By Jackie Sideli
BARNSTABLE, MASS. – Saturday, August 11 was a very good day for the Snow sale that the auctioneer held at Cape Cod Community College. About an hour before the sale began, the spacious hall was already full of customers, both retail and dealers. This is the busy season on the Cape, so driving to the sale was a challenge, but all the vacationers did make for a very well attended sale for Snow.
Stephen Snow literally grew up in the antiques business. His father ran the well-known firm of Kenneth Snow and Sons in Newburyport, Mass. and Snow worked with his father until the mid-80s when he moved to Cape Cod. He held his first sale in 1989, and has been holding several sales annually since that time. Snow appraises contents of homes on the Cape much of the year, and the material that surfaces at his auctions comes from local estates.
This was really a “mixed bag” auction, with interesting things from many different categories. There was a collection of 31 Hummel figures that were interspersed throughout the sale. Among these was the “Letter to Santa” Hummel figure #340 that sold for $88. Hummel figure #306 “little bookkeeper” brought $82.50. A Hummel candlestick figure #388 sold for $93.50.
Well known antique dealers Charles and Barbara Adams went home with many rdf_Descriptions. For $44, the Adames bought a nearly square late Nineteenth Century hand-woven rag rug, in mellow colors, measuring 39 by 44 inches. They also purchased a well-executed watercolor, measuring 11 by 15 inches, of a canine, signed “George S. Waters, 1931” for $192.50. The Adames also went home with an early wrought-iron peel with a scrolled end handle for $60.50.
Among the country furniture offerings at the sale was the Nineteenth Century grained painted blanket chest, with an interior till compartment and bracket feet that sold for $192.50 to the floor. A Nineteenth Century foot bench in old patina sold to a buyer at the sale for $132. A very good painted wood Lapstrake motor boat half hull measuring 46½ inches brought $247.50 to a customer at the sale. One of two Nineteenth Century American country step-back cupboards was the nicely proportioned red-stained pine and poplar piece, with glazed doors, shelved interior and one drawer over paneled doors that brought $1,100.
Some important paintings surfaced at the sale. A Martha Cahoon (American, 1905-1999) oil on masonite painting of a “River Landscape,” with a girl in a red dress, holding a bird and measuring 10 by 8 inches, was one of the top lots of the sale. After very intense competition on the floor, the painting sold to a customer at the sale for $2,200.
Gallery owner Sue Carstensen who has run Birdsey on the Cape in Osterville for 21 years, was in the midst of a family reunion at a nearby Pizzeria, when she received a call that there were some interesting paintings at the Snow sale. Carstensen left her family and pizza on the table and raced over to the sale where she purchased a Twentieth Century Richard Sparre oil on canvas of a room interior with Cahoon themes, measuring 13 by 24 inches. The painting opened at $1,000 and ultimately sold for $2,090. Carstensen also purchased a marine painting by artist Charles F. Kenney entitled “The Wreck of the Bark Wanderer on Cuttyhunk,” for $605.
One of several Vern Broe paintings which surfaced at the sale was the oil on board entitled “Sail Boats On a Bay under Cloudy Skies” measuring 11 by 16 inches. It sold for $660. Another Charles Kenney oil on masonite that surfaced at the sale was the “Bark Wanderer in Heavy Seas off a Shore,” measuring 18 by 24 inches, going for $770. A Charles Barnard watercolor depicting two men in a dory pulling a trap, sold for $165.
Gary Ensecki from Falmouth, Mass. bought the late Nineteenth Century Doulton Lambeth stoneware ewer with the incised herd of deer on the body for $522.50. A very stylish Rococo-style metal looking glass with a winged cherub, scrolled leaves, flowering vines and two candle arms, opened at $300 and sold for $385 to a left bid. A vivid red Chinese Nineteenth Century lacquered silk chest, decorated with golden foo dogs and clouds with brass hardware brought $275 from the floor. A colorful early Nineteenth Century French Napoleonic War carved ivory box, incised with polychrome flowers and serpentine vines brought $220.
Snow had gathered up much fine jewelry from several local estates that he offered at his sale. A 14-karat gold, diamond and sapphire lady’s ring brought $275 from the floor. An interesting German sterling, marcasite and green enameled bracelet sold for $121. A collection of five Victorian ladies’ pins: opals, diamonds and a bar pin saw plenty of floor action before reaching its sale price of $550.
Other rdf_Descriptions of interest included an early Twentieth Century green-painted child’s wicker rocker, in very good condition. It sold for $99 to a buyer at the sale. Among the many toys offered was the German “Schuco” spring-wind car and mouse with balloon, “Sonny 2005,” which brought $121 to the floor. I have always liked Victorian cottage furniture and the Snow sale had one very interesting piece: the Victorian grain-painted commode, that opened at $100 and sold for $302.50 on the floor.
Some period fireplace accessories surfaced at Snow’s summer sale. A pair of American brass ball top andirons, circa 1825, brought $192.50. An elegant Nineteenth Century brass fender with pierced sides on paw feet sold for $192.50. A period brass cauldron with a wrought iron handle sold for $22. Furniture at the sale included a Federal cherry one-drawer stand on square tapered legs, circa 1800, that sold for $302.50. An American grain-painted blanket chest from the Nineteenth Century with bracket feet brought $192.50. An interesting Aesthetic Movement carved mahogany settle bench, circa 1890, with two carved panel back with scrolled foliate, above a lift seat with turret corners on turned legs sold for $357.50. The hammer price for a nicely proportioned Victorian walnut marble-top four-drawer chest was $137.50.
After the sale Stephen Snow reported that he was quite happy with the sale. “Good things did well,” said Snow. “Prices were all across the board.” The auction hall was filled to capacity at the beginning of the sale and indeed, there was “standing room only” with potential buyers sitting on the bleachers in the gymnasium. By the end of the sale the crowd had thinned somewhat, predictably. Still, prices remained steady until the end of the auction, with the serious customers remaining until the very end.
All prices cited are hammer prices.