Published: July 24, 2001
John Elliot Clock Ticks to $16,000 in Pook & Pook Sale
By J.M.W. Fletcher
LUDWIGS CORNER, PENN. – On June 11, 1781, Robert Morris wrote a letter to his friend John Hancock. The four-page letter detailed plans for founding the Bank of North America as a nationally chartered institution in Philadelphia. Two hundred and twenty years later – almost to the day – Pook & Pook sold the historic document at the gallery’s recent Friday evening auction.
Carrying an estimate of $1,5/2,500, the unique bit of history attracted the attention of four phone bidders and a full gallery. With one very active gallery player against four alternating phone players, auctioneer James Gibson sold the trophy to the last standing phone player for a respectable and realistic $9,500.
The late Friday afternoon sale comprised 275 lots (plus additions), with the Saturday morning sale having about 300 lots.
Several of the lead lots just met their reserve and/or low estimates. The profusely illustrated catalogue’s front cover featured a circa 1770 silvered brass face bracket clock by John Elliot, Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. The repeating three-train movement in a Japanned case was bid to one bid increment above its low $15,000 estimate.
The catalogue’s back cover lot featured an oil on canvas triple portrait of the Andrew Buchanan family (1766-1838) of York, Penn. The 36 by 43-inch image of the mother and two sons was bid below its estimate of $10,000 and sold at $8,750.
A good group of four George III mahogany dining (plus two matching arm) chairs sold above its high estimate at $5,600.
Interest soared when a Queen Anne maple and pine candlestand, circa 1760, featuring four turned splay legs joined by a box stretcher, crossed the block. The much too conservative low estimate was ignored by the phones and the gallery, with the final bid reaching three times its low estimate of $5,000.
Among the few textile lots offered was a New Jersey needlework sampler wrought by Eliza C. Browne in 1818, depicting alphabet, verse and blue house that failed to exceed its reserve. A New Jersey silk on linen sampler wrought by Hanna Perce in 1809, was actively sought after, selling for twice its high estimate of $2,500.
The Chippendale mahogany and parcel gilt double mirror circa 1760 sold for a tad below its high estimate of $5,000. A second carved giltwood and eglomise looking glass, circa 1810, sold for a tad above its high estimate of $2,200.
Collectors of red and yellow rainbow spatterware actively bid for a cup and saucer in the thistle pattern to a very strong $2,000 against a low estimate of $400. A stoneware pitcher, dated 1901, attributed to Remmey, did $1,600 against a low estimate of $2,500.
Decoy collectors had just one lot to bid on, and bid they did with a pair of fine Chesapeake painted ducks, early Twentieth Century – the breasts stamped “K” – making $1,600 against a high estimate of $500.
A group of three American long rifles, half-stock and full-stock, sold at $2,500, $3,750 and $4,000.
Prices quoted do not reflect the ten percent buyer’s premium charged.
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