Published: December 31, 2002
Rare Slab Table Is Just the Cornerstone for $1.4 Million Pook & Pook Auction
By J.M.W Fletcher
DOWNINGTOWN, PENN. – Pook & Pook Inc. conducted a November 23 catalog sale featuring more than 600 lots, which grossed $1.4 million with a full house in attendance.
The highlight of the auction was a fine New York Chippendale serpentine shaped slab top table from the Van Rensselaer family circa 1770. The auctioneer fielded bids from the five standing phones and an active gallery. The hammer dropped at $80,000 (not including premium) against a low estimate of $75,000. Late Eighteenth Century furniture continues to dominate the major rdf_Descriptions at these sales, helped by a profusely illustrated catalogue.
Sourced from the estate of the late novelist Howard Rose was a large collection of folk art. Within this collection was a great Nineteenth Century pastel oil on panel portrait of a young lady by Micah Williams that a persistent phone bidder took away at $16,000 ($6/9,000).
According to Ron Pook, some of the finest groups of hand-woven carpets he has seen in one sale crossed the block this day. Lot #1 and #2 appeared – except for size and minor changes to layout – to have been woven by the same tribe, perhaps by the same tent. Lot #1, a Kazak, 4’9″ by 8’11”, made $7,500. A smaller 4’8″ by 8’3″ brought $6,250. Both were gleaned from the same consignor and sold to the same floor bidder.
The best of these carpets was an antique Serapi that had a large central medallion on an ivory field with blue-rust multiple borders. This 10 by-13 foot lot made one bid above its $22,000 high estimate. A banquet room size 12 by 27-foot Hamaden carpet showed a series of medallions on a camel ground and sold to the floor for a bid above its low $12,000 estimate.
Collectors of merchant signs had a group of seven lots to choose from. In the form of a telescope and 45-inch long, one was a buy at $500. Never seen before in a pretzel form and 20 by 25 inches, another doubled its $1,000 high estimate. A tin violin form sign was a little off key and sold below its low estimate at $850. A large offering, at 49 inches, in the form of a revolver, shot to a bid below its $1,500 high estimate.
Included in a group of tall case clocks was a fine Pennsylvania Chippendale walnut case with works by Carmichael Greenock, circa 1785, which made a bid above its low estimate of $6,000. In cherry, a Pennsylvania Chippendale case with brass face works signed, “T. Pinney, Liverpool,” sold to a phone bidder at $19,000 ($12/18,000). With a profusely inlayed case the Federal style, a circa 1790 tall case in mahogany, with works labeled Gabriel Smith, Chester, made $8,000 ($5/7,000). Also in mahogany, a Salem, Massachusetts Chippendale dining table, circa 1780, made its high $4,000 estimate.
A small group of mid-Nineteenth Century jacquard coverlets barely made their low estimates that ranged from $300 to $800. The top lot, a dated 1840 and signed J. Cunningham, inscribed “Washington,” sold to the phones at $1,100. There was a dearth of silver lots, with a 331 total ounce, six-piece Gorham tea set going for $4,200 ($5/7,000). Though placed almost as the last lot of the sale, a collection of 22 (mostly English of course) Eighteenth/Nineteenth Century tea caddy spoons was well worth the wait, selling for a bid above its high $2,000 estimate.
From the Rose folk art collection, a fine American watercolor on paper theorem with Kennedy Galleries provenance, measuring 12 by 16 inches, of two large watermelon slices, merited its $8,000 floor bid ($1,2/1,800). Also with Kennedy Galleries provenance and attributed to Jacob Maentel in the catalogue, a watercolor on paper depicting a man, full figure in a top hat, measuring 8 by 4 inches, was bid to $1,400 ($1,5/2,000).
A scenic oil on canvas landscape (attributed to T. Chambers) reached $2,250 ($2,5/3,500). A W. Schimmel miniature – 5 by 8 inches – carving of a spread eagle made the $5,000 high estimate.
The phones tried but didn’t win a fine Susan Walters oil on canvas winter landscape, depicting three central sheep, that made a bid above its $5,000 high estimate. One of the two phones did win an oil on canvas, 13 by 16 inch winter landscape, signed “H.C. Benzko 1838,” of four men on a troika, that was fought to $6,000 against a high estimate of $1,000. The phones again won a C.C. Curran oil on board at $6,000 ($10/15,000). A fine oil on canvas country landscape by E.M. Bannister, measuring 17 by 26 inches, was won by one of the four phones bidders at $20,000 ($7/9,000).
A group of three Currier and Ives colored lithographs from “American Field Sports,” went to the phones at $3,200 ($1/1,500). Two Nathaniel Curriers – one titled “The Life of a Fireman” – had two phones taking the bid to $3,600 ($1/1,500). A well-known Louis Icart acquatint of a reclining nude woman intertwined with a large black swan failed to sell.
The selection of brown wood lots were many and varied, and of fine quality. Selling at $11,500 a Queen Anne low boy featuring a scalloped skirt almost tripled its high $4,000 estimate. In mahogany, a Federal two-part dining table with three leaves almost doubled its $6,000 low estimate. A Chippendale walnut tall chest, circa 1800, sold to the floor a tad above its $5,000 high estimate. In birch, a Queen Anne highboy made a bid above its low $5,000 estimate. A Chippendale tall chest, with three over two over five long drawers, sold to the gallery at $5,250 ($3/5,000). In seldom-seen gumwood, a linen press, circa 1830, featured three long drawers and closed at $6,500.
The semi-antique desks offered did well. In cherry, a circa 1770 Chippendale desk made $5,500. A figured maple Queen Anne desk, circa 1750, with a fall front, brought $5,250. A slant lid Virginia Chippendale desk, circa 1780, was bid to $8,500 ($4/6,000).
Twenty-odd lots of Leeds cups, plates and saucers and some spatterware fared well. A Leeds feather edge plate with eagle and shield made $2,600 ($800/1,200). A second similar Leeds lot of two (with damage) made $1,600. A spatter five color paneled pitcher (hairline repaired – no charge) still exceeded its high $2,500 estimate at $2,700. A single Leeds cup (sans saucer) with eagle and shield design flew to $1,600 ($400/600).
All prices quoted do not reflect the 15 percent buyer’s premium charged.
The next catalog sale at the new facility will be held on February 22 and will feature more than $1 million in spatterware.
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