Published: September 18, 2018
Review By W.A. Demers
DENVER, PENN. – Morphy Auctions conducted a fine art, Asian and antiques auction on August 29-30 that included tennis historian Jeanne Cherry’s entire collection. Along the way, collectors of firefighting memorabilia were fired up by a collection of those items, propelling a rare six-sided fireman’s wrist lantern with 42 red glass jewels to a final price of $35,840.
Morphy’s had a huge audience for the firefighting items in this sale. There were several people in the audience and on the internet that battled it out for the rare lantern that had been estimated just $8/12,000. With leveled red and blue panels cut to clear, the lantern featured one panel with a wheel cut image of a firefighter, the second a trumpet and a third panel a fireman’s helmet. One red panel read “Empire Hose Co. 1, Flushing, NY.” A blue panel reads “Presented by Mrs T W White,” and a clear panel reads “In Memory of M. Frank White.” The illustrated panels are cut with exquisite detail. The lantern, from the Ray Bentley collection, was once part of a pair. Its mate sold for $18,000.
Achieving $24,600 were two early American fireman parade hats from Pennsylvania dating to the mid-Nineteenth Century. The first sported black paint with red on the underside of its brim. It was decorated with “Pennsylvania Hose,” and the interior had a handwritten note affixed to the interior identifying the hat as belonging to the “Pennsylvania Hose Co. No. 21 Philadelphia, Pa. instituted 1831.” The second hat was painted red and decorated with the word “Diligent” in a banner above a cartouche with a star beneath the word “Hose.”
Samuel Anderson Robb (1851-1928) was an American sculptor, best known for his carved wooden figures for tobacco shops and circus wagons. The son of a Scottish shipwright, Robb’s tobacconist figures are highly prized and sought-after. Fetching $22,140 in this sale was a tobacconist countertop Indian Princess display figure from Robb’s shop in New York City dating to the mid-Nineteenth Century. The figure was carved with headband and earrings and rendered with long, straight black hair. It was further enhanced by a red cape, decorated tunic, leggings and moccasins and was accompanied by an original bill of sale from New York City.
Known for spurring the tennis collector community as both a scholar of the sport and leading member of the Tennis Collectors of America and the United Kingdom’s Tennis Collectors’ Society, Jeanne Cherry’s decades of collecting and antiquing accrued into a one-of-a-kind collection. Cherry’s full assortment of books, ephemera, photography, equipment, clothing, fine art, jewelry and furniture inspired by the sport were key lots in the three-day sale.
A 1913 Renshaw Cup won by Maurice McLoughlin, first American finalist was bid to $21,600. The trophy made by Elkington & Co. is a winged figure of Mercury holding a bowl. The outside rim has raised lettering, “The Renshaw Cup” and is engraved “All England Tennis Club, Wimbledon 1913, All Comers Championship Singles.” The reverse reads “Won by Maurice E. McLoughlin.”
Another piece of American tennis history crossed the block at $7,800. It was a Wright & Ditson “The Club” tilt-head tennis racket. Originating from Nineteenth Century Boston, the racket was stamped “Wright and Ditson Boston” on the throat and “The Club” at the top of the head.
Additional highlights in the diverse sale included a large wooden Gamewell fire alarm telegraph, one of the rarest of the wood-cased gongs, going out at $21,600; a unique Marine rescue presentation horn featuring applied mythological dolphins beneath the mouthpiece realizing $20,400; and a Guy Wiggins painting garnering $20,295.
Finishing at $15,000 was a coin silver New York City fireman’s trumpet, and bringing $14,400 was Frank D. Creamer’s 14K gold sheriff’s badge for Kings County, N.Y., presented by his friends on June 21, 1898, and studded with diamonds or semiprecious stones from New York.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For more information, www.morphyauctions.com or 877-968-8880.
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