Published: January 31, 2012
Pook & Pook, Inc’s first sale of the new year began the season with a bang. The 1,100-lot auction, which ran January 13‱4, showcased items from various estates, collections and educational institutions, encompassing a myriad of objects to include fine art, silver, American and Continental furniture, Pennsylvania folk art, carpets, textiles and decorative accessories. With more than 825 registered bidders, the standing-room-only crowd took the sale well over its high estimate to $2,782,662.
The top lot of the sale was an important Philadelphia Queen Anne brass face tall clock by Edward Duffield, one of the earliest and well-known makers. The clock was well preserved with an old dry surface and sold to a private collector for $118,500.
The sale began with a selection of pieces from three collections, including Margaret Schiffer of West Chester, Penn.; The Studdiford family of Point Pleasant, N.J.; and a southeastern Pennsylvania collection.
Items from the collection of Margaret B. Schiffer, a well-known Chester County, Penn., author and expert in the antiques field and a specialist in historical needlework, toys and Christmas ornaments, were the first to cross the block.
The volume Historical Needlework of Pennsylvania , written in 1958, was a definitive reference book for the time, recording the origins and progression of the art in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, primarily in southeastern Pennsylvania. Along with her husband Herbert and son Peter, her company, Schiffer Publications, has printed numerous books on antique furniture and accessories.
The sale started off on a high note with the very first lot across the block. A Chester County, Penn., mahogany tall case clock by Benjamin Garrett of Goshen Township, pictured in Furniture and its Makers of Chester County by Schiffer soared over its $10/15,000 estimate to sell over the phone to a well-known local collector for $45,030.
A group of lawn ornaments, hobby horses, decoys and other items decorated the lobby of Pook & Pook during the preview. An American carved carousel horse, probably by Herschell, sold for $2,607, and a pair of cast iron bald eagle architectural ornaments, circa 1900, brought $3,792.
Furniture highlights included a William and Mary armchair, circa 1735, that went to the phones at $28,440. This early Chester County or southeastern Pennsylvania example had a baluster back and old black painted surface with punched star decorations. A pair of southeastern Pennsylvania William and Mary dining chairs, estimated to bring $8/12,000, did well at $16,590, while a Chester County walnut desk on frame attracted much presale interest. Dating to circa 1745, the early and unusual form desk soared over its $4/8,000 estimate to bring $30,810.
Pieces of Pennsylvania and English needlework, of great interest to Margaret Schiffer, were highlighted in the sale. Several local Westtown School samplers included a darning sampler by Hannah Poole for $5,688 and a floral example by Elizabeth Adams for $6,517. A rare Charles II beadwork basket with animals, musicians and elaborate floral trees sold to a private collector on the phone for $24,885.
Another standout was an oversize Noah’s Ark measuring 31 inches long that included 124 animals and figures. It sold well at $21,330 after active bidding on the floor and phones.
Leading the estate of William E. and Johanna Studdiford of Point Pleasant, N.J., was an important Philadelphia William and Mary mahogany spice or valuables box on frame made as a single piece, the center large drawer having a secret drawer. A nearly identical example can be found in The Pennsylvania Spice Box by Lee Ellen Griffith, page 139.
The miniature cabinet form originated in England in the Seventeenth Century and was copied well in Pennsylvania in the Eighteenth Century. As one of the highlights of this collection, the phones were full and there was much active bidding on the floor. The box sold to the phone for $112,575.
The balance of Friday’s session were items from a southeastern Pennsylvania collection. Part of this group will be sold in two later sales in February and April. Many items from this collection were originally purchased from Harry Hartman.
Highlights included a painted treen canister and cover of an unusually large size that attained $3,792 and a fraktur drawing.
The Kriebel name is well known in the field of Schwenkfelder fraktur drawings. These bright colorful pictures were executed in Montgomery County, Penn., in the mid-Nineteenth Century. This particular piece was probably executed by Sarah Kriebel for a family member, Regina Kriebel, and brought $2,133. This is one of a number of fraktur by various artists in the collection, including works by Brechall, Peterman, Krebs, Faber and others.
A hooked rug by Magdalena Briner Eby, Perry County, Penn., late Nineteentharly Twentieth Century, garnered a great deal of interest. Measuring 45 by 115 inches, it was one of the largest examples of her work known and featured an arrangement of various animals and birds. Active bidding brought the final bid to $11,850.
Among quintessentially Pennsylvania furniture was a painted chest, most likely made by Jacob Knagy for Benjamin Mast. With its stenciled urns, flowers and pinwheels, it encompassed many folk art designs. The estimate was $3/6,000, but it sailed to $15,405. An unusual Soap Hollow miniature painted blanket chest, dated 1868, with stencil decoration on a salmon ground came from Harry Hartman and did well at $8,295.
Saturday started off with a variety of pieces from Charlene Sussel of Garrett Park, Md. Her father-in-law was the pioneer collector Arthur Sussel. This group of 236 lots will be the beginning of several sales with items from the same collection. The selection includes paintings, furniture, silver, fine porcelain, textiles, Asian objects and accessories.
Fine art highlights from the collection included an oil on zinc scene of the Berks County Almshouse by John Rasmussen, a Pennsylvania itinerant painter. This piece was exhibited at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center in 1968. It sold to an absentee bidder for $33,180.
A small group of Asian objects was led by a Peking vase at $15,405, a Chinese carving for $13,365 and a jade buckle for $5,346.
Other paintings performing well included a painting by John Edward Costigan exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts 118th annual exhibition. It sold for $45,030, double the high estimate.
An entrancing snow scene of a Quakertown street by Walter Emerson Baum realized $30,810, while a portrait of American sidewheeler J.B. Schuyler by James Edward Buttersworth had the phone lines overflowing, sailing to $94,800. The next lot, also by Buttersworth went to the same bidder for $56,880.
Local Pennsylvania artist Fern Coppedge was represented by a winter landscape titled “The Delaware Valley.” The phones were again full and the final bid was $65,175.
Rounding out the auction were a rare earthenware sugar bowl from Alamance County, N.C., originally bought by Titus Geesey from Joe Kindig Jr in 1930, selling for $37,920; a vibrant red and orange grain painted cupboard at $10,665; and a tobacconist figure attributed to Thomas V. Brooks of New York with provenance to Olde Hope Antiques for $22,515. The surprise of the day was the Queen Anne walnut fire screen with candlestand flying past the high estimate to reach $49,770.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For more information, 610-269-4040 or www.pookandpook.com .
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm