Nash by Preston Powers was on the auction block during the sale. Powers executed the bust in 1884 in Florence for Nash, who then gifted it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1892. Nash was active in the tobacco and liquor trade. The bust sold for $5,100.
Decorative pieces brought in strong results. An Orchestrion figure of a female bandleader shocked the audience when it sold for $25,300. The 5-foot-tall figure almost tripled its preauction estimate. Considering that the figure was made at the very end of the Nineteenth Century, the final price can be attributed to the condition and the fact that the mechanism that controls the moveable arms and legs is still intact. Another figure of interest on the auction block was a cigar store Indian princess that sold for $14,950.
Silver shined, receiving strong interest from bidders during the sale, 12 sterling “Castles” pattern service dinner plates were originally estimated to sell for $4/6,000 and actually hammered in at $22,800. A pair of sterling “Castles” pattern tazzas doubled their preauction estimates and sold for $2,760. Both sets were marked and retailed by the Loring Andrews Company of Cincinnati.
Pieces from Kentucky and Tennessee garnered much attention, including a Tennessee Federal looking glass that sold for $4,313. Four Tennessee brace back oak Windsor chairs had estimates of $2,5/3,500 and fetched $6,325. A cherry three-drawer stand from Woodford County, Ky., brought $6,000.
Prices reported include the 15 percent buyer’s premium. The summer Americana fine and decorative art auction is slated for June. For information, 513-871-1670 or www.cowanauctions.com .