Published: August 19, 2003
– Weathervanes and mocha ware were the hottest objects at Skinner’s August sale in sultry Bolton, where bidders packed the saleroom for country goods, seeming pleased to be back in the familiar auction gallery. Bidding was lively, sparking from the telephone to the desk to the room, despite the humidity, only a few objects failed to any attract interest and the sale total went about the high estimate to $802,348.
Two vanes each brought $25,850. The first, a late Nineteenth Century molded copper rooster example with jazzy tail feathers, probably made by L.W. Cushing & Sons of Waltham, Mass., sold on the telephone for five times the low estimate. A dealer in the room took the other, a cast-iron full-bodied horse with a great old gritty surface that came from Rochester (N.H.) Ironworks.
A telephone bidder took a Nineteenth Century copper and zinc cow-form vane with gilt horns for $14,100. The appealing full-bodied cow came from a Rhode Island farm. A cast zinc rooster-form vane with a stylish corrugated copper tail and copper feet by Howard and Company of West Bridgewater, Mass., went on the phone for $11,750.
Buyers spent freely to get some of the 20 or so pieces of mocha ware from Jonathan Rickard’s collection. Why was he selling? To make room for more, he says. He did not hesitate to replace the objects he consigned as he was seen bidding on other mocha ware pieces.
A barrel-form jug made in England in about 1820 that Rickard originally got from Stephen-Douglas was decorated in bands of ochre, blue and black with green-glaze rouletting in a herringbone pattern and brought $7,050 from a telephone buyer. The same bidder took a circa 1810 English mocha ware pepper pot in a baluster form creamware banded in ochre and black with dipped fans on an ochre field for $6,463 and another English barrel-form jug, circa 1790, that was exhibited at Colonial Williamsburg in 1993-94 for $1,645.
A mocha covered serving bowl in the London shape made in the early Nineteenth Century with a banded earthworm decoration fetched $5,875 despite imperfections and a pint mug with three brown bands sold for $2,703 against its estimated $4/600.
Not exactly country, but certainly of interest was a handsome 1955 Jaguar XK140 Drophead coupe from a New Hampshire consignor with an odometer reading of 20,060 miles, with a cream color exterior and burgundy interior that sold for $25,850 to a collector whom we hope gets it running again.
Tramp art from the collection of Sam and Myra Gotoff, other parts of which were sold previously at Skinner, also went on the block but bidders were indifferent. They sat still for such pieces as a 1929 tall-case clock carved with eagles, roosters and birds and a notch-carved breakfront, both of which are illustrated in Tramp Art: One Notch at a Time by Clifford A. Wallach and Michael Cornish. Highest price for a tramp art piece was the $1,058 paid for a Nineteenth Century child’s slant lid desk.
Furniture offered some good values for some good objects. A painted poplar cupboard made in 1865 in Fulton, Ohio, came from a Rhode Island collector and sold for $12,925 and two Queen Anne high chests of drawers attracted attention despite refinish. A mid-Eighteenth Century Connecticut cherry example with a carved scroll top sold on the phone for $8,813 while an early Eighteenth Century walnut Massachusetts or New Hampshire example with a heavy dominant cornice fetched $8,225 in the room.
A fine set of seven circa 1830 English Windsor chairs in yellow paint that auctioneer Stephen Fletcher said have been in a Providence storage facility brought $3,408. A couple of bidders really wanted a circa 1825 New England Federal maple candlestand painted green with an unfinished top and drove its price to $3,819 against its conservative estimate of $150/200.
The highest money for a clock was the $8,930 a phone bidder paid for a circa 1825 mahogany banjo timepiece by Simon Willard and Son of Roxbury, Mass. A circa 1830 New England wall timepiece in gilt gesso and ebonized wood with what Fletcher noted was “strange restoration” went for $881 and can be restored nicely.
Bidders were largely indifferent to carpets and rugs except when Fletcher began speed-auctioning a colorful woven wool carpet in geometric patterns in green, blue, red and black. He chased the price up to $9,694, asking attendees if they remembered when auctioneers used to auction in speed patter. He nodded solemnly, “All dead.”
A lot of eight reference books on the Chinese trade and antiques estimated at $100/150 realized $1,763. A couple of carved birds were of interest also: a lot comprising a painted wood shore bird and a carved and painted wood nuthatch sold for $1,528 against its estimated $100/150, and a carved and painted wood redwing blackbird was $1,116.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm