This 19th-century Wythe County, Virginia, pie safe is constructed primarily of cherry and measures 45½" x 53½" x 19". The two-board top is pine over the cherry case. Each end panel features two joined punched tins, and each door has four joined tins. All of the tins exhibit a central geometric repeating diamond pattern, with compass-drawn floral designs in the corners. The tins are in good condition. The catalog notes that all four feet are turned in a manner that is typical of work by Fleming Rich of the Rich brothers cabinetmakers. The safe is in overall very good condition, with some age-related shrinkage and an old refinished surface. The piece sold to a telephone bidder for $6325 (est. $2000/4000).
Neither of these 19th-century oil on canvas portraits is signed. According to family history, the subjects are Amos and A. E. Denham of Upperville, Virginia. The portraits are laid down on masonite, and there are notes dated 1943 regarding their conservation. The images are framed in what appear to be original period frames and are on their original 16" x 13¼" stretchers. The paintings are in very good conserved condition. The frames have had some repainting. The portraits sold to the telephone for $3738 (est. $2000/3000).
Ken Farmer Auctions & Appraisals, LLC, Radford, Virginia
by Walter C. Newman
Photos courtesy Ken Farmer Auctions & Appraisals, LLC
The weekend that included July 1 presented one of those lifetime learning experiences. As a vocabulary lesson, virtually everyone from the Mid-Atlantic through New England learned a new word: derecho. On Friday of that weekend, most of us experienced something that weathermen refer to as a "derecho event." I have since learned that "experiencing a derecho" often means "your power is out."
One of the few areas in southwestern Virginia that was not devastated by the Friday storms was Radford. Ken Farmer's estate and collector's auction came off as scheduled. The packed house was treated to an auction that included Farmer's usual wide range of items, but it was the camera crew that had many in the crowd buzzing.
The cameras were not there to document the aftermath of the storm. A crew from WGBH, Boston, was on hand to tape four auction segments for the series Market Warriors. Location producer Rebecca Donahue explained that the show pits the skills of four professional pickers who are supplied with a fixed amount of money and sent to flea markets and estate sales to purchase items that they feel will turn a profit at auction. WGBH has agreed to a 20-episode schedule, airing in 2012 and 2013. By the time the crew arrived at the Farmer facilities, 14 episodes had been completed.
Each week viewers follow the pickers as they make their purchases, then watch while the items are sold at auction. Ken Farmer is one of the five auction houses that were selected to sell the items. A 45-lot catalog addendum was produced that included the pickers' items. Those lots were divided into four groups to be sold at intervals during the sale, thereby providing the sale portion of four episodes.
If all of this sounds familiar, that's because it is. The show's concept is remarkably similar to David Dickinson's hugely successful BBC program Bargain Hunt, which aired during the early years of this century.
The Farmer sale proceeded with few surprises. The high lot of the sale came from one of the furniture forms that perform steadily. A sideboard-size Wythe County, Virginia, pie safe brought $6325, selling at one and a half times its high estimate (includes buyer's premium). The safe was in very good condition and thought to be from the Rich brothers' cabinetmaking shop.
Folk artwork sold very well, including two watercolors attributed to Frances (Fanny) Flora Palmer (1812-1876). One, a harbor scene, brought $2588; the other, a landscape featuring Rondout harbor, a tributary of the Hudson River, sold for $2185. Both prices were in the middle of the presale estimates.
A pair of anonymous 19th-century portraits, thought to be Amos and A.E. Denham of Upperville, Virginia, sold above the high estimate at $3738. The Denham portraits were the high lot of the folk art group.
As for the Market Warrior items, you will have to tune in to your local PBS station to see those results. The episodes taped at the Farmer sale will air beginning in December. Look for the toddler who bought the stamp collecting sheets.
For further information, contact Ken Farmer Auctions & Appraisals, LLC at (540) 639-0939 or on the Web at (www.kfauctions.com).
This Civil War-era militia sword is not marked and has some condition problems, but it was actively contested among several bidders. The eagle- head sword dates to 1850 and measures 36" in overall length. It retains its original bone handle. The wire wrapping is missing from the grip. There is significant pitting to the blade. The scabbard is damaged and has make-do repairs using modern electrical tape. There is an old label on the scabbard stating "This Sword was used by William Hale in the Civil War 1861-64. Given to L.M. Hale by his Aunt Mary Hale 1880." A determined bidder in the room bought the sword for $1265 (est. $200/300).
This copper and brass ship's lantern is one of the lots offered by the Market Warriors pickers. Considering that it is a flea-market find, little is known about the piece. It appears to be from the early 20th century, and is marked "Seahorse/ GB/ Trade Mark/ 30022". The lamp measures 13" x 12" x 12" and has a hinged lid and mounting hasps. The globe appears to be undamaged. The lantern sold for $288 (est. $200/400).
Over the years we have seen quite a few antique beds cross the block at various auctions. Usually they sell with little fanfare. This full-size American Empire example proved the exception to the rule. The circa 1850 mahogany bed is heavily carved and decorated with acanthus leaves and rope-turned posts. Pineapple finials cap the 92" high posts. The bed was hotly contested and sold for $1955 (est. $300/400).
This 19th-century folky watercolor on paper depicts a large brick Federal house with various outbuildings and fenced areas. The piece is not signed, and the property is not identified, but newspaper clippings on the back indicate that this may be Rose Hill in Upperville, Virginia, and that the owners at the time were Thomas and Kathryn Slater. The watercolor is matted to 5¼" x 11½" (sight size) and presented in a walnut frame, which has an added decorative scalloped feature. The piece is soiled, stained, and exhibits several tears. The watercolor was hotly contested and eventually sold to the telephone for $1955 (est. $500/800).
This circa 1830 pillar-and-scroll clock has a lower tablet that is reverse-painted with a view of Mount Vernon, framed with a band of what appear to be dogwood blossoms. The painted dial displays Roman numerals and features floral corner decoration. There is loss to one of the elements of the pediment, as well as to one foot. The clock measures 30" x 16½" x 4". In spite of the condition problems, this clock ticked off for $633 (est. $300/400).
Here is a two-piece woven rug, joined along the center line. The rug dates to 1890 and is assumed to be Arapaho. The rug is in various shades of red, blue, white, and green. The piece measures 49" x 88" and is in overall good condition with some staining and a few small holes, as well as a 1½" square repair. It is believed that the rug was purchased as a souvenir in the Southwest while the owner was on a cattle buying trip in 1890. The rug drew considerable interest from several bidders and sold for $2588 (est. $300/500).
This pair of northeastern Native American moccasins, circa 1900, is perhaps Chippewa. They exhibit a fine floral-beaded decoration and a sinew-sewn hide. The moccasins are in good worn condition. They measure 9¼" x 4". An Internet buyer purchased them for $826 (est. $500/700).