Published: August 29, 2023
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring; Photos Courtesy Pook & Pook
DOWNINGTOWN, PENN. — Back to back online-only auctions conducted by Pook & Pook on August 16 and 17 offered nearly 450 lots of toys, games and dolls on the first day, followed by more than 850 lots of general decorative arts on the second. Both sales saw all lots selling and expectations exceeded: nearly $125,000 for the toy sale (low/high estimate of approximately $61/92,000) with the decorative arts auction finishing just shy of $330,000 against an approximate estimate spread of $158/252,000.
For the past seven years, Pook & Pook’s toy auctions have been with toy expert Noel Barrett and the August 16 edition was no different. Several of the top lots were bears and plush animals that Pook’s vice president, Jamie Shearer, confirmed the majority of which were from a longtime Pennsylvania client of Barrett’s. At the top of the toy sale was a large Steiff mohair teddy bear that was sold to a Pennsylvania collector and dealer for $6,930.
The same collection proffered a Steiff jack rabbit, produced only between 1927 and 1931 and described in the catalog as “scarce,” which allowed bidders to overlook some minor losses. It found a new home in Florida with a collector there who paid $3,276.
Perhaps less cuddly but no less important was a cast iron horse-drawn pumper described as “oversized” that measured 25½ inches long. Sourced from a local Pennsylvania estate and retaining its original driving and standing fireman but lacking its pump and the helmet for one of the firefighters, it sold to a trade buyer for $4,284.
A Chinese watercolor and silkwork scroll that measured 69 by 20 inches came from an estate in the American South but previously had provenance to a Christie’s auction in 2008. Immediately after the sale, Pook’s president and staff manager Deirdre Pook Magarelli said the house had received lots of presale interest in the lot, including requests for photos and condition reports. Estimated at just $60/90, the field of bidders narrowed to just two when it reached $5,000 and continued between a bidder on Invaluable, the other on PookLive. The PookLive bidder — who Shearer confirmed was bidding from China — prevailed to take it for $23,940.
The Asian aesthetic was also at play with a five-piece lot of Chinese export porcelain that dated to the Nineteenth Century and was from the same Southern collector who sold the scroll. Made up of a hexagonal pierced vessel, a cylindrical vessel, a covered ginger jar, a rectangular planter and a rectangular tray, the last of which had been in a sale at Brunk Auctions in 2012, the lot sold to a buyer in New England for $3,528.
European fine art was led at $3,024 by an oil on canvas landscape with a windmill by Jacob Maris (Dutch, 1837-1899), which sold to a buyer in the Midwest who was making their debut purchase at Pook, for $3,024.
A large group of 120 lots of Scandinavian decorative arts that was from a collection in Indiana was an unusual addition that found great favor with Pook’s bidders. A carved and painted Numedal ale bowl, measuring 13¼ inches across its shaped, painted and chip-carved handles, sold to a buyer in Wisconsin for $2,772. Other highlights from the collection include a horsehead painted ale bowl for $1,890, the same price achieved by a Nineteenth Century painted barrel back chair; a painted bentwood pantry box brought $1,512.
Pook & Pook’s Americana & International auction is scheduled to take place October 6.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For information, www.pookandpook.com or 610-269-4040.
October 3, 2023
October 3, 2023
October 3, 2023
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