Published: July 30, 2002
By W.A. Demers
DELAWARE, OHIO – “What we’ve found in the last 12 months held up throughout this sale. If they liked it, it sold; if they didn’t, even God couldn’t give it away.” That was the world according to Garth’s auctioneer Tom Porter as he characterized a July 20 event.
Two days of previews resulted in more than 800 bids for the 524 lots being offered, according to Porter, and the good turnout included between 150 and 175 bidders on site.
Top lot was an early one-piece stepback wall cupboard from Ohio. The walnut piece with original dark finish features scalloped shoe feet with a molded base. It has two raised panel doors at the bottom, two dovetailed drawers above with one drawer at either end of the pie shelf, and is topped with six panes of old glass in each door with beveled mullions.
The piece’s “never-been-touched” condition accounted for much of its success in garnering $21,500, plus premium, according to Porter. “I was surprised because I thought Lot 36 [a rare Ohio two-piece cupboard by Christian Shively, Jr] would be the top lot,” said Porter, “but that one passed and will be put into a later auction.”
Other furniture highlights included a Chippendale cherry four-drawer chest (est $1,5/2,500) that sold for $2,600, a country two-piece stepback cupboard ($1,2/2,000) that brought $2,700, and an English Hepplewhite bowfront chest with inlay that realized $1,300 from a $½000 estimate. Another Hepplewhite rdf_Description, a cherry slant front desk ($1,5/2,500), sold for $2,900 while a two-piece decorated wall cupboard brought $1,800, less than its $2/4,000 estimate. “The piece may have been in a fire, affecting its condition somewhat,” said Porter.
Early American accessories did quite well, according to Porter, including a number of wallpaper boxes that ranged from $250 to $2,350. “One of these that did especially well was a wallpaper box that, condition-wise, rated about a six on a scale of one to ten,” said Porter. The box, with bright colors and orange, red and green flowers on a black background, sold for $750, above its $3/600 estimate.
Spatter ware also brought considerable interest, said Porter, and, again, condition did not seem to matter in what he sees as an ebullient market. For example, pepper pots brought between $200 and $475, and a spatter ware waste bowl ($100/300) sold for $700.
For military enthusiasts there were long rifles and several engraved powder horns, but Porter said he thought the market for these was a bit soft. An engraved powder horn signed and dated “I. Wakefield 1760” and depicting in scrimshaw a man shooting at a deer sold for $1,300, below its $3/5,000 estimate. A percussion full stock long rifle featuring engraved brass hardware brought $450.
Among lighting, a highlight was a brass Sinumbra lamp featuring a tapered column on a square base and was manufactured by W. Carleton Boston. Estimated at $3/600, the lamp sold for $3,200. Another Sinumbra lamp on a white marble base ($400/800) realized $1,000.
Early Native American rdf_Descriptions featured nearly a dozen Navajo rugs and weavings that ranged from $100 to $900.
Interesting smalls were also on the block. One, a small decorated hand mirror with a diamond shaped hole in the handle, sold for $425, above its $200/400 estimate.
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