Published: July 3, 2007
Saturday Night in New Lebanon is Meissner’s Auction’s weekly sale, bringing out several hundred prospective bidders for early furniture and household articles. On holiday weekends, Keith and Dolores Meissner host somewhat larger and more important events, so for Saturday night on May 26 †Memorial Day weekend †they had even more to offer visitors.
The sale began with some interesting small objects, with Keith calling for bids in the cadence and roll to his speech often heard from auctioneers. With the first item, a candle box, he wanted an opening bid at “a hunnert, hunnert, hunnert, fifty, fifty, twenty dollars, twenty I have, now twenty five.” And then it went in just a fraction of a minute for $40. The speed of the sale was about 100 lots per hour until he became a bit winded. Then Dolores took the microphone for awhile.
Early items at the sale were several more small objects: a small carnival glass bowl sold for $56; a small bronze figurine, unsigned, was $11. An item described as a tape loom, but with a roll about 1-foot-wide and manufactured as a copy of Shaker looms in the early Twentieth Century, sold for $40. A pewter inkwell sold for $34. A tin fluid lamp found a new home for $28, and a lamp made for mounting on an early bicycle was chased up to $90.
Soon the furniture and more important items began to be offered. There was a large collection of Sheraton, Federal and Regency pieces. A mirror from about 1810 with a reverse painting of a large Georgian mansion achieved $302, a grain painted Pennsylvania blanket box was $196, an early New England corner cupboard with paneled doors was $1,064, an early Sheraton-style American chest of drawers with cherry body and maple drawer fronts went for $1,736 and another chest was $728.
Some Hepplewhite and other early period furniture was also available. A tiger maple bow front chest of drawers was bid to a final price of $840; a country Chippendale side chair went for $112; an early Hepplewhite stand, cherry with inlays in the banded top and drawer face, sold for $476; a Hudson Valley carved leg pine table was $364; a pine blanket box with dove tail construction and plinth base reached $364; a Hepplewhite Pembroke table with Pennsylvania provenance sold for $420.
There was a pair of signed Hitchcock chairs, which brought $224 each. Described as country Queen Anne, a side chair from Rhode Island sold for $252. From the Mount Lebanon, N.Y., Shaker community, a shawl rocking chair was $476; a tall wardrobe about 6 feet tall and 4½ feet wide in pine went for $504; a sausage-turned ladder back chair believed to be from 1750 and possibly made in Bergen County, N.J., sold for $112; and an American Chippendale side chair from the same time period was also $112.
The sale featured a large quantity of articles made for trade and use by any one of several early Shaker communities. These lots included, from the Canterbury, N.H., Shakers, a hand hook, which brought $45; three small grass baskets for $112; a Shaker-made and -used cooper’s wheel selling at $224; a table swift thought to be from the Mount Lebanon community going out at $168; and an herb drying rack with probably the same provenance was $196.
An iron toaster rack trivet was $364; a stencil painter tin box designed to keep the stencil paint brush and the paint itself ready went for $364; a swing-handle Canterbury basket was $140; a basket in green paint with a red fabric lining made $90; and a scarlet Shaker sister’s shawl with hood garnered $392.
There were many other items of interest in the sale, including a portable desk, which brought $168; a large early sampler selling at $212; an oil on silk painting of an Indian maiden, produced in the early Twentieth Century, selling for $196; a full bodied copper and tin eagle in flight, gold leaf paint with some condition problems, selling for $308; a horseshoe sign selling for $196; two 10-foot-long church benches selling for $196 and $476; a small Regina disk music box, including nine disks, for $336; a six-section barrister’s bookcase going for $700; and a clipper ship model sold for $180.
All prices include the buyer’s premium of 12 percent.
The sale lasted about four hours with very good buys throughout the evening. As there had been a good deal of manufacturing by Shakers at several nearby communities and other commercial enterprises, there was an abundance of early furniture for the bidders. Dolores Meissner said, “We did have a little more to offer at this sale but it was typical of what we have here almost every Saturday of the year.”
For information, www.meissnersauction.com or 518-766-5002.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm