Garth's Auction marked a milestone on May 14 with its 10th annual edition of the Ohio Valley Session.
Garth's Early American Auction And 10th Annual Ohio Valley Session
Regional Pottery And Glass Ruled The Day
The unique, and always much anticipated auction was designed to showcase antiques from the so-called Ohio Valley region, which encompasses not only the Buckeye State, but also western Pennsylvania, northern Kentucky and eastern Indiana.
Since Garth's (Delaware, Ohio) is an easy drive for many collectors in that region, most of the bidding typically takes place in the room, with only a small percentage done on the internet.
And the May 14 session was no exception, with about three-fourths of the seats in Garth's sales room filled with collectors who generally knew one another, making for something of a reunion-type atmosphere.
Auctioneer Amelia Jeffers said that 90 percent of the items in this year's auction "came from deep, old collections," which made the "milestone event" all the sweeter.
Top money in the 188-lot session was brought by a Wayne County, Ohio, farm scene sketched in 1888 by itinerant Swiss artist Ferdinand Brader. The "Residence of Joseph and Anna Gindelsperger, Baughman Township, Wayne County, Ohio," measuring 38-by-57-inches, it fetched a winning bid of $14,000. The drawing, which had greatly darkened with age and appeared quite brittle, was sold along with an Aug. 28, 1846 printed and hand-watercolored taufshein for Mary Gindlesperger of Baughman Township. Ferdinand Brader's artwork was the subject of a major exhibition and accompanying catalogue at the Canton, Ohio Museum of Art in 2014.
A pleasant surprise in the sale, Jeffers said, was a Pittsburgh diamond design cobalt footed master salt. Measuring three inches high and 2.25 inches in diameter, it carried a pre-sale estimate of $200 to $400. However, in spirited and tenacious bidding, it reached a sales price of $4,900, creating quite a stir in the room.
But if that piece of glass fared unexpectedly well, another lot, pictured on the cover of the catalogue, did unexpectedly poorly. That piece was a monumental carved sandstone mantel with a superbly detailed bald eagle worked in high relief, flanked by serpent-entwined trees and almost three-dimensional urns. The legs of the mantel had vining bellflowers which wound their way upwards and across the pediment. The piece was also elaborately signed and dated by the carver, "Wm. V, S, Roberts, 1827.
The fabulous piece had been removed many years ago from an early home on old Route 22 near Cadiz in Harrison County, Ohio. Estimated at $8,000 to $12,000, the mantel only garnered a winning bid of $3,700, leaving many in the sales room stunned.
The problem with the piece appeared to stem from the fact that it was badly stained overall from oil.
Amelia said that when she and her husband Jeff Jeffers went to pick up the piece, it was stored in an outbuilding and covered with wet outdoor carpeting to protect it. She said it was anticipated that the stone would dry out and the water staining would vanish. However, what turned out to be oil staining appeared permanent, with no one being able to offer a good solution on how to remove it.
Moreover, said Amelia, many would-be bidders were frightened by the nearly six-foot width of the pediment and concerned it might break during a move.
Amelia also expressed some disappointment with the prices realized for a trio of monumental ceramic jars made by the Homer Laughlin Co. of East Liverpool, Ohio, in the late 1880s. The classical-style jars, 19 inches tall, utilized pate-sur-pate technique of building up successive layers of slip - a process that would have taken months - to retain the translucence so sought after in porcelain of the day.
One of the jars (est. $12,000-$14,000) sold for $8,000, another (est. $10,000-$12,000) went for $7,000, and the third (est. $4,000 to $8,000) sold for $2,800.
Amelia said the jars are in an odd category of ceramics, being "neither fish nor fowl." She said the pieces "fall into an academic category with a thin market," but she was pleased all of them sold.
The auction included numerous utilitarian pieces of stoneware made by one of Ohio's first potters, Samuel Routson, at his potteries in Doylestown (1832-42) and later Wooster, Wayne County (1852-82). Those wares, as well as numerous early 20th century art pottery pieces made by the Houghton Pottery of Dalton, also in Wayne County, were from the collection of the late Nellie Momchilov of Jeromesville, Ohio.
Most of those pieces sold substantially above estimate, with a few possibly setting records for the forms.
Of particular note was a one-gallon cobalt-decorated jug made the Graham and Hower pottery in Doylestown which briefly succeeded the Routson pottery there. Estimated at $200 to $400, the jug soared to $1,650 in competitive bidding.
The sale included more than a dozen pieces by Ohio folk art sandstone carver Ernest "Popeye" Reed (1919-85). Standout pieces of Reed's carvings included a baby with its toes in its mouth which sold for $1,000, a footlong pig that went for a reasonable $350, and a standing nude woman that realized a winning bid of $925.
Furniture included two decorated Soap Hollow blanket chests and a Soap Hollow chest of drawers, all of which sold within estimates. A two-drawer grain-painted blanket chest dated 1881 with an interesting tombstone-arched panel between the drawers sold for $3,100. A reddish-orange sponge grained blanket chest having a lavish gold-stenciled floral urn on the front went for $1,900. The three-over-four drawer chest of drawers retained its original red and black graining on the sides, but most of the decoration had been stripped from the front. It sold for $2,000.
A cherry flatwall cupboard with raised panels on the front and sides (est. $500-$700) rocketed to a winning bid of $2,300, while a really nice Ohio 16-pane, one-piece corner cupboard with vibrant faux tiger maple graining went begging at $700 (est. $900-$1,500).
The auction included a large selection of Pittsburgh glass, which Amelia thought sold very well.
A pair of eye-catching cobalt-accented pillar mold decanters sold for $1,300, within estimate; a pillar mold pitcher sold for $500 (est. $600-$900), and a pillar mold sugar bowl brought $400, high estimate. Two pieces of blown clear Pittsburgh flint glass - a cream pitcher and pedestal sugar - sold for $3,000 (est. 200-$400). Faring less well was a pillar mold covered apothecary jar which was knocked down for $300, against an estimate of $600-$1,200.
A deep amber-color Zanesville pint glass flask with eagle and farmer's arms went for $1,000 (est. $400-$600) and an amber blown glass flask with 18 ribs went for $700 (est. $150-$350).
Asked what she hoped customers would take away from the Ohio Valley Session experience, Amelia responded, "That we get high prices for our clients."
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