Published: November 28, 2006
More than 1,000 lots of Majolica, Minton, Wedgwood and Palissy wares drew buyers from around the country to Michael Strawser’s Majolica Auction at the Alderfer Auction Company facility over the weekend of October 27 and 28. The sale began with a good selection of lower end items that sold during the initial session mostly below $300, yet it ended with a bang during the final session as numerous lots broke into the five-figure range.
Running back-to-back sales on consecutive weekends at Alderfer’s, Strawser had just concluded a sale that offered 2,000 pieces of Fiesta, Kitchen Kraft and other items, much of which had come from the collection of Charles and Margaret Huddelston.
Strawser, who calls Indiana home and auctions there as well as in Southern Michigan, has long been an avid collector of Majolica. From that interest sprang the International Majolica Society that he founded in 1989 and served as the organization’s first president.
The Friday afternoon session proved to be a fertile buying ground for collectors and dealers with the first lot offered, a pair of Continental floral vases, selling for $69. A figural shell centerpiece followed with it bringing only $11, with restoration cited in the catalog.
Highlights of the Friday session came as a Royal Worcester unsigned conch shell-form wall pocket with “outstanding color and detail” was bid to $2,645. A set of ten French asparagus and artichoke plates did well selling at $920.
Other lots of interest that were sold during the first session included a Wilhelm Schiller and Sons fish caviar server that measured 20 inches long that brought $690, a covered tureen with fish on the lid $575, and a Royal Worcester bird and leaf wall pocket that sold for $488.
Saturday’s session saw a large crowd in attendance and the auction house reported quite a bit of activity from both the telephones and the Internet. While some of the lots that were anticipated to bring top prices fell short of expectation, others took up the slack and the auction realized good overall results.
Leading the way was a “Punch” punch bowl by George Jones that featured a cobalt bowl ringed with green holly leaves and red berries. The bowl is supported by a punch jester who is reclining on his back and holding the bowl with his hands, crossed legs, nose and the tip of his hat. Described as possessing “outstanding” color and detail, the punch bowl had some minor professional repairs. Bidding on the rare lot was brisk with it selling for $26,450.
A rare George Jones double lidded inkstand with bird in nest motif was another lot to attract substantial attention. The rare form featured the two nests as ink fonts while the birds were the actual covers. A twig form handle arose from the cobalt base that was ringed in yellow and had floral blossoms sprinkled around. Bidding on this lot was also active with it selling for $11,500.
One of the more comical pieces in the sale was the Copeland “Sloth and Mischief” figure. Measuring 17 inches tall, the piece depicts a wide-eyed monkey riding on a tortoise’s back and using a serpent as reins. The piece sits atop a sand-colored base that was ringed in cobalt. Cataloged as having “outstanding color and detail,” the rare form was bid to $11,500.
One of the surprises of the sale came as a J.W. Boteler oyster plate with the seaweed handle was offered. The four-well plate was described as “one of the rarest of all oyster plates” and action on the lot was substantial with it selling at $8,050. A rare Moser glass oyster plate with five wells set in a rippled glass base with seaweed decoration was another of the lots to do well with it hammering down at $8,050.
A monumental garden seat with high relief decoration of storks, swallows, water lilies and faux-wicker seat was executed in brilliant colors with a dark cobalt background providing a stark contrasting for the white storks and flowers. The attractive piece, made by George Jones, was described as a very rare form, although the lot was bid to only $7,762.
Two game dish covered tureens attracted interest from the crowd with a Minton example with figures of a reclining hunting dog and gun on the lid and the body of the tureen decorated with panels with a rabbit and a pheasant on opposite sides. The rare dish sold at $6,325, while a George Jones empty nest quail covered tureen with a repair to the lid sold for $4,600.
A rare Minton centerpiece with a shell form bowl supported by mermaids with garland had exceptional color and detail and realized $5,290. Also sold was a Minton Oriental style garden seat with cinched waist and decorated with a cobalt ground and white floral and stork designs. The rare piece, with a date code for 1877, sold at $4,255.
Figural tea pots included a Minton lemon-form example with a mushroom finial on the lid and a vine and leaf form handle and spout. The nicely colored piece sold for $3,910. A Portuguese Palissy ware tea pot in cabbage form with a snake handle and spout, made by Caldas, circa 1860, also did well selling at $2,760.
An unusual “Father Christmas” pitcher by George Jones with holly and mistletoe decoration and a vine handle was hampered by professional repairs with it hammering down at $3,795.
A Palissy ware plate decorated with snakes, snails, crayfish and a profusion of plants, ferns and fauna by Charles-Jean Avisseau sold at $3,910, while a Rafael Pinheiro monumental platter with a bird of prey perched in a tree realized $3,795.
Prices include the buyer’s premium charged. For further information contact Majolica Auctions at 260-854-2859 or www.majolicaauctions.com.
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