Published: October 27, 2020
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Catalog Photos Courtesy Flying Pig Auctions
WESTMORELAND, N.H. – Flying Pig Auctions’ unreserved online sale on Monday, October 12 featured the lifetime collection of Jeanne & Anthony Rodrigues of Warren, R.I. The couple, who married in 1969, began collecting together as newlyweds, eventually focusing on early Americana. The sale was full of painted furniture, Shaker pantry boxes, early lighting, ceramics, metalware, wooden articles as well as paintings and framed samplers or mounted hooked rugs. About 90 percent of the sale was the Rodrigues’ collection, while cast iron toys, early glassware, paintings, weathervanes, Anna Lee dolls and a life-sized display Santa from a few other New England estates rounded out the offerings. More than 600 registered bidders followed the sale on Liveauctioneers, with 93 percent of the 356 lots selling to buyers in the United States and Canada.
“The response was amazing!” said Roxanne Reuling, a partner with Flying Pig Antiques, which conducts the sale. “We had a huge amount of absentee and phone bids and a lot of people came to preview the sale, which we had in our shop for two to three weeks prior to the sale. We had both new buyers as well as veteran buyers.”
Painted furniture was one of the outstanding categories in the auction, with several lots bringing top prices. A private collector bidding online paid $2,767, the top price in the sale, for an Eighteenth Century black-painted cherry and pine candlestand with an octagonal top that was attributed to Connecticut. It saw competition from other online bidders as well as phone bidders and the result more than tripled the stand’s high estimate. A young woman who recently purchased a house near Westmoreland was on the phone and paid $2,160 for an Eighteenth Century stepback cupboard in red paint. Reuling said it had originally been a built-in and had later backboards but that it was “a really great thing.”
The sale featured two early hearth brooms and both brought surprisingly high prices. The first to cross the block had a braid and sold to a phone bidder for $1,440 against an estimate of $100/200. The other broom followed the first but brought a higher price, this time from an online bidder who paid $1,845, the third highest price in the sale. “The brooms were a surprise,” Reuling said. “They were something that people really came in and looked at; they really wanted them. It’s rare to get them in the condition they were in.”
“That was the best buy of the night,” Reuling said about an Eighteenth Century red-painted two-drawer lift-top blanket chest with bracket feet and snipe hinges. An online buyer paid $1,722 for the piece, which had been estimated at $2/3,000. Reuling described it as a really nice piece in good original untouched condition. Another piece that Reuling said the same of was a Nineteenth Century Shaker poplar three-drawer tailor’s workstand that was attributed to Enfield, N.H. Estimated at $1/2,000, it brought $1,722 from a buyer bidding online. Rounding out some of the top-selling case pieces was a Nineteenth Century red and black grain-painted cupboard with two doors over two drawers that more than doubled its high estimate when it sold to a local couple bidding on the phone for $1,440.
Topping offerings of fine art was a pair of Nineteenth Century folk art oil on board portraits of a boy and a girl that exceeded expectations to bring $1,599 from an online buyer. An oil on panel painting of a horse galloped to $900, while an early Nineteenth Century pen, ink and watercolor picture done by Relief Hodgdons and titled “The Orange Tree” brought $510.
“We had pantry boxes galore – they were her thing,” Reuling said of nearly 50 lots of painted and unpainted pantry boxes that Jeanne Rodrigues had collected in abundance. All of the boxes found new homes, with prices realized ranging from $1,440 for a five-fingered oval Shaker box in old blue paint that sold to a dealer on the phone, down to $48 for a 5¾-inch diameter round box in black paint with flowers on the lid.
Painted furniture in original condition continues to appeal to buyers. An Eighteenth Century or early Nineteenth Century gray-green painted blanket chest with snipe hinges on bracket feet in untouched condition attracted a lot of attention and finally sold to a collector in New England bidding online for $1,353. Another online buyer acquired a circa 1840 child-size Pennsylvania blanket chest with original paint for $1,169.
Ceramics were a relatively small portion of the sale, but a redware plate with slip decoration brought $1,353 from a New England collector bidding online and was the subject of an October 13 blog by redware collector and researcher Justin Thomas, who attributed the plate to southeastern Massachusetts, possibly Bristol County. In his blog, Early American Ceramics, Thomas references similar examples in the Lura Woodside Watkins collection at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institute as well as one at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Mass. Both of those examples are attributed to southeastern Massachusetts. Other notable prices for ceramics include $780 for a Nineteenth Century stoneware two-gallon cooler with cobalt decoration and $600 for a Chinese export Fitzhugh green covered serving dish.
Unusual objects that crossed the block included a set of five painted wood valances, circa 1820-30, which a private collector from New England, bidding online, acquired for $1,476. Painted trade signs had done exceptionally well at Flying Pig’s previous auction and while this sale featured a small number, a sign for Emerson Clothier depicted a rooster and sold to an online buyer, making their auction debut with Flying Pig, for $1,353. An antique magnifier sold to a Midwest buyer bidding online for $1,169, just ahead of an antique hourglass in old surface that finished at $1,107. A local buyer bidding on the phone paid $1,020 for a lot of 40 to 50 pieces of stone fruit that had been estimated at $200-400.
Other decorative smalls of note were a mid-Nineteenth Century tortoiseshell tea caddy with mother-of-pearl decoration that finished at $1,020, a 10-inch-tall antique toleware coffee pot with minor areas of damage but otherwise in untouched condition sold to a trade buyer on the phone for $900; a Scandinavian paint-decorated oval covered box went out at $780 and a 12-inch diameter Eighteenth Century applewood burl bowl rounded out at $600.
The sale featured a flock of Canada geese in various sizes and forms, from a painted canvas-wrapped decoy that swam to $840, two life-size carved and painted examples done by a carver in Nova Scotia that bidders chased to $600, and a pair of small geese-form trinket boxes that flew to $600.
Textiles in the sale were largely comprised of samplers and hooked rugs, with six of the former and three of the latter on offer. The same online buyer of the Emerson Clothier trade sign paid $738 for a small sampler dated 1735, well beyond its $200/300 estimate. A large and colorful hooked rug that depicted a house in a landscape finished at $923 from an online buyer.
Of the offerings in the sale that were not from the Rodrigues’ collection, a collection of early cast iron toys from a New England collector was in Reuling’s words, “really well received.” Zooming to the head of that group was an antique cast iron horse-drawn fire pumper with driver and rear fireman, that sold to an online buyer for $677, more than six times its high estimate. A lot of two cast iron cars with rubber tires and chrome fenders ran to $270 and a lot of three circa 1930s cast iron sedans in red, green and black paint made $180.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. The date of Flying Pig’s next auction is still to be determined but Reuling thought it would probably be in late January or early February.
Flying Pig Antiques is at 867 Route 12. For information, www.flyingpigantiquesnh.com or 603-543-7490.
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