Published: September 11, 2001
ANGELICA, N.Y. – Over 500 people traveled from 11 different states to bid on rdf_Descriptions from the Nelson and Phyllis Spencer estate in the small Norman Rockwell type community just two hours south of both Buffalo and Rochester. The Spencers’ grand historic Georgian-style home, surrounded on three sides with massive white pillars, each one encasing a tree trunk for support, was built in 1848. The home has remained virtually unchanged since it was built back then for $1,100.
Dubbed “The Town Where History Lives,” the Scott R. Burt & Sons Auction Company was selling the contents of the house. Spencer was the town’s most well-known history teacher. There were four generations of possessions including a large enough library to warrant an auction in itself. On August 9 the Burt Auction Company held the county’s first book auction, dedicating 3½ hours to just books.
The Internet, trade publications, and various printed dealer lists reached over 500 potential book dealers throughout the entire North Eastern United States. The book sale pulled in nearly $10,000 and lured 150 bidders.
The huge draw, though, was the second day of the sale, August 11. This sale drew over 500 people and was highlighted by competitive bidding.
A drop-leaf tiger maple table with un-tigered New York legs and a tigered set of cane-bottomed chairs went out at $4,610; a small matching tiger ogee mirror, $420; a pair of unsigned oil paintings of snowshoeing Indians, $4,100; an Empire birds-eye maple dresser with Sandwich knobs, $2,000; and an Empire secretary with fold-out writing desk, $1,750.
Also a pressback wheeled highchair sold for $1,575; a Victorian fainting couch, $1,350; primitive blanket chest with stenciling, $515; Empire dresser with four bun legs, $1,100; a Persian prayer rug, $1,200; Tiffany pocket watch, $1,000; cast hanging three burner Victorian lamp, $1,000; a unique small lift-top Victorian oak sewing table, $1,000; tea service, $500; a damaged piece of Steuben Aurene fruit bowl, $490; and a needlepointed ottoman, $230.
A pair of stained glass church windows brought $2,200; a cast and oak Bible stand, $695; pair of early tiles with fishermen on them found in the rafters of the carriage house, $160; a cast cat doorstop, $160; drop leaf cherry table, $625; oak dressing screen, $200; set of Haviland china, $325; one-door white painted cupboard, $295; double porch rocker, $190; large primitive library file cabinet with cutouts, $475; lion’s head oak chair, $310; and a pair of Victorian parlor chairs, $575.
Other rdf_Descriptions included a Handel humidor, $700; an Arts and Crafts drop-front desk, $500; Dansk flatware, $375; a pair of unsigned Victorian statues, $460; a glass cased Cyclo Stormograph weather forecaster, $420; a transitional hall stand, $450; a walking stick with roaring lion, $190; a Flow Blue platter, $325; and 50 small lots of lacework and needlework averaging $52 a lot, just to mention a few. In their earlier years, the Spencers did work for Frank Lloyd Wright and were featured loomers at various craft shows.
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