Published: April 29, 2008
“My best guess is that it will bring between $350,000 and $425,000,” a seasoned dealer said prior to the start of the Pook & Pook auction on Friday, April 18. Another dealer chimed in, “I think it will stay within estimate,” speculating on the final bid for the carved and painted Punch cigar store figure attributed to the shop of Samuel Robb. Dealers and collectors had come from near and far to look this figure over during the week of previews, and when lot 296 came up for bids, the row of people staffing the phones all got to their feet. The Punch, in its remarkable untouched condition and standing on the original base inscribed “Cigars Tobacco / Havana Cigars / Smoker’s Articles,” sold quickly and was knocked down at $160,000, falling short of the $200,000 high estimate. With buyer’s premium the final cost was $187,200.
Ron Pook, vice president and auctioneer of the firm, said, “Some collectors and dealers were concerned by the wide crack in the figure’s face and the crack down the length of the body.” He noted that while it was possible to repair the figure, “people were cautious and it sold where we thought it would.”
Pook added, “I was generally pleased with the sale, and was especially pleased with the strong interest in clocks and some of the brown furniture. All of the clocks sold retail.” He indicated that ceramics were the weakest part of the sale and that the market for spatter “has been going down for years.”
Most of the seats in the gallery were filled at the start of the sale and some of the bidders opted for the comfort of a sofa or Windsor chair. Bidding began with 24 lots of rugs and the highlight of this portion of the sale was lot 12, a room-size Serapi, circa 1910, with blue medallion on a mustard field with red corners and navy border. It measured 18 feet 2 inches by 11 feet 2 inches and went well over the $9,000 high estimate, selling for $19,890 to a phone bidder.
All final bids noted include the buyer’s premium, 17 percent in-house and 22 percent via eBay. The Internet came into play a number of times and the phones were very active, an indication that many of those who previewed the sale did not return to bid in person.
Lot 32, a Regina upright music box, circa 1900, bow front with glass door, the works marked “Regina 51068,” 60½ inches high, sold for $16,380, above the $10,000 high estimate, and included 18 discs. A French gilt bronze and glass cased cordial set with two decanters and 21 stemmed wines, 19 inches high, sold for $5,616, while an English William and Mary beech easy chair, circa 1710, with arched back, scrolled arms and turned legs, terminating in Spanish feet, went just over the high estimate at $5,850.
Among the redware pieces was a southeastern Pennsylvania sgraffito decorated plate dated 1823, with tulip and pinwheel flower decoration, 10¼ inches in diameter, at $3,978. Retaining the original green painted surface was a large pine bench table, circa 1800, 28 inches high and 42 inches wide, that went for $6,435, while a Pennsylvania stoneware pitcher from the Nineteenth Century with cobalt tulip decoration, 9 inches high, sold just under the high estimate of $4,000 at $3,744.
A painted pine dresser box, Heinrich Bucher (Berks County, late Eighteenth to early Nineteenth Century), initialed “I.C.H.,” red and white floral decoration, 3 inches high, 9¾ inches wide and 8¾ inches deep, went for $4,680, the high estimate. One of the tall case clocks, Chester, N.H., origin, dating from the mid-Eighteenth century, 89 inches tall, sold within estimate at $10,530. The brass face works were signed “Isaac Blasdel.”
Selling for just over the low estimate at $2,808 was an oil on canvas landscape, Hudson River School, 25½ by 32 inches, depicting mountains with water in the background. A pencil and watercolor profile of a young woman, 3 by 2½ inches, by Justus Dalee, brought $5,850; a pair of Chinese Export famille rose palace vases dating from the Nineteenth Century, 34 inches tall, went for $12,870, just over double the high estimate; a child’s sack back Windsor chair from the late Eighteenth Century was $3,172; and a painted poplar dome top box, circa 1800, Lancaster County, Penn., by the Compass Artist, went for $17,550 against a high estimate of $35,000. The box was decorated red and white stylized flowers on a blue ground. “We expected this box to do better, but people are looking for bright paint,” Pook said.
A large collection of spatter was in the sale and several pieces were passed and a number fell below estimates. Some did well, however, including a green and red rainbow spatter platter, Nineteenth Century, with tulip decoration, for $4,680; a five-color rainbow spatter pitcher, 6 inches high, Nineteenth Century, for $7,020; and a blue and purple rainbow spatter covered vegetable, 7½ inches high, at $4,446.
Selling at a few dollars from the high estimate at $15,210 was a Philadelphia Chippendale mahogany dining chair, circa 1780, attributed to the workshop of Thomas Tuft. It has a serpentine crest with voluted ears above a gothic splat flanked by fluted stiles, supported by acanthus carved legs ending in ball and claw feet. Among the silver pieces was a Boston tankard, circa 1755, domed lid with bell finial, bearing the touch of John Coburn and the cipher “TD.” It was 8¼ inches high and sold just over the low estimate at $9,945.
A Philadelphia Chippendale dining table in mahogany, circa 1765, rectangular top supported by two drop leaves with notched corners, cabriole legs terminating in ball and claw feet, with old dry surface, sold just over the high estimate at $15,210. It was followed by a Philadelphia Chippendale tiger maple tall case clock, circa 1775, broken arch bonnet and eight-day works with brass face inscribed “Jacob Godshalk Philadelphia,” fluted quarter columns and ogee bracket feet, 91 inches tall, that sold over the high estimate of $25,000 for $32,760. More “brown” followed a few lots later, when a Delaware Valley Chippendale walnut dressing table, circa 1770, one long drawer over three short drawers, cabriole legs and ball and claw feet, sold for $11,700, just above the low estimate.
Competition for a gaudy Dutch leaf plate, Nineteenth Century, 7¾ inches in diameter, drove the winning bid to $14,040, well above the high estimate of $2,500. A massive Alhambra cut glass vase by Meridan Cut Glass Co., with Greek key bands at top and bottom, 21 inches high, did well, selling for $7,020 against a high estimate of $1,500.
Pictured on two pages of the catalog, as well as on the back cover, was a rare Somerset County, Penn., painted pine wall cupboard, circa 1835, in two parts. The upper section had two six-light doors over a lower section with two drawers and two sunken panel doors, all supported on a bracket base. This piece descended in the Custer/Lohr family and was estimated at $50/70,000. It sold for $29,250. Several lots later a Pennsylvania painted pine two-part dry sink with cupboard top, mid-Nineteenth Century, retaining an ochre grained surface, 81 inches high and 43¼ inches wide, sold for $7,020, within the estimate.
Ferdinand Brader was the artist behind a pencil farm scene titled “The Property of John H. and Sarah Ellen Gring Spring Town: Berks Co. Pa.” that was signed lower left “F.A. Brader 1881” and measures 30½ by 51 inches. It featured a stone house, gardens, picket fence, barn with animals, horse-drawn carriage and pond. The final bid was $30,420, just under the $35,000 high estimate.
A Chester County, Penn., walnut blanket chest dated 1781 and initialed “ML” for Margaret Laubaugh, dovetailed case over two drawers on bracket feet and retaining an old mellow finish, was estimated at $4/6,000 and sold for $23,400. The last tall case clock in the sale was a Philadelphia Queen Anne walnut example, circa 1740, with eight-day works and brass face inscribed “Peter Stretch Philadelphia,” straight case and molded base, 90 inches high, that went over the high estimate of $18,000, selling for $32,760.
“This sale totaled $1.7 million and on May 15‱6 we will be holding our first jewelry auction,” Ron Pook said. Other future sales include a variety of objects on June 13, more variety on September 5, period furniture and decorative accessories on September 26′7, and fine art on October 24.
The gallery is at 463 East Lancaster Avenue and more information can be obtained from 610-269-4040 or www.pookandpook.com .
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm