Published: March 22, 2016
Review and Onsite Photos By Rick Russack,
Catalog Photos Courtesy of Northeast Auctions
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Northeast Auctions’ spring weekend auction March 5–6 was made up of a collection of collections. A single-owner collection of 120 lots of historical Staffordshire was led by a piece that achieved $31,200, while a collection of Leeds-type creamware and pearlware decorated for the American market saw a standout bring $5,040. A collection of Currier & Ives prints had one example fetch $9,840.
There was also a fun group of stuff from the inventory of a well-known dealer in country Americana, some of which went very inexpensively, as well as a collection of ship paintings, one of which brought $13,546. There were also items from a major marine collection, some outstanding American furniture and more. A piece of American folk art shared top honors for the weekend, as a Bellamy eagle went for $31,200. The sale grossed slightly over $1 million.
The weekend started off with 120 pieces of historical blue Staffordshire. From the collection of Chester Creutzburg and David Martin, it is part one of the collection; more will be sold at Northeast’s August sale. Creutzburg and Martin have been collecting for about 30 years, beginning in 1986. They recently sold their Pennsylvania farmhouse, moving to a smaller home in Florida, and the change energized the decision to sell. Almost all lots sold and the collection grossed $161,760. Several dealers were in the salesroom competing with active Internet and phone bidding. Many of the lots sold to Nick Rouston, a well-known collector who lives in Arizona, bidding by phone.
The top lot of the collection, selling for $31,200, was a 21-inch dark blue platter with the arms of the State of Pennsylvania, from the Arms of American States series by Thomas Mayer, circa 1826–35. The series illustrated the coats-of-arms of the original 13 colonies; however only 12 of the 13 are known to exist. A piece depicting the New Hampshire arms has never been located. As auctioneer Ron Bourgeault was selling a dark blue jug of the “Dam and Waterworks, Philadelphia,” with a side-wheel steamboat, he commented that he thought this was the most beautiful piece in the collection. It attained $5,280.
With Staffordshire, scarce patterns and less common pieces generally do well. A sauce ladle in the Catskill Mountains, Hudson River series, brought $3,000, well over the estimate, and a 12-inch Highlands Hudson River platter went for $3,360. A Four Medallions jug, celebrating Lafayette’s 1824, visit went out at $8,400. A scarce cup plate, General Lafayette: Welcome To The Land Of Liberty, with a bust portrait of the hero, achieved $3,000, going to a dealer in the room who is trying to complete his set of historical blue cup plates. Landing of The Fathers At Plymouth, Dec. 22, 1620, is one of the more common patterns and a small plate fetched only $60.
After the sale, Dennis Berard of Dennis and Dad Antiques, Fitzwilliam, N.H., told Antiques and The Arts Weekly that “prices were strong, especially for the scarcer items. Chet and David put together a fine collection and the market responded to it. There were bargains to be had and dealers took advantage of that opportunity. We’re looking forward to the next part of the collection.”
Northeast’s ceramics, glass and silver specialist Rebecca Davis wrote detailed catalog descriptions for the Staffordshire, including extensive provenance. When asked, she said that prospective bidders found the provenance especially helpful. “They want to know where the piece has been.” Jim Horan, Northeast’s director of financial and technical services, commented that extensive descriptions help Internet bidders who may be searching for certain terms.
Another of the collections in the sale was a group of more than 50 Currier & Ives prints. That market is down from what it was a few years ago, but this group performed well. Although it was positioned late in the sale, interested buyers waited and the bidding was spirited, with phones and Internet competing against buyers in the room. Again, the scarce items drew the attention they deserved. A large folio, “A Night On The Hudson, Through At Daylight,” was the top lot of the collection, going to an online bidder for $9,840. Not far behind was another scarce large folio print, “Wooding Up On The Mississippi.” In the past, this was estimated at $13/15,000 and this time it fetched a respectable $9,120.
A large folio “Life On The Prairie, The Buffalo Hunt” finished at $3,960, and the large folio “American Hunting Scenes: A Good Chance” went for $6,480. Perhaps a bargain was a small folio edition of “The Narrows, New York Bay From Staten Island.” It brought only $150.
John Lee, a collector and restorer from Philadelphia said that he was pleased to see the interest in the Currier & Ives material. “The market has been soft for the last few years, but it certainly seemed stronger at this sale. The scarcer things were bringing better prices than they have recently.”
There are always surprises at Northeast sales and this time one of the fun surprises was that buyers were able to take things home with $25 bids. One does not expect that at the Portsmouth sales. Patricia Jennings, Marblehead, Mass., dealt in, and collected country Americana and was well-known in the area. Bourgeault had more than 200 lots of her collection and prices ranged from $25 for two Windsor foot stools to $3,600 for a folk art figure of a waiter. Numerous things sold for $50 and often things were offered in group lots.
One of the items that Jennings was most proud of was a late Seventeenth Century North Shore turned oak and ash slat back great chair. Supposedly, the chair was associated with the family of Roger Conant, the founder of Salem, Mass. It, too, seemed reasonable, selling for $420. Bourgeault and his staff seemed to have as much fun selling this material as the crowd did bidding on it.
Unreserved items from the collections of the late Russell W. Kiernan, who had owned the Marine Arts Gallery in Salem, Mass., founded in 1971, included a group of marine paintings. Most popular was an oil on canvas scene of a small boat on the pond at the Boston Public Garden by Richard K. Loud (American, b 1942). It earned $10,800. Another painting by the same artist, this one of the schooner yacht Oenone, built in 1888, brought $7,500. “Forging Ahead: New York Yacht Club Outing” by Leonard J. Pearce (British, b 1932), exceeded its estimate, realizing $7,200. For just $60, someone took home an impressionistic scene of the granite quarries in Rockport, Mass., by Vladimir Pavlosky (American, 1884–1944).
A New Hampshire Queen Anne tiger maple and cherry highboy, made by Moses Haven Jr, Weare, N.H., sold for $21,600, leading the America furniture lots. The central drawer in the base of the highboy was carved with a shell and pinwheel. Its provenance stated that it had come out of a farmhouse in Weare in the early years of the Twentieth Century. A walnut Pennsylvania Chippendale drop leaf dining table sold for over five times its estimate, finishing at $7,200, while a Massachusetts Queen Anne maple drop leaf dining table, from the Garvan collection, made $6,000. A Rhode Island Queen Anne, maple chest on frame with a heavily shaped skirt, also from the Garvan collection, realized $6,000.
An untouched Salem, Mass., Sheraton carved mahogany sewing table, circa 1800–1810, went for $6,000. With acanthus carved turned and tapered legs, it had carved “half-cookie” corners. A nice New England stepback cupboard in old blue, with three shelves over raised panel doors, brought more than expected, realizing $1,800.
Matching the high price of the weekend, $31,200, was a 26-inch carved eagle plaque by John Bellamy (American, 1836–1914). It was finished in white paint with a polychromed “Don’t Give Up The Ship” banner. A brightly colored folky street scene in Lynn, Mass., signed and dated “J. Sheldon, 1869,” finished at $6,600. It depicted the Stephen Smith house, along with a horse-drawn trolley, other horse-drawn wagons and nearby houses.
From the Jennings collection, a 40-inch-tall Nineteenth Century carved and painted pine figure of a waiter sold for $3,600. He was dressed in period costume with a long coat, and a vest in red, white and blue. From the same collection came a carved, gilded and painted eagle plaque with an olive branch and arrows. As the story goes, if the eagle’s head was turned to the right, facing the arrows, America was at war. If the head was turned to the left, over the olive branch, the country was at peace. It reached $2,400.
The sale offered a variety of other interesting material. From the pewter collection of Dr Andrew Turano came a pair of New England pewter mugs with fishtail handles that were cataloged as possibly having been made by a pre-Revolutionary war Boston maker. The catalog referred to an identical mug with the mark of John Skinner. If the Skinner attribution is correct, the time period may also be correct as Skinner was active in Boston 1760–1790. Bidders seemed to agree with the dating as the mugs, estimated at $200/400, went for $4,560.
From a group of antiquities consigned by Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts came a Roman marble mask of a tragic hero, dating to the First–Second Century, which went out at $13,200. From the same source, with the same dating, was a marble portrait bust of Demosthenes that reached $10,080. From a grouping of early English ceramics, a set of six Dutch-decorated creamware Prodigal Son plates sold for $5,700 and an unusual tortoiseshell tobacco pipe reached $1,440, nearly five times the $300 high estimate. A set of eight Twentieth Century tortoiseshell press-molded plates made by the late Don Carpentier, of Eastfield Village, N.Y., finished at $900.
After the sale, Bourgeault told Antiques and The Arts Weekly that the sale went well. “I thought the action was good and I was particularly pleased with the interest in the Currier & Ives prints. Only two were passed.”
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium.
For additional information, www.northeastauctions.com or 603-433-8400.
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