Published: January 4, 2011
New England estates and collections from Rockport, Mass., to Newport, R.I., brought bidders to the Willis Henry pre-Christmas sale on December 4, where the day’s highlight was from the auctioneer’s longtime collection. Will Henry’s early cast iron rooster form shooting gallery target with a red comb and yellow beak and a mechanical rising star sold on the phone for $9,360.
Henry acquired the rooster as a youngster in 1961 when he was helping clean out a barn in his Indiana hometown. The rooster had hung on the barn wall since its purchase in the 1930s, and the owner did not want it. He gave it to young Henry, who said he pedaled it home on his Schwinn. Since then he has carried it with him †through school and numerous moves around the country.
The other highlight was an early Nineteenth Century New Jersey tall clock that also sold for $9,360. The mahogany clock by John Nicholl of Belvidere was signed and had a colorful moon face that had been restored. Its case was carved with rope twist quarter columns and a fan. It went to a phone bidder.
Another early Nineteenth Century New Hampshire birch tall clock in a subtly crafted case brought $1,638. It came from a Lebanon, N.H., estate.
Charles Henry Gifford’s signed and dated (1872) oil on canvas of a ship in a stormy sea off a Grand Manan Island cliff sold for $5,557. The picture, in which the ship appears to be breaking up, went to a phone bidder. Another Grand Manan picture, an 1883 view of Swallow Tail Light by New Hampshire artist Willis Henry Plummer that was signed and dated, sold for $643.
An untouched shoreline view of Westport Point, Mass., was dated 1877 and signed A. Warren. It sold in the gallery for $2,048. A sprightly folk art landscape of farms and hills came from a Rockport house and realized $1,872 from a phone bidder.
A pair of Chinese Export paintings, circa 1860, of Theophilus Smith and his sister, Susan Smith, brought $439. The signed pictures were painted in China and retained the Chinese frames and a partial label.
Furniture was highlighted by a Belter rosewood settee carved with fruit and floral elements that sold for $3,393; the matching Belter side chair went to the same buyer for $702.
An Eighteenth Century Chippendale maple chest with seven graduated drawers and a high bracket base sold for $1,580, and an Eighteenth Century Pennsylvania walnut tall chest with three drawers over five graduated drawers sold for $877. The catalog notes indicated that the chest may have been shortened at some time. A Portsmouth Federal bowfront chest with matchbook flame birch veneer and French feet also sold for $1,580 †online. It had come from a Marshfield, Mass., house.
Furniture from New Hampshire collections appealed to bidders who took advantage of the offerings. An Eighteenth Century maple and pine tavern table with a breadboard top with an overhang of 12 inches elicited $877. An Eighteenth Century bow back Windsor chair in old green paint was found in New Hampshire and sold for $766. A compact early English Chippendale mahogany kneehole desk with three drawers on either side, a single drawer across top and a medial cupboard realized $585.
Other country pieces included an early Nineteenth Century cherry corner cupboard with paneled doors that elicited $585 and an early tuckaway table with a veneered bird’s-eye maple square top that fetched $468.
An Eighteenth Century six-board chest with a cutout base and old light green paint over red sold for $585, while a large dovetailed sea chest in old dark green paint with sailor woven rope and a compass rose on the inside of the top, drew $468. A 25½-inch wooden cleat from a sailing vessel came from a Rockport estate and sold for $211. A quirky Nineteenth Century candlestand with a burl maple oval top, a turned urn shaped shaft in laminated walnut, cherry and bird’s-eye maple and figured cherry curled feet was a very reasonable $205. The piece was possibly sailor-made.
A 9½-inch Massachusetts slant front dollhouse desk made by Loring Hersey Cushing of Hingham, and retaining his label, had a scalloped base and sold for $819. The desk came from a Midwestern consignor who had grown up on Boston’s south shore.
Several textile examples attracted attention. A Civil War wool flag with 13 printed stars, hand sewn stripes and a canton hand sewn to the stripes bore the inscription, “G.R. Faunce, Roxbury, Massachusetts.” It realized $1,521. A World War II cotton flag advocating “Scrap for V 100%” sold for $176.
Bidding on an August Rodin foundry plaster, “The Hand of God,” opened at $600 and was jumped by an Internet bid to $1,000; from a Duxbury, Mass., home, it ended at $1,287. An early Nineteenth Century stoneware jug with two handles by Goodwin and Webster of Hartford, Conn., sold on the phone for $1,115, a Nineteenth Century example with a cobalt slip flower decoration by A.B. Wheeler of Boston sold for $176, and an early blown olive brown glass flask, decorated on both sides with an eagle and banner, fetched $211.
A complicated 9-inch Chinese puzzle teapot, in a green and purple glaze with a foo dog finial and a line-drawn image of an elder, sold for $849. Two Chinese Export blue and white umbrella stands sold to the same bidder. A 24-inch example decorated with birds and foliage came from a Duxbury home and realized $304, while a 25-inch example with red highlights was decorated with exotic birds and sold for $234.
One old wooden sign, a carved and painted pine plank from the 1920s or 1930s, with a pointing hand indicating an exit with the word “Out,” sold for $643; a rare butter churn, called a Wig Wag, in a triangular case with a wooden axe that served as the handle sold on the phone for $264.
An unframed 1936 Dutch poster advertising the “National Kegelconcours,” which was held that summer at Nymegen (Nijmegen), sold for $152. Kegel is a variation of nine pins.
Sterling silver went mostly to one buyer who paid $672 for about 32.08 troy ounces of miscellaneous flatware serving pieces and $480 for a lot of two candy dishes and a vase, two serving spoons, a pie server and three small serving spoons. The same bidder paid $246 for 10.2 troy ounces of miscellaneous flatware pieces and another $246 for a similar lot totaling 9.57 troy ounces of other miscellaneous flatware.
A Nineteenth Century Pepper Box pistol marked “Allen’s Patent” with silver inlay in the walnut handle brought $409.
All prices quoted reflect the 17 percent buyer’s premium. For information, www.willishenry.com or 781-834-7774.
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