Published: October 24, 2006
Two paintings by Johann Berthelsen led the action at North River’s late summer sale where two New York City oils on board sold for $20,700 and $13,800. A Benjamin Franklin signed document was another star when it sold for $11,500 to a collector. The document had an array of important signatures. Then, on September 30, at North River, black Americana and tramp art drew an attentive group of bidders to the gallery at 1293 Route 212.
A Jacksonville, Fla., collection of Nineteenth Century terracotta black Americana figures brought strong money from knowledgeable collectors. The gem of the selection was a figure of an African American man holding a pipe in the form of a skull that sold for $5,750. A 23-inch figure of a man wearing a cap and seated in a faux bamboo chair brought a robust $4,888. Two charming 18-inch figures of a boy with a fish sold for $4,600 and $3,450.
A detailed 15-inch figure of a boy seated on a tree stump while fishing drew $2,473 and a 5-inch figure of two boys, one in a top hat and the other smoking a cigar sold for $1,380. A terracotta humidor with the figure of a boy sprawled out across a log and holding a jug realized $1,380 and a figural humidor with an elderly man with a pipe wearing a yellow vest brought $978.
Speaking by telephone after the sale Dan Seldin, North River co-partner, said that representatives of the Kovels had advised him that the prices achieved for these black Americana pieces would be the standard in their 2006 price guides.
A selection from the tramp art collection of Clifford A. Wallach represented another arena of highly focused buying. Dealers and collectors drove a diminutive two-door cupboard with two drawers to $6,613 and an exceptional chest on stand to $3,220. A folk box sold for $1,035 and a group of tramp art frames brought prices ranging from $173 to $805.
An 8-inch Tiffany blue Favrile glass pulled feather vase attracted interest and sold for $4,600, but a circa 1899 35-inch Japanese Sumida vase signed by Ishiguro Koko and bearing the seal of the 500 Rakan potters sold for $10,350. The vase came from one Maryland collector and sold to another collector from Connecticut. A three-inch pair of Loetz glass vases went for $920 and a Pairpoint Puffy lamp was $5,750.
Of the few paintings in the sale, a view of Yosemite by Charles Henry Harmon, went to a Westchester County collector for a reasonable $7,763.
The range of furniture across the block was eclectic to say the least: A French Empire secretaire a abattant with bronze mounts fetched $5,460 and an Arts and Crafts period wicker furniture set comprising a sofa, two chairs and a table realized $3,335 from a dealer. A Victorian mahogany carved étagère was a healthy $2,645 and a 1920s Egyptian Revival-style console table drew $1,610. A particularly interesting lot was the early Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company rack and ball holder, score keeper and matching stools that elicited $4,215.
A silver water pitcher by Ball, Black and Co., brought $1,898 and a Gorham hand hammered bowl in mixed metal with silver and copper from about 1895 and sold for $748. Two Vienna bronze lots were of interest: a nine-piece marching dog band sold for $1,553 and an alligator from the 1890s was $920. A Steinway baby grand made in the 1960s came from one area home and went to another where the owner is learning to play sold for $10,975.
Seldin said he had noticed during recent sales that while the number of bidders were fewer than usual, the prices they paid were considerably higher than he observed previously.
At the August 26 sale, an interesting Victorian gas chandelier with horn mounts had a great look and sold for $3,800. A Venetian glass mirror from the 1870s drew $1,150. It had what Seldin described as “Quite a bit of ‘as is’ to it.” While a Nineteenth Century carved wood architectural model of a cathedral, including the stained glass windows, sold for $2,530.
A garden bench painted by Twentieth Century folk artist Peter Hunt went for $3,113 to a dealer buying for his own collection.
From around the world, a signed Louis Marjorelle music stand with satinwood inlay realized $6,043; a Nineteenth Century Egyptian Revival marble desk set was an impressive $2,530; a nice 1930s Japanese pretzel-twist bamboo set of porch furniture from Kosuga & Co., Ltd, of Tokyo comprising two chairs, two ottomans and two side tables was an exceptional buy at $805. An American Aesthetic faux bamboo bed and dresser sold for an impressive $5,463.
A 1977 Harley Davidson FLH motorcycle drew $8,050 from a New Jersey law enforcement officer and collector. A roulette wheel from Caesar’s Atlantic City with its original shipping case sold for $1,035. A handsome Cartier 14K gold box encrusted with sapphires also accompanied by the original leather case realized $1,380.
All prices quoted reflect the 15 percent buyer’s premium. For additional information, call 845-247-9130 or visit www.northriverauctiongallery.com.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm