Published: July 6, 2018
MOUNT CRAWFORD, VA. – The Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates June 22-23 Americana and fine antiques auction was a successful event and produced robust prices, along with a few surprises, in multiple categories. The two-day format consisted of 1,210 lots, much of which was fresh to the market, and in several cases, had descended directly in the families of the original owners. Bidding was intense throughout each day with more than 8,900 registered bidders from 26 countries participating in house and online.
Session I on Friday was devoted exclusively to the dispersal of the extensive personal research library of the late Ivor Noël Hume (1927-2017), distinguished scholar, author and former director of the department of archaeological research at Colonial Williamsburg. With volumes ranging from the Seventeenth to Twenty-first Centuries, the Hume collection is believed to have been one of the finest archaeological research libraries ever assembled. The large selection of obscure and highly specialized publications offered in the sale engendered broad interest from institutions and individuals alike, both internationally and from the United States, with many of the latter in search of a small memento from the collection of a seminal figure in the study of early American material culture. The top lot of the Hume collection was Joseph Glanvill’s, A Blow at Modern Sadducism in Some Philosophical Considerations About Witchcraft. And the Relation of the Famed Disturbance at the House of M. Mompesson, with Reflections on Drollery, and Atheisme, 1668, which went to an institutional buyer for $1,111.
Session II on Saturday consisted of the firm’s usual diverse selection of Americana and fine antiques, including an important private collection of American flags and political textiles that produced strong results, with several categories demonstrating signs of vigor in what can be an unpredictable market. The top lot for the weekend was a rare antislavery flag banner that was flown at an 1861 Abolitionist convention in Rochester, N.Y. At $46,800, the iconic object sparked significant and wide-ranging interest, and after heated bidding, went on the phone to dealer Jeff Bridgman, who was very excited to finally acquire this historic textile that he had been chasing for nearly two decades. Other noteworthy flag offerings from the featured private collection included a fine Henry Clay 1844 campaign flag banner at $26,910 and a hand-sewn 17-star national flag with a War of 1812 history at $23,400.
Session II also featured a strong selection of American furniture and folk art, which included a number of Shenandoah Valley and other Southern objects. The most hotly contested item in these categories was a fine New Market, Va., Stirewalt family paint-decorated yellow pine diminutive box. Descended directly in the consignor’s family and fresh to the market, the petite form, under heavy bidding, soared past its estimate range to land at $38,025. Another significant Southern object to cross the block over the weekend was a Piedmont North Carolina paint-decorated yellow pine jelly cupboard. Fresh to the market with family history, the untouched cupboard brought $10,530 from a major East Coast dealer. Other folk art forms performed equally well, most notably a Northwest Coast Haida carved and painted cedar totem pole of diminutive size.
Following the same fresh-from-the-family theme, the highly decorated piece had been acquired by Massachusetts Senator Marcus Allen Coolidge (1865-1947) on a 1920 trip to Alaska and had since descended directly in the family to the present consignor. The most widely viewed item in the entire auction, the rare Native American object shattered its estimate range many times over to finish at $19,890. A small selection of rare clocks also performed well in the sale, particularly a fine Joseph Ives (American, 1782-1862) mahogany and tiger maple mirror, or “looking glass,” wall clock. Retaining an early surface, the commanding timepiece captivated several phone and internet bidders, who pushed it all the way to $17,550, possibly a record for the form.
Saturday’s session also featured an excellent selection of more than 100 antiquarian maps and prints deaccessioned by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, with proceeds to benefit the collections and acquisitions funds, many examples from the William C. Wooldridge collection, published in Mapping Virginia: From the Age of Exploration to the Civil War. The top lot from the map offerings was a so-called “Beaver Map” depicting eastern North America, circa 1715, by Herman Moll (British, died 1732). Despite condition issues, the rare cartographic work with pictorial detail sold for $6,435.
After the sale, company president and auctioneer Jeffrey S. Evans commented, “This sale generated robust interest across the board from bidders near and far. Our in-house crowd was strong, resulting in over 160 bid numbers being issued to real bodies, and we saw a large percentage of items walk out the door on sale day! The overall excitement and strong sales results reflect the freshness and high quality of the merchandise offered. In addition, the auction was 98.5 percent unreserved, so the results are a true and honest gauge of the current market.” Evans added, “We already have a number of exciting consignments in house for our next Americana auction, including a fine selection of late Eighteenth/early Nineteen Century Staffordshire figures deaccessioned by Colonial Williamsburg, Shenandoah Valley long rifles from a Virginia Institution and several rare quilts from the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts. Combined with the highly anticipated auction of the Alvina Breckel estate collection of early American glass, our November 8-10 auction promises to be a spectacular event.”
The firm is currently accepting consignments for their fall Americana and fine & decorative arts auctions. Email email@example.com for a free consultation.
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