Published: May 15, 2012
“My collection is all about surface,” Jim Grievo said when talking about his things prior to the sale of the collection on May 5 at Pook & Pook. A weeklong preview brought many people to the gallery, resulting in a book full of left bids and phone bids that kept eight people busy during the sale. “I was surprised by some of the prices, just over $400,000 for the eagle decorated stoneware jug and close to $90,000 for the whale’s tooth, but disappointed in others, such as that wonderful carved horse that went below the $20,000 low estimate,” Jim said. He added, “At the end of the sale I was just where I had hoped, things evened out, and Ron and his staff did an excellent job for us.”
At this point, retirement has no place in Jim’s life. “Sheryl and I have enjoyed our collection and now I am going to continue just being a dealer, no more building another collection, just finding things and passing them along,” Jim said. “However, I may add to my Indian collection if the right material comes along.”
He did not sit in the gallery for the sale, but watched it online in an office on the second floor. Sheryl was in the gallery, and after the sale she commented, “It was strange sitting there watching the things go, remembering the hours the kids spent doing homework on the dining room table or seeing the weathervane that spent years over our fireplace.” She noted, “We have turned a page and both Jim and I are pleased with the results of the sale and know that the objects will all find nice new homes.”
“It all went very well; we had lots of bidding from the floor and left bids, as well as a good representation of online activity, and we went over the high estimate,” Ron Pook said. He noted that “furniture was soft, which is true everywhere, but some of the smalls did much better than we expected.” Ron mentioned that the week of previews was active, with many collectors and dealers coming by and either leaving bids or arranging for a phone line. “That seems to be a trend many are following these days,” Ron said.
The sale totaled $2,002,649, including the buyer’s premium of 18.5 percent on objects up to $1 million. All prices quoted in this review include buyer’s premium. Of that total, $131,325 came from online bidders, representing 20.6 percent of the sale’s total. Only two objects from the 409 lots in the sale did not sell, as they did not generate any interest or bids.
The colorful Deco-Tex Carver rooster got the sale off to a grand start, exceeding estimate at $30,810, followed by lot 2, an American carving of Abraham Lincoln in a horse-drawn carriage, late Nineteenth to early Twentieth Century, with a black livery man driving, 28 inches long, that went over the high estimate of $1,500, selling for $2,607. One of the most interesting lots in the sale was a carved and painted wood horse, late Nineteenth Century, American, and measuring 33 inches high. The detail suggests that a wealthy horse owner commissioned this piece, modeled after his favorite horse, complete with saddle and bridle. It fell under the low estimate of $20,000, selling for $16,590.
A rare Shaker miniature hanging cupboard with drawers, circa 1860, Canterbury, N.H., with a single door above 13 small drawers, original brown and salmon painted surface, 40 inches high and 19 inches wide, went just under high estimate, bringing $22,515. Three lots later, another hanging cupboard, Lancaster County, Penn., in walnut and dating from the Eighteenth Century, 34 inches high and 36 inches wide, went over the $9,000 high estimate, realizing $15,405. The provenance listed Hattie Brunner. An American watercolor on paper theorem, early Nineteenth Century, showing flowers in a compote, the compote decorated with a house in landscape, original giltwood frame, 12½ by 11½ inches, sold for $7,703, close to double the high estimate.
A Chippendale walnut tall chest from Chester County, Penn., circa 1770, with three short drawers over four long drawers, original brass hardware and retaining the old surface, 53¾ inches high, went over the $5,000 high estimate, selling for $11,850. Another Chippendale piece, a New Jersey gumwood linen press, circa 1780, attributed to Matthew Egerton Jr, New Brunswick, N.J., in two parts and measuring 74¼ inches tall, went for $16,590, over the high estimate of $12,000.
A Pennsylvania painted blanket chest, Dauphin County, circa 1795, the ends decorated with floret and tulip stenciled ovals, the front with similarly decorated panels with central red and green stars flanking a stylized heart, went for $9,480, and a small Pennsylvania black smoke decorated on yellow ground blanket chest, 37¼ inches wide and 16¾ inches tall, sold for $2,133.
A Steiff jointed mohair teddy bear dating from the early Twentieth Century, with shoe button eyes and a swivel head, 16 inches tall, sat looking out at the room of bidders from the large screen, watching the hammer fall at $3,402. Two lots later, an early carved and painted mother with baby doll, circa 1800, 11 inches tall with the original hand sewn clothes, went for $4,029, well over the $600 high estimate.
One and a half hours into the sale, lot 110, a Bucks County miniature painted pine stool, circa 1835, with a single drawer and scalloped skirt, splayed legs, retaining the original decorated surface with tulips and yellow and green pinstriping on a creamy ground, sold to a New England dealer for $13,035, over the $8,000 high estimate. A Christopher Raborg Baltimore copper tea kettle with swing handle sold for $1,896, a pair of New England painted bent arrow back fancy chairs with detailed fruit and flower decoration realized $4,977, and Pennsylvania carved and highly decorated rolling pin, circa 1900, brought $2,607.
Interest was shown in lot 148, a New England painted pine child’s settle back rocking chair, circa 1760, with the original blue painted surface and measuring 24 inches high. The high estimate was $2,000, and it sold for $5,925 with a provenance listing Brian Windsor of Staten Island, N.Y. An American folk art wooden carving of a tiger, late Nineteenth or early Twentieth Century, original painted surface, 6 inches high, brought $2,252, and a unique pair of Pennsylvania walnut chests of drawers, circa 1800, two small drawers over three long drawers, French feet, original brasses and finished, sold for $18,960.
Several tall case clocks were offered, including a Virginia Chippendale walnut example, circa 1780, with broken arch bonnet and carved floral rosettes. The base had applied molding and bold ogee feet, 95½ inches tall, and it sold for $11,850. Selling for $8,295, well over the $1,500 high estimate, was a Pennsylvania pine side table, circa 1830, with square top overhanging a base with single drawer, original black and orange decorated surface, measuring 28 inches high, 20 inches wide and 19½ inches deep.
Lots 186 and 187 were weathervanes, each selling for $40,290, the first a Massachusetts full-bodied copper setter by H.L. Washburn & Co., circa 1890, original gold leaf surface, 34 inches long, that had a high estimate of $20,000. It was followed by a New York full-bodied copper cod fish attributed to J.W. Fiske & Co., gold leaf surface and measuring 38 inches long. The high estimate on the fish was $25,000.
A Pennsylvania painted dry sink, mid-Nineteenth Century, single drawer and two paneled cupboard doors, original grain decorated surface, sold for $7,110, and a trade sign in the form of a lace-up shoe, inscribed “to Auburn, Shoe City of Maine, Chamber of Commerce,” 24 inches wide, well exceeded the $800 estimate, realizing $3,555. One lot later, a pair of circus juggling pins, circa 1860‱870, one inscribed “Sure Death” and the other “6 Months,” 26 inches high, sold for $2,187, four times the high estimate.
Great interest was shown in an American round wallpaper box, Nineteenth Century, decorated with colorful birds and flowers on a blue ground, 6¼ inches in diameter, that sold for $4,740 against a $900 high estimate. Lot 254, a New England oval pan bone ditty box, early Nineteenth Century, with four-finger joint construction and mahogany inlaid abalone star, 4¾ inches high and 9¾ inches long, doubled high estimate, selling for $11,665, and a New Jersey stoneware jug, dated 1807, was incised “Liberty Forever Warne Letts 1807, S. Amboy, N. Jersey.” It measures 13 inches tall and sold for $8,295.
A carved wooden pocket watch trade sign, Nineteenth Century, inscribed “C.H. Priest,” 27 inches high and 17¾ inches in diameter, sold for just over twice the high estimate at $4,266, and an American painted cast iron hitching post cap, mid-Nineteenth Century, was in the form of the bust of Napoleon with finely detailed hair and shoulders with epaulets and the initials M&W below the chin. It measures 8 inches tall, retains the original painted surface, and carried an estimate of $6/8,000. It sold to a Pennsylvania folk art collector for $13,035.
An American folk art wooden carved trade sign in the form of a pencil with polychrome decorated surface, early Twentieth Century, 60 inches long, went for $3,555, well over the $600 high estimate, and a pair of New England sailor-made pine wall sconces, early Nineteenth Century, hooded form with shell carved ceiling, bone inlaid stiles, mirrored backs and scalloped bases, 10 inches high, went for $4,503.
A selection of firearms was offered toward the end of the sale, including a Pennsylvania tiger maple percussion long rifle by S. Miller, Lebanon, circa 1800. With brass patch box and 42-inch octagonal barrel, it realized $7,703.
It was followed by a tiger maple percussion long rifle by J.F. Gehrett, with 29 silver inlays and 48-inch octagonal barrel. It sold to a Pennsylvania dealer for $4,740. A tiger maple cap and ball long rifle by John Parks Jr, circa 1820, with 42 German inlays and 39½-inch octagonal barrel, brought $11,850.
A leather holster with ornate tacking, stamped “R.T. Frazer Pueblo Colorado,” 12 inches long, was estimated at $300/400 and sold for $2,309. A selection of knives followed the firearms, and then a collection of daguerreotypes, including a group depicting members of the Townsend family of Philadelphia, various sizes, estimated at $500/800, but sold for $11,850. Seventeen lots of books ended the sale, with most of them bringing less than $500 each.
A handsome catalog for the sale was published, hard cover with some of the objects pictured in full and with detail photos. Descriptions were very complete, often with provenance, and a postsale schedule of bids is available on the Pook & Pook website. To purchase a catalog, $50 includes postage, call Pook & Pook at 610-269-4040.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm