Published: December 3, 2019
Review and Onsite Photos by Tania Kirkman, Additional Photos Courtesy Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates
MOUNT CRAWFORD, VA. – Americana was strong in the Shenandoah Valley at Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates’ 37th semi-annual Americana auction that took place November 15-16. The sale garnered outstanding results across the board and was well-attended by bidders both in-house and online.
The much-anticipated auction was filled with fresh-to-the-market property and quality items, many having been held in top-notch collections, with some pieces not hitting the market for decades. With 1,734 lots in the two-day sale, the gallery was bustling as registered bidders numbered into the thousands, making competition fierce. The in-house crowd grew to standing room only as enthusiastic bidders sought to attain property. Bidding strength was significant, and success was seen across all categories in the sale.
Vice president and department head of Americana, fine and decorative arts, Will Kimbrough, commenting on the abundant quality of folk art in the sale, was “pleased to offer property from long time collectors who bought well; some items have been held privately for 30, 40 and 50 years or more.”
The star lot in sale was a pair of children’s folk art portraits by American painter Sturtevant J. Hamblin, circa 1830. An example characteristic of his portraits during this period, the pair received a great amount of presale interest at their $30/50,000 estimate. The paintings had been in the private collection of Dr George A. and Mary Jane Haas of Alexandria, Va., since their purchase from Gilpin House Antiques in 1976. Auction day brought competitive bidding between online and telephone bidders, ultimately driving the final price to $64,350 and selling to a private collector on the phone.
Other artwork in the sale featured a pencil and charcoal profile portrait of a girl attributed to Charles Burton (active 1800-1842) that sold for $22,230, well above its $2/3,000 auction estimate; an oil on canvas view of New York harbor by Samuel Colman (1832-1920) for $8,190; another New York harbor view by Edward Moran (1829-1901) at $6,435; and a folk art miniature portrait of a woman, circa 1828, by William D. Parisen for $4,972.
Furniture and decorations drew interest and excitement from a wide variety of buyers and hailed from various noteworthy collections. A mid-Nineteenth Century Virginia walnut and punched-tin paneled sideboard from the Vogel collection of Reston, Va., sold well beyond its $3/5,000 estimate at $9,360. American silver from the estate of Commander Buryl and Nelwyn Kay of McLean, Va., featured a mid-Eighteenth Century colonial-era sauceboat by Jewish silversmith Myer Myers of New York City, which sold for $16,380; and an Eighteenth/Nineteenth Century silver cream pot by Paul Revere Jr of Massachusetts brought $12,870.
One object that generated considerable interest was a Native American / Plains Indian beaded and quilled pipe bag, circa 1870. With countless presale inquiries, the bag exceeded its $3/500 estimate, selling at $23,400; solidifying it as one of the highest priced pieces in the auction.
Items with local interest and those originating from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia achieved great overall results during this sale. A hand painted and stencil decorated yellow pine diminutive box, circa 1840, attributed to the Stirewalt family of New Market, Va., closed at $38,025; an early Nineteenth Century inlaid tall case clock by Jacob Fry of Woodstock, Va., brought $14,040; and an Eighteenth/Nineteenth Century inlaid walnut hanging spice box more than doubled its high estimate when it went out at $12,870. A Shenandoah Valley wedding fable cast iron stove plate, circa 1768, was a crowd favorite and sold for $4,972, far surpassing its $4/600 estimate.
Other local highlights included a Rupp family archive of antique photographs and documentation that brought $8,775, exceeding the $1/2,000 estimate; a Spitzer family gunsmithing ephemera archive made $7,020; equally, a Spitzer Shop Kentucky-style long rifle, circa 1820, New Market, Va., topped off at $7,020; a Shenandoah Valley cobalt-decorated salt-glazed stoneware jar, circa 1830-40, finished for $5,557; and an important 1796 abolitionist volume by St George Tucker, “A Dissertation on Slavery: With a Proposal for the Gradual Abolition of It, in the State of Virginia,” found a buyer at $4,680.
Other folk art included an 1850s Maryland friendship album applique and pieced quilt that was sewn up at $5,850; a Nineteenth Century folk art carved violin depicting the head of Jenny Lind sold to the tune of $4,095; an Odd Fellows carved and painted hand-form ceremonial staff drew the line at $2,600; and a turned and painted barber’s pole was hung up at $1,989. A western Pennsylvania salt-glazed and stenciled stoneware jar, and an English slip-decorated redware loaf pan each sold respectively for $5,557.
The sale also featured a fine selection of more than 40 American samplers and memorial needlework pictures from the Dallas, Texas, collection of Helen Sutton and others. Top lots included a circa 1830 Massachusetts silk-embroidered family memorial for $5,850; a circa 1832 mourning picture depicting a willow and urn from the area of Salem/Beverly, Mass., at $3,393; and a New Hampshire or Maine pictorial needlework sampler wrought by Mary Carr, circa 1803, that finished at $5,850.
The highest selling American glass item was a circa 1860 cut-glass railroad presentation compote depicting an engraved steam train, probably by C. Dorflinger. With a $4/6,000 estimate, and crossover collecting interest, the compote exceeded expectations and sold for $9,360 to a private Philadelphia collector bidding on the phone.
Several early American free-blown glass fluid lamps also topped the glass category, including a circa 1825-30 Boston & Sandwich Glass Co., saucer-base lamp that doubled its high estimate when it sold for $6,435; an opalescent sparking lamp, circa 1810-30, lit up to $4,680; an elongated loop hand lamp in brilliant teal by the Boston & Sandwich Glass Co., circa 1840-60, sold for $3,393; and a 12-panel font standing lamp by Patrick F. Slane’s glass works, circa 1840-44, which brought $3,276. A marked J&C Ritchie Lacy glass window panel depicting a side-wheel steamboat sailed across the block for $4,095.
The glass and ceramics category saw a few surprises, including an English black Americana transfer-printed ceramic pitcher, circa 1870, which surpassed its estimate of $1/200 when it sold for $3,276; a group of two English spatter and sponge decorated ceramic items sold at $2,500 on an $80-$120 estimate; and a late Eighteenth Century amethyst blown glass ‘Stiegel-type’ bride’s or drug bottle with hand painted deer, inscription and floral decoration with an $80/120 estimate brought $1,755.
All prices reported include buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house.
Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates is at 2177 Green Valley Lane.
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