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Few Lots but Choice Goods

Don Johnson | April 26th, 2014


Schrank from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, circa 1780, walnut, 89" high x 78" wide, a small repair to one foot, $6380.


An eight-gallon cobalt- decorated double-handled jug, impressed with the date 1865, attributed to northeast Ohio, undamaged, $1430.


Pair of 1849 samplers by sisters Clara and Elizabeth Lessig of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, each with an alphabet, house, and pine trees, approximately 16" x 12", sold with other family memorabilia for $5750.


Candy container with a papier-mâché and mohair rabbit on a box with a drawer and with a crank that turns the carrot, cardboard and wood construction, 5½" high, $1430.


New Hampshire sampler signed “Abigail Dutton Jaffrey 1826,” alphabet, religious verse, trees, basket of flowers, vining floral border, original mahogany frame, $1980.

Davies Auctions, Lafayette, Indiana

It was a first for Davies Auctions. And it turned out OK.

The April 26 auction held by Doug Davies in Lafayette, Indiana, was his inaugural venture into selling live on the Internet. “We’ll just see how it goes,” Davies said shortly before the event began.

Assistant auctioneer Kenny Synesael had urged Davies to jump to the virtual platform for some time. “I’ve been dragging my feet for years,” Davies admitted.

The material offered was a good fit for on-line bidding. A relatively short sale with 180 cataloged lots from five consignors, it featured a variety of good smalls, including samplers and miniature paint-decorated boxes.

One area dealer noted, “That’s the smallest number of lots I’ve seen at one of Doug’s auctions for a long time. But there’s some pretty choice stuff, too.”

One of the top lots of the day was a pair of 1849 samplers created by nine-year-old Elizabeth Lessig and her eight-year-old sister, Clara Lessig, of Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Each needlework featured alphabets, houses, and trees. Offered as part of the lot was a hand-tinted daguerreotype of the sisters holding hands as one sat and the other stood; a pair of pen-and-ink and watercolor portraits of the girls’ parents; two copies of The Lady’s Tablet of Friendship; and a pamphlet from the Young Ladies Seminary at Lititz, Pennsylvania, in which the girls were listed as students during the 1855-56 school year. Aided by strong on-line bidding, the grouping sold to a buyer on the Internet for $5750 (includes buyer’s premium).

An 1826 sampler by Abigail Dutton of Jaffrey, New Hampshire, realized $1980. It had alphabets, a religious verse, trees, and flowers growing in a pot or basket, all within a wide border of vining flowers.

The best of the miniature paint-decorated boxes was a dome-top example in pine, having its original design of buildings and trees, 4¾" high x 7¼" wide, selling for $825. One in mustard paint with red trim, also showing houses and trees, 2½" high x 4" wide, realized $776.25, while a box in blue paint with a floral decoration on the top and all four sides, 4" high x 7½" wide, brought $550.

Among the children’s furniture, a blanket chest on a bracket base, in bubbled mustard paint, the interior partially lined with old wallpaper, 13" high x 20" wide, said to be of Ohio origin, made $935. A miniature paint-decorated blanket chest in old red paint with a repeating sponged design of stylized leaves and flowers in mustard, 7½" high x 13¼" wide, sold for $907.50.

Dominating the full-size furniture was a walnut schrank from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, circa 1780, that sold for $6380. Standing 89" high x 78" wide, it had a molded cornice, two paneled doors, three drawers, and ogee bracket feet. A New Hampshire seven-drawer high chest on a bracket base, in birch with an old dark surface, 66" high x 36" wide, topped at $4840.

Signed Indiana furniture is uncommon. A relatively large, paint-decorated bench stenciled “John Sieber/ Burnettsville/ White Co. Ind.” under the seat sold for $605. The piece had a shaped crest, three wide splats, a plank seat, and turned legs, all in a light-colored paint with grapes and vines.

From Cincinnati, Ohio, a Luman Watson tall-case clock in a simple cherry case, having a signed wooden dial and a 30-hour wooden movement, 92" high, was bid to $3190.

Along the way there were also some surprises. A circa 1830 oil on canvas outdoor portrait of an architect holding a folding rule, an unfinished brick building in the background, 11½" x 8¾", relined, went to an Internet buyer for $2760. A candy container made of cardboard and wood featured a papier-mâché rabbit having a mohair head and ears. In a red jacket and white pants, the rabbit sat on a box-like platform with a drawer in the base and a cylinder coming out of the top. As a crank was turned, a carrot moved in a circle under the rabbit’s mouth. The device sold for $1430.

In large part, it was business as usual throughout the day, with Internet bidders playing a significant role on many of the better lots. At the end of it all, Davies wasn’t ready to take every sale on line, but this first one proved the merits of attracting on-line collectors.

“We might do it for three or four or five sales a year,” he said. “We’ll just see how it goes.”

For more information, call (765) 449-4515 or e-mail <dougdavies1@earthlink.net>.


Portrait of an architect holding a folding ruler, an unfinished brick building in the background, oil on canvas, circa 1830, 11½" x 8¾", relined, $2760.


Ohio child’s blanket chest in bubbled mustard paint, 13" high x 20" wide, $935.


New Hampshire seven-drawer high chest in birch, 66" high x 36" wide, small repair to one drawer lip, $4840; paint-decorated dome-top box, possibly Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 11½" high x 25" wide, $990.


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

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