Published: September 13, 2011
An Eighteenth Century corner cupboard, believed to have been made by Squire Boone, Jr, the younger brother of Daniel Boone, realized $35,000 during an auction conducted by Beckort Auctions on September 3. The cupboard sold to representatives of the Old Goshen Church & Cemetery Memorial Foundation, which intends to display the piece in Corydon.
Having “Squire Boone 1799” carved on the inside panel of one lower door, the corner cupboard came from the estate of Frederick Porter Griffin, a historian, genealogist and businessman who died in 2008 at the age of 93. Griffin was given the corner cupboard in 1944 by descendants of Squire Boone.
More than 700 bidders attended the two-day auction, conducted September 2″ under a tent on the town square, adjacent to Indiana’s first capitol building. Another 153 participated. The corner cupboard drew national interest. The historic nature of the cupboard made it unique. Prior to the sale, however, no one seemed to know what it might bring. “There’s no cupboard to compare this to, with a frontier family, so our expectations were up in the air on this one,” said Brian Beckort, auctioneer. “We were very pleased with the end results.”
The cupboard was not the only item having a Boone-family attribution in the sale. Two pieces were said to have been once owned by George Washington Boone, son of Samuel Boone, who was a cousin of Daniel Boone and Squire Boone, Jr. Selling for $3,750 was a drop leaf table that, according to extensive notes left by Griffin, was purchased in the 1930s from the great-granddaughter of Lucy and George Washington Boone. A spool-type daybed with the same provenance made $400.
Items with a local connection brought premium prices, especially Civil War artifacts. A 13½-inch-long cannon stolen by Morgan’s Raiders sold for $8,500. The cannon was taken from a home near Diamond Rock, Ky., as Confederate cavalry troops under the direction of General John Morgan advanced toward Indiana.
From the Battle of Corydon, the only Civil War skirmish fought in Indiana, came a black powder handgun that realized $4,000. The pistol was found on the county fairgrounds the day after the battle. Markings included U.S., R. Johnson, Midd. Conn., 1844 and WAJ.
Also of interest was an archive of Brevet Brigadier General Daniel F. Griffin that sold for $3,100. Included was the book History of the 38th Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry , a military commission promoting Griffin to colonel and signed Ulysses S. Grant, an eagle/star-embossed powder flask, monogrammed leather pouch, field compass, field inkwell, bleeder and several brass uniform items. A sword owned by Major William T. Jones of Corydon, engraved E Pluribus Unum , 37 inches long, with damage to the hilt, brought $2,100.
Other weapons of interest included a silver-inlaid derringer, having San Francisco agents’ marks, that sold for $5,200. Bought new by Patrick Griffin, it was carried during the California Gold Rush and at home in Corydon when he served as treasurer for Harrison County. A Kentucky long rifle marked G.G. Jelcher, having a curly maple stock, hexagonal barrel, the metalwork decorated with a pheasant and feather, approximately 60 inches long, was $2,600.
Historical figures represented in the Griffin collection ranged from the first US president to the first Indiana governor. An early etching of George Washington, framed with a clipped signature, sold for $2,400, while a pine chest of drawers, purportedly owned by Jonathan Jennings, the first governor of Indiana, sold for $1,000.
Many of the local items went to a group of buyers acquiring the pieces for a museum planned at Corydon. A brass National cash register, in its original shipping crate, dated 1910, from the general store Griffin’s family ran in Corydon, sold for $2,200. An Empire chest of drawers in tiger maple and cherry, having a gallery and full rope-twist columns, from the home of Judge William Porter, brought $2,000. Porter was a local lawyer and judge. As a state legislator, he was the last Whig to hold the title of Speaker of the House, serving for three months in 1847 and 1848.
“Anything with provenance, I thought was very strong,” said Beckort. “We have very good local markets here in Harrison County. Our buyers appreciate our local history.”
Indiana artwork included a watercolor landscape by Otto Stark, 12 by 18 inches, an Impressionistic scene of trees at sunset, sold at $2,000; “Tree at the Edge of Big Indian Creek” by Sid Crosier, oil on board, 12 by 18 inches, realized $1,500; and “First State Capitol Building” by Helen O’Leary, oil on canvas, 24 by 29 inches, sold for $1,300.
There was no buyer’s premium for onsite buyers. Internet buyers paid a ten percent buyer’s premium.
For more information, 812-738-9476 or www.BeckortAuctions.com .
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