All-original R.J. Horner nine-tube mahogany grandfather clock decorated with carved cross-armed full-bodied maidens down both sides of the case’s front, $86,250.
Circa 1880 Pottier and Stymus Neo-Grec ormolu and porcelain-mounted sideboard with parcel-gilt and ebonized marquetry inlay, $63,250.
Signed George Jones 10'6" monumental walnut regulator clock with carved deer head and mercury pendulum, $63,250.
Renaissance Revival center table with marquetry inlaid top, $31,050.
Mahogany kneehole partner’s desk by R.J. Horner with carved leaning women and Atlas figures at the corners, winged creatures, fruit, vines, and mythical open-mouthed creatures as drawer handles, $20,125.
R. J. Horner carved oak banquet table with carved leaning female figures and leaves in place extending the table to 17' long, $32,200. All leaves are carved to match. The detail view shows the carved winged leaning figures supporting the Horner banquet table. The heavy table’s skirt is also carved with vines and scrollwork.
The sofa, 50½" x 69", with carved vining grapes and scrollwork, from the three-piece J. & J. W. Meeks parlor set in the Hartford pattern, $17,250. The armchair measures 47½" x 27" x 24"; the side chair is 42½" x 19" x 19".
Gasolier attributed to Cornelius & Baker, original frosted and etched glass shades, $13,800.
Duffner & Kimberly hanging lamp in the Wisteria pattern in various shades of purples and greens, $29,900.
Hal Hunt Auctions, Northport, Alabama
Photos courtesy Hal Hunt Auctions
Success speaks volumes. Just ask auctioneer/owner Hal Hunt of Hal Hunt Auctions. When this auctioneer from Alabama holds a sale, he does so his way—sans phone bids, sans live Internet bidding. OK, Hunt accepts absentee bids, but otherwise if you want to buy what Hunt is selling, you need to be in attendance. Non-believers feel that Hunt is doing himself a disservice. How can anyone run a successful auction without all the modern conveniences available today to bring buyer and merchandise together?
Hunt does just fine, thank you.
Hal Hunt Auctions’ “American Antique Museum Auction” held February 23 found more than 250 bidders from 22 states in attendance to buy what it was selling. It had a sell-through rate of 96% and prices for numerous lots reaching the five-figure mark, so it seems that Hal Hunt has this auction business thing figured out.
And it makes sense that he does. Hunt’s roots delve deep in the world of auctioneering. His father, auctioneer Harry Hunt Sr., established his Louisiana auction house in the 1970’s. Hal grew up working his father’s auctions. He credits these experiences for instilling in him the good business practices that contribute to the success of Hal Hunt Auctions today. These experiences help Hunt and his family put on grand-scale events like this February’s auction.
More than 600 lots of mid- to late 19th-century American antiques were up for sale, including the partial contents of one Ohio collection that was nothing short of spectacular. Described by Hunt as being from “one of America’s most prominent private antiques collectors,” the offerings consisted of Renaissance and Rococo furniture, Gallé art glass, Duffner & Kimberly chandeliers, gasoliers, porcelain, R.J. Horner furniture, and a wonderful collection of antique garden cast iron. Also included were 150 items from a 40-year collection from Orange County, California. Hunt is known for unearthing fabulous American Renaissance Revival examples, and the items offered at this event did not disappoint.
“Collectors often think that the heavily carved American Renaissance pieces that we sold here are more readily found in the South,” Hunt stated. “This auction proved such pieces can be found all over the country—from Ohio to California.”
Consignors of such pieces are smart to seek out Hunt to liquidate their collections. “I am a collector myself, and consignors appreciate that fact,” Hunt explained. “I know what I am selling. I really like these pieces, and I think this makes both the consignors and the buyers comfortable during the sale.”
Hunt felt that the results of the February event were the best he has experienced since 2009. “It was a great collection that sold very well because it included a large quantity of high-quality pieces,” Hunt explained. But that’s not to say there weren’t some areas that were a bit weak. “Belter, Rosewood, and Meeks are soft in the marketplace, as they have been,” he stated. “Ornate carved R.J. Horner, however, was strong.”
An all-original R.J. Horner nine-tube mahogany tall clock that stood at an intimidating 10' tall was outstanding and sold for $86,250 (includes buyer’s premium). In excellent condition, the clock was heavily carved down both sides of the case’s front with two cross-armed full-bodied female figures, and winged creatures adorned either side of the clock’s face. The bonnet consisted of intricate open carving of vines along with two draped ladies. This massive timepiece had Elliott works and three weights.
“This was a very impressive clock,” Hunt stated. The fact that it was R.J. Horner sealed the deal. “Collectors are beginning to realize that just because a piece is carved and has griffins, it doesn’t mean it is a R.J. Horner. But when it is a Horner, the value can soar.”
According to the Rare Victorian Web site (www.rarevictorian.com), “Robert J. Horner was working in New York as a clerk in the lace business of Mills and Gibb when in 1886 he decided to establish R.J. Horner & Co. on East 23rd Street.”
“R.J. Horner used the best mahogany and quartersawn oak hardwood for its furniture, leaving behind heavily carved masterpieces in the form of chairs, sofas, complete parlor sets, hall trees, benches, partner tables, and dining sets. The carvings draw upon an abundance of themes and patterns, such as caryatids, winged gargoyles, northwind faces, cherubs, man-of-the-mountain, and winged griffins.”
Another R.J. Horner piece that sold was a carved oak banquet table with leaning winged women figures at each corner. The table, which extends to 17' long, realized $32,200. “Each of the leaves is carved to match the table,” Hunt explained.
A mahogany kneehole partner’s desk by R.J. Horner made $20,125. Heavily carved with leaning women and Atlas figures, this desk measured 68" long x 36" wide.
Pieces by Pottier and Stymus, a New York cabinetmaking company active between 1859 and 1910, saw some spirited bidding. According to the Antiquarian Traders Web site (www.antiquevictorianfurniture.us), “The New York City firm of Pottier and Stymus was one of the premier cabinetmaking firms of the late nineteenth century in the United States. In 1875 alone it made more than $1.1 million and had 750 employees. The firm produced interiors for private and commercial clients both here and abroad, but since only a few objects are clearly marked, identifying its furniture is difficult. Pottier and Stymus made furniture in the Neo-Grec, Renaissance Revival, and Egyptian Revival styles.”
A Pottier and Stymus Neo-Grec ormolu and porcelain- mounted sideboard came in at $63,250. Having parcel-gilt and ebonized marquetry inlay, this sideboard was thought to be circa 1880 and measured about 103" high x 89" wide x 22" deep.
Though Hunt felt that pieces by J. & J. W. Meeks were undervalued, a three-piece laminated rosewood parlor set did well when it stopped at $17,250. Done in the Hartford pattern, the set included a loveseat, side chair, and armchair.
Lighting also made up a major portion of the auction. A monumental pair of Victorian gilt bronze ten-light candelabras attributed to Henry N. Hooper, Boston, 1845-68, each standing 37" high, sold for $13,800. A Duffner & Kimberly hanging lamp done in the Wisteria pattern went to $29,900; and a matched pair of Handel lamps with tree trunk bases, signed on both the shade and base of each lamp, sold for $5175 each.
By steering clear of on-line bidding, Hunt feels that he has more control over his business. He believes his customers are just fine with attending his auctions or buying via absentee bids. “I work very hard acquiring great merchandise to offer my customers, and they know this,” Hunt explained.
“American-made heavily carved furniture is very desirable right now,” Hunt stated. “And my family has worked hard at making it so our auction house is known as the place to go to for the highest quality of this type of merchandise,” Hunt added while speaking on his cell phone. He was en route to look over another great collection that he hopes will be crossing Hal Hunt Auctions’ podium in the near future. “I love what I do,” Hunt said.
For more information, contact Hal Hunt Auctions at (205) 333-2517 or check the Web site (www.halhunt.com).
Signed Miller Iron Company, Rhode Island, cast-iron planter with tree trunk base with roots, 36" x 46", $7475. The detail shows the manufacturer’s mark for the Miller Iron Company, Providence, Rhode Island.
One of a matched pair of gilt-decorated Sèvres vases decorated with scenes of Napoleon, 35" high, $19,550 for the pair.
Originally published in the June 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest