Published: November 10, 2015
Review And Onsite Photos by Rick Russack,
Catalog Photos Courtesy Gould Auctions
GARDNER, MAINE — Tim Gould assembled an outstanding group of furniture in old paint, numerous trade signs, a fine collection of Maine redware, early lighting devices, Navajo rugs, stoneware and more for his October 24 sale. It was the sort of merchandise that does not often come together these days. Not a single piece of furniture had been refinished.
Reserves, if they existed, were low and very few items passed. Phone and absentee bids were accepted but there was no online bidding. Gould has strong feelings about the Internet, vowing never to adopt it and he has strong feelings about protecting the privacy of his buyers. His sale listing does not include estimated prices nor does he publish final selling prices online. He declined to share the total gross for the sale.
There were 35 pieces of Maine redware from the collection of Rick Poore. Thirty-one of the pieces sold, collectively bringing the total to more than $31,000. We will come back to the redware and other pieces consigned by Poore later. First, let’s talk about the early Nineteenth Century shoe foot hutch table that was the highest grossing single item in the sale. It was a small table — the top was only 41 inches in diameter. The original red painted surface was untouched and it sold for $17,250. The table’s small size and fine original condition definitely helped the price.
Gould told Antiques and The Arts Weekly that the table was not actually intended to be in this sale. As the sale was being finalized, Gould said he had 500 lots and that was what he wanted. Just before Gould placed his advertising, however, a picker called and said he had found an exceptional hutch table from a home in southwestern Maine. Gould told him that he had enough stuff for the sale but he knew this picker had a good eye and had often come up with worthwhile items. They arranged to meet, and when Gould saw the table, he immediately knew it was a winner. Both men were right and the table, prominently advertised, achieved the highest price of the day.
Rick Poore is in his 70s and has been collecting nearly all his life. His mother had been an antiques dealer in Standish, Maine, so Poore grew up with old stuff. He especially liked Maine redware, early stoneware and early lighting. Recently, he decided it was time to dispose of some of his collections and he made the decision to have Gould sell his things.
The first piece of his redware sold was a jug with a salmon and green speckled glaze. Attributed to John Alld of Buxton, Maine, it sold for $7,475 to Linda Bean in the salesroom. If the name is not familiar, just think L.L. Bean. She also bought the next piece, another jug with the same glaze, attributed to the same maker. She paid $2,932 for this one. Poore had bought this jug at a John McInnis auction in Amesbury earlier this year and paid $750 for it. Apparently, being sold with other good pieces helped it achieve its price.
The next piece, also a jug, with a black spotted and red-toned light umber glaze, reached $2,472. It was attributed to John Corliss of Day’s Ferry (now Woolwich), Maine. Bean continued to add to her collection and other bidders in the room bought multiple pieces. Justin Thomas, a redware collector, was keeping track of the redware prices and he noted that the first five pieces sold totaled more than $17,000.
From the same consignor came several early pieces of stoneware. A closed ear, 3-gallon crock attributed to Frederick Carpenter, marked “Boston” within an impressed whale’s tail banner, went out at $1,725. A “Charlestown” 2-gallon jug with an impressed eagle and cannon design brought $805 and a small, half-gallon “Charlestown” jug with incised floral decoration achieved $345.
Poore also consigned several early lighting devices. An early Nineteenth Century wooden candle lantern in old red paint sold for $2,300 and a double candle pierced tin hanging lantern with original surface fetched $776. An unusual early Nineteenth Century child-sized lantern sold to a phone bidder for $1,150.
Gould had a wide selection of early furniture and Maine painted furniture, much of it from the collection of Florence and Marshall Stone of Hamden and Gouldsboro, Maine. Stone had been managing editor of the Bangor Daily News for many years and died in 2002. Mrs Stone died recently and the time had come to dispose of their collections. Together, they had been show dealers from the 1960s through the 1980s and were known as a knowledgeable couple, with a particular interest in early furniture in original condition.
An Eighteenth Century shoe foot trestle table in original red paint, from the Stone collection, sold for $6,325. The two-board breadboard top was 67 by 39 inches. A mid-Eighteenth Century country Queen Ann “traveling” mirror, with a removable crest and original finish and glass, earned $5,175 and another early mirror fetched the same price. It was a tombstone arched mirror with a carved crest, dating from the late Seventeenth or early Eighteenth Century, with black paint over the original red. It was likely from New Hampshire. A Pilgrim century light stand with original green paint finished at $3,105.
Nearly all the furniture was pre-Victorian, but one outstanding piece was pure Victorian whimsy. It was a profusely inlaid, tip top candlestand, dated 1879. The inlays included an American flag, Lady Liberty, a knight mounted on his horse, another horse and rider, a bear-wrestler, dancers, a farmer, and still more. It achieved $3,507 from a dealer in the room.
Only one piece of furniture in the sale was identified as being Canadian, and it did well. A boldly painted cupboard, it had two drawers over two doors and a large decorative cornice. It brought $4,025.
Most folk art did well. Leading the way, from the Stone collection, was a double portrait of the Sears sisters of Harwich, Mass. The sisters were born in the 1830s. Attributed to Joseph Whiting Stock, the painting brought $6,325. A 42-inch zinc arrow weathervane with an old gold-leaf surface went out for $747. A Pennsylvania floral decorated treen sugar bowl made $2,070 and a very folky reward-of-merit, depicting a playful white cat, reached $1,725. It was dated 1827 and signed Susan Merriam. A pair of portraits attributed to William Mathew Prior only made their way to $2,875.
Gould said that he likes trade signs and usually has a good selection for his sales, as he did this time. An unusual “mechanical” trade sign achieved $3,450. It was for a man who moved pianos and furniture. The cover of the sign was hinged and opened to reveal a slate and the instructions said “Leave Your Orders.” Bringing the same price was a large black and white sign for a door, sash and blinds maker from Augusta, Maine. It was more than 5 feet tall and in good condition.
One of the bargains in the sale was an 1814 manuscript nautical handbook from the seafaring Simmons family. It contained ink drawings, maps, geometrical notations and navigation instructions. “Navigation teaches to conduct a ship on the sea from one point to another.” Several pages were devoted to different methods of navigating. At only $1,035, it would seem that a phone bidder got a good buy. A Queen Anne candlestand in old red, may also have been a good buy. As Gould was selling it, he pointed out construction details that he said indicated it may have been made by the Dunlap family of cabinetmakers. Either the audience did not agree, or they let a good stand slide by. It finished at only $460.
The sale included a number of interesting smalls, but there was one item that is worth a special mention. A matched pair of small wooden Eighteenth Century “blanket drying cranes” sold for $2,012. Probably not in Mary Earle Gould’s book on woodenware, the auctioneer explained that they were used for drying blankets on the hearth.
After the sale, Gould told Antiques and The Arts Weekly that he was very pleased with the sale. “We had a great crowd and I think prices were generally strong. And there were some bargains to be had. The redware collection included some of the best we’ve ever sold, and the Stone collection stuff was very good. I almost didn’t take the Victorian inlaid table because of its date but when I looked at it closely, I knew we had to take it. Glad that I did.”
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium.
For additional information, www.gouldauctions.com or 207-362-6045.
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