Published: March 6, 2007
On a cold and windy winter Sunday morning, January 28, there was plenty of action at the Steenburgh Auctioneers sale in Haverhill’s Alumni Hall. More than 300 lots were sold in approximately three hours by the Steenburgh family with father, Archie, and son, Joshua, doing the calling, while Martha, wife and mother, was there as scribe and helping to push the lots through.
Offering a wide assortment of household and personal antique goods from the Adelson Collection of Pomfret, Vt., and other estates from northern New Hampshire and even a large collection of samplers from Long Island, the sale moved briskly and with strong bids from dealers, collectors and even another auctioneer, Dick Withington.
In a postsale interview, Archie Steenburgh said he was “very pleased with the results. The values were excellent with pretty aggressive bidding from many different buyers. That was, I think, because many of the items were very good Americana.” He added, “It was nice to see brown furniture selling well again.”
Shown in the sales advertising flyer and newspaper ads was a set of four large portrait tie backs, which got the morning started. Bidding was vigorous, with several in the hall holding up their cards until the final hammering down at $660. A piece from a large stoneware collection followed; it was a six gallon crock with an eagle design stenciled on the side selling for $137.
Next was an early slant front desk, which Archie described as being from New England, circa 1800 or earlier, in maple and cherry with some pine under wood. This sold for $2,420, which, while not a record, was a harbinger of good furniture sales to come.
A few less notable items followed, including a large collection of trade cards for $165, then a two-gallon stoneware jug, which went out at $77. But after those lots, the sale heated up an otherwise cold New Hampshire morning.
An early hardwood veneer flip top card table, possibly Philadelphia, according to one of the bidders, sold for $440; a small treen ware tobacco box went out at $165; the first of many samplers sold for $275; an ovoid crock, two-gallon size, was bid up to a final price of $220; so that they would not lose all their marbles, a box filled with the glass toys went for $357.
There were several paintings sold that day, including an oil on canvas of a dog, which found a new home for $440; an oil still life was $192; an oil portrait sold for $3,080; sailing ships at sail, also an oil, was $1,650.
There were few of the samplers which were not hotly contested in the bidding. A signed and dated 1826 piece had a final price of $1,375; an English example with no date but probably early was $385; Another piece, likely Dutch, was $357; one with the word Florida on it was only $122, and late in the morning a piece thought by several as the bargain of the day was a family portrait sampler, about 4 by 10 inches, an early work but in a later frame, which only fetched $122.
Some of the other advertised pieces in the sale sold very well. A horse weathervane taken from a barn in Alton Bay was $2,420; a collection of Chinese Export, including a soup tureen and several soup plates, cost $1,100; a refinished blanket chest in original pine was $550; the final price for a pair of Queen Anne brass candlesticks was $1,265; a busk made of pine and skillfully carved for decoration was used as stiffening in ladies’ undergarments but now sold as folk art for $330; another blanket chest in original green pitch paint was $632; Sheraton deck top chest of drawers, mahogany veneer and other woods was $770; and an early Queen Anne tavern table was $605.
Among the most expensive items of the sale was the tall case clock from J.C. Cole of New Hampshire in old finish with inlays, which opened at $2,500 and finally sold for $8,800. Another clock, a French shelf clock with fusee movement, went for $3,850. Also sought after at this sale was a Tiffany lamp including original base; the shade was small squares and appeared to have no damage or repairs, selling for $7,810.
All prices given reflect the ten percent buyer’s premium charged.
Steenburgh Auctioneers will use this site, Alumni Hall, for its next auction in March, date to be announced. For information, go to www.steenburgh.com or call 603-989-5361.
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