Rare Redware Plate is $23,400 Main Dish at Horst
Story and photos by Nancy J. Vozar
EPHRATA, PENN. — Three times a year an influx of dealers representing nearly all the states in the Union descend upon the area to sell their antiques at a show promoted as Extravaganza.
This spring’s event coincided with the Horst Auction Center’s April 25-26, sale, an extravaganza in itself. It was a memorable event for the 385 registered bidders to witness with the auction grossing $234,845.
Of the 1,243 lots in the two day, multi-consignor, unreserved sale it was a plate — a rare redware plate — that proved to be the main dish. Of Pennsylvania German origin, the late Eighteenth or early Nineteenth Century Sgraffito redware plate was attributed to John Nessz (also Neis or Nase; circa 1798-1829), Tylersport, Montgomery County, Penn.
The face of the plate was covered with yellow slip and sparsely glazed, which resulted in some dark brown and green visible on the designs. The central focal point of the plate was an incised Oriental-type pavilion with smoke emerging from the center chimney and flanked on each side by stylized flowers with a fuchsia-like flower below the pavilion. The border of the plate was incised with a German inscription. Despite some slip loss and several chips, the rare plate, once was part of the late Titus Geesey’s collection, sold to the trade for $23,400.
Other pottery lots proved popular, too. Bringing $6,800 was a signed mid-Nineteenth Century lead and manganese glazed pottery creamer with Gothic paneled sides by Henry Gast, Eagle Porcelain Works, Lancaster, Penn. A lead and manganese glazed, slip decorated, redware sugar bowl with a married lid featuring a bird whistle (mid-Nineteenth Century, Shenandoah Valley) went out at $3,100.
Another Pennsylvania German Sgraffito redware rdf_Description (thought to be from Montgomery County) also crossed the block. This one, a deep dish with glaze losses and incised designs of a double-headed distelfink, an urn, tuliplike flowers and two images of people, sold to the trade for $2,700. A mocha yellowware milk pitcher with a blue sponge decorated seaweedlike design exchanged hands at $725.
The foremost furniture rdf_Description was a late Eighteenth Century Chippendale walnut chest of drawers (Chester County, Penn.) that was purchased for $12,000. It was constructed with five dovetailed drawers with thumb molded fronts (the top tier with two side-by-side drawers, the other three tiers containing single, full-width, drawers of graduated sizes) and the inside of the top drawer was stamped “J. Pugh.” The case was supported by four tall bracket feet (replacements) with a cutout scroll design along the edge.
A winning bid of $7,300 was executed for a country Sheraton cherry and maple two-piece Dutch cupboard. A late Eighteenth Century, Chester County, Chippendale walnut high chest of drawers (six tiers of drawers) with applied cornice molding across the front and sides brought $5,500.
The hammer dropped at $3,000 for a Pennsylvania Federal cherry and curly maple slant front desk. A Chippendale mahogany card table with a fold over leaf and a single, full-width, dovetailed drawer was finalized at $2,900. A Pennsylvania two-piece blind corner cupboard found a new home for $2,700, a Pennsylvania Chippendale walnut secretary desk was purchased for $2,300, and an Empire fall front mahogany and crotch -grain veneered secretary or butler’s desk sold for $1,800.
A Federal mahogany inlaid, eight-day, tall-case clock (unsigned) fetched $1,300. It did not take a genius to know that a set of four turn-of-the-century German Queen Anne-style oak side chairs from the Princeton, N.J., home of Albert Einstein were a good buy at $950.
Numerous doll and crib quilts were sold with a turn-of-the-century, Lancaster, cotton crib quilt with the central design of a house (221/2 by 25 inches) bringing $2,100, while another cotton crib quilt (23 by 331/2 inches) that had the same Lancaster origin, but was executed in the Jacob’s Coat pattern, sold for $1,500. Proving good things come in small packages, a cotton doll quilt in the Lone Star pattern brought $1,400.
The strongest seller in the full-size quilt category was a turn-of-the-century Lancaster County Floral Wreath pattern cotton applique quilt that sold for $1,350. Feline fever quipped the crowd when a late Nineteenth Century pictorial hooked rug crossed the block. The new owner paid $875 to adopt a cat and three kittens. An early brown plaid linen homespun bed case that was hand sewn and measured 58 inches wide by 68 inches long sold for $2,150.
There were a number of other crowd pleasers including an early New England paint decorated folk art sewing box, with an attached dovetailed slide-lid box that exchanged hands at $2,400. Of an offering of 95 banks, the top lot was a dated 1882 painted cast-iron mechanical organ bank. When the hand crank was turned on this rdf_Description a bell would ring and a small monkey on top of the bank would rotate. The unusual bank sold at $1,300.
Farm tool enthusiasts were anxious to bid on an early salesman’s sample hand wrought iron and brass horse-drawn cultivator that sold for $575. Proving that the housing market is still strong, an unsigned Bliss two-story lithographed dollhouse brought $875. An early pink Palestine pattern transfer decorated Staffordshire china platter by William Adams sold for $1,300, and a dome-lid coffee pot went out at $1,250.
An American Empire gilt mirror mounted by an eagle-shaped crest sold for $1,550. By an unknown artist, an early to mid-Nineteenth Century original oil on canvas portrait of a middle-aged woman in its original gilt frame, 321/2 by 371/2, inches went to the trade for $2,100.
There is no buyer’s premium at Horst, which runs weekly gallery sales.