Soap Hollow blanket chest by Peter K. Thomas, dated 1862, poplar with its original stenciled decoration and red ground, trimmed in black and yellow, 28" high x 47½" wide, missing escutcheon inlays, replaced period glass pulls, $14,460.
Decorated Chippendale blanket chest, Pennsylvania or Virginia, dated 1791, pine and poplar, original paint, 27" high x 50" wide, some paint loss, $5121, previously sold at Garth’s in March 2011 for $17,625.
Paint-decorated Chippendale blanket chest, Pennsylvania, dated 1807, poplar, 24" high x 49½" wide, original paint and hardware, most of the paint worn off the lid, $12,050.
Shooting gallery rooster target, Wurfflein Company, Philadelphia, early 20th century, cast iron, old or original paint with some wear, 15" high, $7050. The articulated target has a sheet-metal chick that pops up when the bull’s-eye is hit.
Running horse weathervane, probably Ethan Allen by Harris & Son, Boston, full-bodied copper with a zinc head, late 19th century, 21" high x 44" long, $6463.
Four Generations by Abel George (Buck) Warshawsky (1883-1962), oil on canvas, unsigned, depicting four women making lace, 43" x 48½" plus frame, $31,725.
Washer Women on the Banks of the Loire by Frank Nelson Wilcox (1887-1964), oil on canvas, signed and dated ’26, showing French women washing clothes in the Loire River, 28" x 35" plus frame, $4700.
Apothecary or hardware chest with shelf, pine in old blue paint, 19th century, base is 37" high x 92" wide, shelf is 17½" high, $9400.
Photos courtesy Garth’s
There was no looking back when Garth’s Auctions held its country Americana sale on March 16 in Delaware, Ohio. “It’s sort of game day for us,” said Amelia Jeffers, president of the auction house. “We’re interested and focused on that auction for that day.”
It would have been easy to look over her shoulder, glancing at January, when Garth’s had one of its strongest sales in some time. That single-owner collection featured a mix of painted furniture, advertising, and folk art. But that was then. This was now.
“The reality is we know re-creating that single-owner auction magic you get, the kind of Americana you have in early January, that’s not going to come every auction.”
Nonetheless, there was a bit of déjà vu at the March sale, which featured a solid selection of Americana. What set the auctions apart, however, was a grouping of books at the end of the day during the March event.
From the session of early and historic books, the top pick was An Account of Expeditions to the Sources of the Mississippi by Zebulon Pike, published by C. & A. Conrad & Company in 1810. The book was bound in modern leather and featured a portrait, six maps, and three charts. It sold for $8225 (includes buyer’s premium).
Highlighting the auction was Four Generations, a painting by Ohio artist Abel George (Buck) Warshawsky (1883-1962) that depicts four women making lace. The unsigned 43" x 48½" oil on canvas sold for $31,725.
“This wasn’t a gangbusters auction, but we were really pleased with the Cleveland school art,” Jeffers said.
In addition to the Warshawsky, Cleveland school art also included the oil on canvas Washer Women on the Banks of the Loire by Frank Nelson Wilcox (1887-1964). It was signed and dated ’26, 28" x 35", and depicted French women washing clothes in the Loire River. It sold for $4700.
Furniture had a mixed showing, led by a Soap Hollow blanket chest by Peter K. Thomas, dated 1862. The poplar chest with original stenciled decoration on a red ground, trimmed in black and yellow, realized $14,460. Also of Pennsylvania origin, a paint-decorated Chippendale poplar blanket chest dated 1807, having pinwheels flanking a central tombstone-shaped panel with the date and a name, all on bracket feet, sold above estimate for $12,050.
There also were some examples of fluctuations in the marketplace. A paint-decorated Chippendale blanket chest from Pennsylvania or Virginia, dated 1791, having three arched panels of potted flowers over three drawers, all on bracket feet, sold for $5121. It had previously passed through Garth’s in March 2011 when it realized $17,625.
According to Jeffers, the blanket chest didn’t make its reserve in 2011 but sold after the auction to a retail buyer. This time around it was offered without reserve, and bidding stopped considerably short of the previous price.
Cast-iron mechanical banks also saw mixed action. The top examples sold were a Magic Bank made by the J. & E. Stevens Company that sold for $5423 (est. $4500/6000) and a Clown Bust by Chamberlin & Hill, England, at $5288 (est. $5000/10,000). A Calamity bank by J. & E. Stevens, depicting three football players, estimated at $18,000/25,000, went unsold.
The banks came from a collection that included a mix of antiques. “The banks were one piece that he wanted to let go of now,” Jeffers said. The economy and changing collecting habits both affected the bidding.
Other cast-iron items included shooting gallery targets, which did well at the January auction and continued to see active interest this time around. Clearly in bidders’ sights was an early 20th-century rooster, 15" high, made by the Wurfflein Company of Philadelphia. A sheet-metal chick popped up when the bull’s-eye was hit. The target sold for $7050.
Folk art of a different variety included full-bodied weathervanes in copper with zinc heads. A running horse by Harris & Son, Boston, 44" long, sold for $6463; a cow, 28" long, brought $6169; and a bull, 34" long, $5581.
Jeffers said 67% of the auction sold within or above estimates. Only three items were left unsold because of the reserves. She also noted that Garth’s continues to gain 8% to 10% new bidders per auction.
“There was a great in-house audience, even for the books, which I thought was going to be a more challenging category for us,” she said. “There was a lot of Internet activity and some in house.”
For more information, contact Garth’s at (740) 362-4771 or visit (www.garths.com).
Portfolio Two: Twelve Photographs by Pirkle Jones, each image (one shown) mounted and with a dedication page, numbered 31 of 110 copies, in a gilt-stamped clamshell box, self-published, 1968, $4994.
An Account of Expeditions to the Sources of the Mississippi... by Zebulon Pike, published by C. & A. Conrad & Company, 1810, $8225.
Originally published in the June 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest