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Country Americana

Jackie Sideli | November 16th, 2013


This early redware pot, 7½" x 3 5/8", with a strong globular shape, coggle lines at the shoulder, and outstanding yellow-green with manganese brushed striping and splatters and fitted lid, was made in Bristol County, Massachusetts. It sold to dealer and artist John Sideli of Wiscasset, Maine, for $11,328.


This nicely proportioned 18th-century American Queen Anne table in chestnut and maple retained its old black-painted finish and had turned splayed legs terminating in duck feet. This little table (26" high, 20" square) had a modest presale estimate of $500/700. Interest from the floor and the phones pushed the price to $2124.


This 19th-century apothecary chest in pine with original blue paint (the catalog noted that a later coat of paint had been professionally removed) has 12 dovetailed drawers with elaborately painted labels with descriptions of spices, almonds, etc. It measured 32" high, 46" wide, and 10½" deep. The presale estimate was $1500/2500, and bidding opened at $600 with a left bid. With the Internet and interest from the floor, the chest sold for $4484.

Willis Henry, Plymouth, Massachusetts

Photos courtesy Willis Henry

Auctioneer Willis Henry and his wife, Karel, had a full house for their Americana auction held at the Radisson Hotel on November 16, 2013, in Plymouth, Massachusetts. An outstanding collection of American redware pottery was offered at the sale, much of it from the Curry collection, which had been packed away since the 1970’s.

Selling to a packed house, Henry sold mostly to veteran collectors and dealers who had come for the early things he was offering. In addition to the Earl and Evelyn Curry collection, Henry was selling parts of the collections of Ed Clerk (1924-2013, a noted Shaker collector/dealer), Manuel “Manny” and Dorothy “Dottie” Affler, John P. Richardson, and Dan Henderson. Besides the buyers at the sale, there was lots of action from the Internet and the phones, which were busy all day.

Evelyn and Earl Curry of Easton, Massachusetts, had focused their collection on redware from Bristol and Essex County, Massachusetts, and from New Hampshire and Maine. Among those pieces was a stunning globular New England redware pot with raised lip and double coggle lines at the shoulder. Glazed a vivid yellow-green with bold manganese brushed striping and splatters, it has a nicely fitted lid. It sold to antiques dealer John Sideli for $11,328 (includes buyer’s premium). (The author is ex-wife of John Sideli.)

Sideli also went home with an early 18th-century redware pitcher with yellow-green background with outstanding manganese glaze for $4956. Even with some glaze loss, this pitcher saw lots of competitive bidding, with antiques dealer Lou Scranton of Killingworth, Connecticut, the underbidder. A redware bean pot from the Curry collection with a yellow glaze as the background color and manganese brown decorative swatches and a cover with similar decoration possibly originated in Connecticut. The bean pot had a single handle, large enough for easy grasping, and measured 6¼" x 5". It brought $1180 (est. $400/600).

The other reason for the packed hall was the assortment of 18th- and 19th-century American painted country furniture. For lovers of this period, this sale was a treat. A hard-to-find early New England cant-back cupboard in pine, 6'3½" tall, with old red paint and a gray interior, plate rails, and an H-hinge on the door below, sold for $3776 to a buyer at the sale. An early pine 19th-century four-drawer chest from New England (found in a house in Falmouth, Massachusetts) was offered. The chest had “exceptional original sponge grained paint” in red, brown, yellow, black, and green. It sold for $2006. A small-scale 18th-century counter-height country cupboard, which had been taken down to reveal the old blue paint underneath and with a scrubbed top and one door, sold for $590.

A 19th-century pine box with original contents was offered. The front was stenciled “J Sprague,” and inside was a leather-bound book, Gazetteer of the State of New Hampshire, Exeter, 1817. This box of historical ephemera, estimated at $500/700, sold for $2124.

For more information, check the Web site at (www.willishenryauctions.com) or phone the auction house at (781) 834-7774.

These scarce American Indian “Wampum,” carved shell beads strung on rawhide, had been deaccessioned from a New York museum. Estimated at $200/400, the 14½" long strand brought $2124.

Catalog notes indicated that this 19th-century blue pine apothecary had been “taken down” from white to old blue. It consisted of 24 small graduated drawers on a shaped cutout base with bootjack sides and measured 50½" x 35½" x 12". Estimated at $2500/4000, the cupboard sold at $9145.

This 25" x 18½" dramatic 19th-/early 20th-century game board was painted in blue, green, brown, cream, orange, and three shades of red and also had natural wood grain. There was a central blue square with a five-pointed star. There were lots of Internet bids on this, but ultimately it sold to a buyer at the sale for $3363 (est. $1000/1500).

This 18th-century white-painted hanging cupboard, 27" x 21" x 13", has a paneled door and butterfly hinges. It was delicately decorated with tulips, vines, and buds, and the initials “J G” were above. Bidding opened at $375, and with activity from the phone and Internet it sold for $3835 (est. $700/900).

Antiques dealer John Sideli of Wiscasset, Maine, won this outstanding 18th-century redware pitcher from the Curry collection with bold color and decoration. This pitcher had a strong yellow-green background glaze with manganese brown brushed striping and drips. Even with the “substantial” chipping on one side of the pitcher, the rarity of the form and color pushed the price on the pitcher, which measured 8" x 3½", to $4956.


Originally published in the March 2014 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2014 Maine Antique Digest

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