Published: June 7, 2022
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Strawser Auction Group
WOLCOTTVILLE, IND. – Michael Strawser, owner of Strawser Auction Group and founder of the Majolica International Society, put together a three-day antiques auction packed with more than 1,800 lots, including furniture, silver, estate jewelry, fine art, lighting, glass, porcelain, majolica that was conducted May 25, 27 and 28. Bidding action was both live in the gallery and online through LiveAuctioneers. “We sold 99 percent of the lots, with more than 3,000 in-person, absentee, internet and phone bidders,” said Strawser after the sale.
Day 3, a 560-lot session on May 28, featured what Strawser described as “one of the finest selections of majolica we have had in some time, to include the Betsy and Rick Porter collection, which has many rare and important majolica pieces by such makers as Minton, George Jones and others” Its premier lot was a monumental majolica boar’s head tureen with matching fitted tray, no. 2141, 22 inches long, 15 inches wide and 11½ inches tall. Estimated $40/60,000, the tureen, in Strawser’s words, “the rarest of all Minton majolica game tureens,” sold for $56,000. Strawser said, “An example is in the MAAS Powerhouse Museum in Australia.”
A Minton majolica teapot in the form of a vulture attacking a snake was the second highest selling lot on Day 3, capturing $35,400. Depicted was a vulture with a pink neck, brown feathers with black wing tips on rock mound base. It is considered the rarest of Minton’s figural majolica teapots.
A Minton majolica “Flat Iron” cobalt teapot depicting a large white cat on handle peering down at a mouse with a carrot, resting on a base decorated with three mice on each side, went out at $23,100, while a Minton iconic rare majolica beehive attracted a swarm of bids pushing it to $26,400. The cheese keeper modeled as a yellow straw beehive with trailing blackberries, branch handle, square base with branch feet, stood 13½ inches high and was from the Betsy and Rick Porter collection.
Things kicked off on Day 1, May 25, with 627 lots of jewelry, bronzes, furniture, lighting, toys, art and more. The day was led by a Native American Navajo early saddle blanket, circa 1870-80, 4 feet 5 inches by 7 feet 2 inches, which brought $2,475.
Action picked up again on Day 2, May 27, with a large selection of glassware and ceramics. The star lot was easily a rare Thomas Downing (1791-1866) cylindrical oyster jar, which bidders took to $6,490. With blue decorated lettering, impressed with “T. Downing / Pickled Oysters / No. 5 Broad St / New York,” the jar stood 8 inches tall. Downing was an African American oysterman who owned New York City’s most famous oyster house.
Tripling its $800 high presale estimate, a Boehm porcelain pair of bluebird figures on a rhododendron, #451, the tallest of which was 13 inches high, alit at $2,830. And a rare J.W. Boteler majolica oyster plate with a long handle, four wells and seaweed decoration realized $2,950.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For information, 260-854-2859, 260-336-2204 or www.strawserauctions.com.
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