Published: April 21, 2020
Review by Greg Smith, Catalog Photos Courtesy Ron Rhoades Auctioneers
SPRING CITY, PENN. – The April 4 multi-estate auction felt dramatically different for auctioneer Ron Rhoads as he conceded the auctioneering duties to a computer. “After 45 years of auctioning, and doing it basically 100 times a year, I’m so used to being up there and I’m going to miss that for the time being,” he said.
But the 355-lot auction was a success, even if bidders could not attend the preview or bid in the gallery. Rhoads said that the sale performed as much as 90 percent compared to regular days. “Overall, I was really pleased, because it could have been a bust. Really, really pleased,” Rhoads said.
“We had a good cross section of items,” he continued. “We didn’t have any monster items, but we had a few real surprises.”
Among them was a Sevres Louis XVI table box painted with courting images after French painter Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721). The mounted box with porcelain inserts brought $2,460 above an $800 estimate, it measures 13 inches long by 4½ inches high and 8½ inches wide.
A set of eight Mackenzie-Childs dining chairs with repeating pineapple carved skirts, spiral legs and rails and central floral cartouches on the cane backs sold for $1,968. The set had originally cost $24,000 from the maker.
Rhoads made note of a Chinese forbidden stitch skirt that sold above the $600 estimate to bring $1,722. It had reportedly passed down in a family since it was purchased by an ancestor on their trip to the Orient in the late Eighteenth Century. A vintage kimono with needlepoint and forbidden stitch decoration on the front and back, from the same consignor, followed suit as it took $1,476.
A solid $1,599 result was found in an American child’s alphabet sampler stitched by Elizabeth W. Chapin, aged 11, Sept 5, 1822, at Miss B Hersey’s School. Underneath the alphabet was a three-story Colonial house with two birds atop, flanked by two trees.
The large size and weight did not dull bidding interest on a cast iron outdoor stove with opposing bulls pictured to all three sides except the back. The stove brought $1,599 on an $800 estimate. Bidders took note of an Erector #8 super locomotive in wood case with original manual and plenty of accessories. Circa 1931, it sold for $1,033. For those who were looking for something extraordinary, an 11-foot taxidermy mount of an alligator brought $554 after nine bids.
The sale’s top painting was found in an oil on Masonite signed Snyder, depicting an autumn forest scene with a beam of light shining down on the base of a tree. The 9½-by-17½-inch (sight) painting took $800.
In fashion, a group of five vintage dresses from the 1920s-30s, estimated $50-100, took $923 after 27 bids.
Rhoads related that the hardest sells and the best deals were found in brown furniture. Furniture itself represents a challenge for auctions in the current climate.
“We’re going to come right back with another auction as soon as we can get it online,” Rhoads said. In addition to a general antique auction next month, he is working towards putting together a specialty sale in doll and dollhouse miniatures. “We’ve done miniature auctions online before, so we’re working on that. If anyone has any inquiries about selling, call us.”
For additional information, www.ronrhoads-auction.com or 610-385-4818.
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