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The Mike and Marianne Wilson Sale

Karl H. Pass | June 1st, 2013

This cherry accountant’s desk dated 1841 was attributed to western Pennsylvania and has original ocher swirl paint decoration. It has a slant lid and four recessed panel doors with two panes each and rests on high, turned feet. “It has powerful paint,” stated the private buyer. It sold for $18,880.

The sale was strong in miniature furniture and assorted woodenware. Here is a miniature Soap Hollow paint-decorated lift-top chest stenciled “F.S. 1880.” It descended in the Yoder family of Big Valley in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. The varnished finish had crackled over time. It was bought by a private buyer for $7080.

Both of these countertop cigar-store wooden Indian figures were 12" high. They sold for $6195.

This rare and early redware squat-form bean pot with glazed interior and unglazed exterior, stamped “J. GLAZIER,” sold to a collector in the salesroom for $2596. John Glazier operated a pottery in the town of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, outside of State College. Signed examples are rare, especially with this stamp. He worked with his son Henry, who later took over the operation and began making stoneware around 1834. The 6¼" high pot had several small chips.

This large ovoid-form three-gallon Cowden & Wilcox stoneware crock, with what is typically referred to as fern leaf decoration, in very good condition, sold to a collector for $4425. It last sold for $3190 on April 1, 2000, at the first of four landmark catalog sales held by Conestoga Auction Company for the Clyde Youtz estate.

Conestoga Auction Company, Manheim, Pennsylvania

Photos courtesy Conestoga Auction Company

On Saturday, June 1, Conestoga Auction Company of Manheim, Pennsylvania, held an unreserved single-owner sale of 509 lots for collectors Mike and Marianne Wilson of McVeytown, Pennsylvania, a small town located in the central part of the state. A large crowd made up of dealers and collectors, many of whom had traveled from that region, attended. The Wilsons are downsizing their collection, which they amassed over a 30-year period, in large part during the 1990’s.

The mostly country offerings were strong in regional stoneware, predominantly Harrisburg pottery. Many pieces had rare, hard-to-find makers’ stamps. Excellent painted woodenware, spatterware china, various advertising items, and painted furniture, along with the stoneware, made up the bulk of the material for the all-day auction. “I think it held up well,” commented one advanced collector in the salesroom. “As with any sale and in any market, there will be highs and lows.”

In large part, the Wilsons bought during a very different time. Some things brought more than what they originally paid, and a number of things brought less. They had some unusual items that remain very collectible now, yet some categories have simply fallen out of favor with most people buying today. Certain china, including cut-sponge ironstone, which is extremely decorative, brought low prices. Much of the mocha and Gaudy Dutch brought moderate prices, as did most of the spatterware.

One of the stars in the category of country furniture was a paint-decorated cherry accountant’s desk, dated 1841, and with a western Pennsylvania attribution. The vivid ocher swirl decoration was original, and the desk had minor wear. It went to an active private buyer for $18,880 (includes buyer’s premium). A robin’s-egg blue Pennsylvania cupboard with two drawers and a high arching cutout backboard sold for $1180, and a green-painted dry sink with a drawer and two lower paneled doors sold for $708. Not everything was of Pennsylvania origin. A Silas Hoadley, Connecticut, flat-top tall clock in a boldly paint-decorated case sold for $9440.

Pennsylvania redware and stoneware also did well. There was considerable competition for certain pieces with rare makers’ marks. An early redware bean pot with glazed interior and unglazed exterior and stamped along the shoulder “J. Glazier” sold for $2596. John Glazier worked in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, and signed examples are very rare, especially with this stamp. Glazier worked with his son Henry, who later took over the operation and who began producing stoneware around 1834, according to regional scholar Jeannette Lasansky.

Some nice examples of Harrisburg stoneware were offered as well. Brothers Thomas and Daniel Willson operated a pottery in the capital city for a three-year period from 1852 to 1855. For a short, roughly 12-month, period in 1855, they were in partnership with John Young. Crocks with the stamp “Willson’s & Young” are difficult to find, and only eight or ten are known. The Wilsons had a “Willson’s & Young” one-and-a-half-gallon lidded semi-ovoid crock with tulip decoration that sold for $3835. They had a “T.H. Willson & Co.” pitcher, standing for Thomas H., with tulip decoration, which sold for $2950. Cowden & Wilcox was a longer-lived and more prolific pottery in Harrisburg. Stamped pieces from this operation were made for about a 30-year period from 1857 to 1887. A Cowden & Wilcox one-and-a-half-gallon crock with a decoration of a cluster of eight grapes sold for $1416, and a three-gallon Cowden & Wilcox crock with bird-in-wreath decoration sold for $2242. The captions showcase a variety of material from the sale.

Conestoga’s next catalog sale will be on September 14. For more information on this or upcoming sales contact Conestoga Auction Company at (717) 898-7284; Web site (

The well-known yet unusual man-in-the-moon design seen on this three-gallon Cowden & Wilcox stoneware jug is sought after by collectors. It sold for $7080 to Marietta, Pennsylvania, dealers Harry Hartman and Oliver Overlander II.

This 5¼" high chalk seated rabbit with some light sponge decoration and minor wear sold for $5900.

This five-color rainbow spatter pitcher with scrolled handle and bulbous body with flared base, 6¼" high, sold for $7080. It was in excellent condition.

Originally published in the September 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest

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