Third-Generation Auction House Reports $750,000 Gross
STEWARTSVILLE, N.J. – A two-session sale, held recently at Dennis Auction Service, featured a diverse collection of Seventeenth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth and Twentieth Century American, English and Continental antiques and collectibles.
More than 600 registered bidders competed for 875 lots of furniture, Oriental rugs, paintings, silver, jewelry, early samplers, porcelain, art, pottery, bronzes, clocks, miniatures, and Oriental material. The Saturday session began a 10 am; by 9 there were very few seats available and by the time the auction opened there were as many people standing in the aisles as there were seated.
Audience participation included, at the last lot, a round of applause for owner/auctioneer Frank Dennis. The sale exceeded estimates, with every rdf_Description was sold. Dennis stated, “We had anticipated a $350,000 sale; in fact we yielded $750,000.” The auction house’s practice of having each rdf_Description appear in photograph on their Web site proved particularly valuable with this sale.
The firm, a third-generation auction house, offers an oil lamp as the first lot of sale – purely for nostalgic reasons. In this case, the first lot of the day was a cranberry opalescent reverse swirl kerosene lamp that brought $660, setting the tone for aggressive bidding throughout the remainder of the day. According to Frank Dennis, “I knew when the lamp hit $400 with no end in sight that we were on our way.”
Early country pieces included an arrow-back child’s high chair decorated with mustard paint, which realized $1,540. A two-piece 12-pane cherry corner cabinet hammered down at $11,000 and a red paint corner cupboard yielded $2,750.
Stoneware collectors appreciated approximately 20 lots of early Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York signed and unsigned pieces from a single owner collection, several of which included rarely seen decorated lids. Carolyn Remmey, who attended the auction due to her interest in early American Remmey pottery which was founded by her family in the Seventeenth Century, did so with the intention of adding pieces of Remmey pottery to the family archives. She believed several pieces of unsigned pottery to be Remmey pottery – the bidding on these pieces skyrocketed beyond her expectations. She was happy to win a signed RCR, Philadelphia cake crock, circa 1875, in good condition with a lid intact for $1,430.
An important group of memorials included a hand-drawn and colored 1784 memorial depicting trees and urns that sold for $7,700. Another one, from the Davis family, 1805, that had been exhibited at the Folk Art Gallery in Washington in 1936 realized $7,150. A pencil drawing of the residence of Charles Prime from Montgomery County, N.Y., fetched $3,850 and a 17 by 13 inch basket theorem brought $6,050. Chief among a group of early samplers was an 1811 family tree sampler by Rachel Riveley, age 11, which sold for $3,850 under active bidding.
Featured among furniture rdf_Descriptions was a two-part tiger maple and bird’s-eye maple Sheraton bookcase bureau that sold for $9,900. A two-part cherry Sheraton linen press with original finish and hardware brought $14,300, and a diminutive Eighteenth Century George III writing desk with pull-out slide and secret drawers realized $9,900.
A cherry Chippendale style four-drawer graduated chest with reeded corner columns sold for $8,800. Tall case clocks were also offered; among them was an American walnut Federal eight-day clock with a moon-phase dial that brought $7,700.
Buyers of Continental antiques competed for the French and Italian pieces offered. A 59 inch Eighteenth Century Continental wood carved figure of a woman sold for $7,425. A Sormani, Paris bronze mounted Neo-classical style queen-sized bed in excellent condition hammered down at $4,500 and an Eighteenth Century Italian Provincial slant front desk brought $7,700.
Arts and Crafts pieces were represented by a Gustav Stickley two-door wardrobe with original finish and paper label, selling under active bidding for $15,950. Three phone bidders battled it out over a ten inch Tiffany Studios kerosene lamp base, #D860 that brought $2,475.
Another rdf_Description of distinction was an early handwritten slave registry that sold for $2,475. A final price of $3,850 was paid for a Stella 17½ -inch disc music box in a carved mahogany case that included 100 discs.
Another favorite among bidders was a six-inch multicolor mocha mug with minor wear that realized a hammer price of $3,575. One of the more intriguing rdf_Descriptions in the sale was an Eighteenth Century gunship model in an inlaid case with ivory appointment. This piece was intricately detailed with a tiny figurehead, multiple cannons and complex rigging, and sold for $5,500. A highlight from a large group of miniature portraits was a painting on ivory of a horse race that brought $3,575.
Prices reflect a ten percent buyer’s premium.