The leaves may be falling as autumn hits Pennsylvania, but auction prices across all categories seem to have caught an updraft. Pook & Pooks largest catalog ever was received with such enthusiasm youd think the pages were sprinkled with pumpkin spice. Out of the 1,006 lots offered, 981 sold, yielding a 97.5 percent sell-through rate. In-house live, phone, and absentee bidders numbered 358, while cyberspace bidding stole the show with 1,931 bidders registered across two platforms.
Philadelphia Chippendale Mahogany Pie Crust Tea Table
Three Days Of Sales For Pook & Pook
Philadelphia Chippendale Mahogany Pie Crust Tea Table
Session one began at 6 p.m. on Oct. 3, following a special extended preview and reception. There were 119 lots under the gavel that night, starting with 14 lots of wine from a Berks County estate. The consignors proceeds from the sale of this wine will be donated to The Shakespeare Festival in Center Valley, Pa. One lot of 12 bottles of Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1982 brought $7,930. The oenophiles bid strong on a lot of 12 bottles of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild Pauillac 1982, which brought $14,640.
The first session continued with a group of over 100 lots of ancient art and antiquities from a Pennsylvania estate. Most of the lots came with extensive paperwork documenting their provenance, and all were examined by an ancient art specialist in addition to Pook & Pooks own appraisal team. The collection was offered roughly in date order, starting with Egyptian pre-dynastic pieces from about 3000 B.C., followed by Luristan bronze daggers, ca. 1500-800 B.C., and then Bronze Age European pieces, followed by Luristan weapons, 1500-800 B.C. Then from the era of around 4th c. B.C. to 7th c. B.C. there were Cypriot, Messapian, Mycenean, Corinthian, Villanovan, and Etruscan objects, with an emphasis on pottery pieces. Bronze bowls with Near Eastern origins followed, dated to around the 1st c. B.C., as well as Attic black figure trefoil oinochoes. An Apulian red figure oinochoe caught the eye of at least a couple Greek enthusiasts, with the bidding ending at $8,125. A Roman silver kantharos, ca. 1st or 2nd c. A.D., fetched $6,710, while a Greek bronze pilos helmet, ca. 4th-3rd c. B.C., brought a healthy $4,636. A plethora of Roman iron gladii traversed the auction block, all dated to approximately 1st or 2nd c. A.D. and selling for around $1,830 each. Multiple Apulian pieces came in toward the end of the night, including an Apulian red figure pyxis with elaborate decoration from the 4th c. B.C. that garnered a final price of $3,172. Not surprising, an Apulian red figure fish plate, complete with a fabulous image of a squid, came in strong at $4,880. Perhaps one of the biggest surprises, though not the highest price by any means, was the gold Viking ring, whose interest ranged from phones to internet to absentee bids and back again. It finally settled at $2,928.
Session two started out strong with the Americana and international material being led by the collection of Daniel and Mary Jane Sheppard of Lutherville, Md. The couple began collecting antiques in the early 1980s, focusing on American furniture and paintings. First up in their collection was a rare and important Charleston, S.C., Chippendale mahogany French chair, ca. 1770, which soared past its $20,000-$40,000 until the bidding finally ceased at a realized price of $85,400. Highlights from their collection included a Philadelphia Chippendale dressing table, ca. 1765 ($19,520), a pair of New York Chippendale mahogany dining chairs, ca. 1770 ($5,124), and an important Philadelphia Chippendale games table ($29,280). Various other pieces of Pennsylvania furniture, art, and decorative accessories rounded out this grouping. A Hudson River landscape attributed to Alvan Fisher was a surprise sleeper hit, bringing twice its estimate when it came in at $4,636. A Queen Anne walnut stool also surprised everyone when it came in at ten times its low estimate, bringing $4,000. The collection concluded with a group of New England items and a handful of English and continental pieces of fine art and decorative accessories. The star of the Sheppard collection, however, was an important Philadelphia Chippendale mahogany pie crust tea table, ca. 1750, which more than doubled its high estimate to realize $97,600.
The majority of day two was filled with pieces from the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, with a few notable exceptions. The second session continued with items from the estate of August Gus Knapp of Hudson, Ohio. His collection included a variety of Pennsylvania and New England furniture and decorative accessories. A Pennsylvania chalkware owl was one of the highlights. Estimated at $500-$1,000, the bidding took off and landed at $1,625. The other surprise was a New England painted basswood work table. Estimated at $800-$1,200, it sold for $3,250. A Pennsylvania painted bellows with its original vibrant red surface and makers label for Henry Porter, Philadelphia, huffed and puffed to $1,220.
Next up was an eclectic Pennsylvania collection of advertising and contemporary art. Highlights of this unusual collection included a scarce Devoe Paints & Varnishes tin lithograph advertising flange sign ($3,904) and an unusual painted pine gaming wheel ($2,125). A collection of spatterware china brought strong prices, including two red spatter plates with stars that brought $2,250. Pook & Pook was up to their eyeballs in William and Mary wainscot chairs, some with arms, some without, all finding new homes. A very good Pennsylvania maple and burl veneer dresser cabinet garnered a lot of interest. The estimate of $1,500-$2,500 was beat when the piece sold for $3,660.
A Lancaster County, Pa., painted pine two-part architectural corner cupboard, ca. 1785, with a provenance including Dr. and Mrs. Donald Shelley, Titus Geesey, and Edgar and Charlotte Sittig, sold for $23,180. A large painted splint feather basket offered in the second session also took the audience by surprise. Estimated at $300-500, it sold for $3,416. A carved and painted Native American cigar store Indian princess figure, probably by New York artist Samuel Robb, was expected to bring $5,000-$8,000 and came in at $11,590. A surprise to those who appreciate samplers and needlework was an unfinished Massachusetts silk-on-linen sampler. Originally expected to bring $400-$700, this piece from the estate of Charlene Sussel sold for $3,172. A credenza, or room divider, by American artist George Nakashima, complete with a free form top and two pandanus cloth sliding doors out of a Bethesda, Md., estate, came in at $15,860. The final surprise of day two was an Anna Pottery stoneware frog inkwell, which brought over three times its mean estimate, coming in at $6,100.
Small tables seemed to steal the show. An unusual looking painted pine work table with a single drawer and scalloped sides brought $3,660 (est. $500-$1,000). A small Pennsylvania walnut tavern table came in at $3,172 (est. $400-$800), and a Queen Anne painted pine and poplar splay leg table with an old scrubbed blue surface came in at $6,710 (est. $500-$1,000). A diminutive New England salmon painted pine tavern table brought $2,375 ($400-$800), and a Pennsylvania walnut splay leg stand almost quadrupled its low estimate to bring $7,930 (est. $2,000-$3,000). On Bidsquare alone it had 29 bids.
Session three, the final session, took place on Oct. 5, with a selection of American fine art. Work from artists featured include that of Ernie Eugene Barnes Jr. ($34,160); Franklin Courter ($7,500); Moses Soyer ($1,342, $1,220, and $2,684); and Rockwell Kent ($1,464, $1,037, $671, and $5,000). European artists followed with pieces by William J. Webbe ($21,960); Nicola Simbari ($1,342 and $1,220); Jean Dubuffet ($4,500 and $6,250); Francisco de Goya y Lucientes ($9,760); and Pablo Picasso ($11,590). The art finished up with the collection of Ambassador Robert and Mayrose Stausz-Hupe, the highlight of this collection being a work titled Four Pears by Eliot Hodgkin ($29,280). This piece will be included in an upcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist.
The sale continued with a variety of exciting consignments. A rare miniature Pennsylvania Chippendale walnut slant front desk brought $14,640. A Pennsylvania walnut spice chest skipped past its high estimate of $2,000 and landed at $6,875. A Massachusetts Chippendale mahogany secretary with an oxbow case and ball and claw feet brought $12,200. A Connecticut Pilgrim century joined oak Sunflower chest, ca. 1700, heavily carved and decorated, brought $11,590.
Next up were 20 lots of glass, including pieces from the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company, Stiegel type examples, and a number of ribbed glass flasks. The highlight of this grouping were the midwestern pieces, including two glass scroll flasks that went for $2,928.
A pair of English silver covered vegetable dishes, 1817-18, sold for $4,636. Coin silver flatware, teapots, creamers, childs mugs, and ladles continued the auction. Four fabulous English Britannia silver candlesticks from a New York estate brought a whopping $20,000. That was followed up by an English silver tankard, 1693-94, that brought $6,710.
A carved and painted eagle wall plaque by John Haley Bellamy with a banner that read Dont Give Up the Ship didnt give up the bid, coming in at $14,640. Among the more intriquing results was for a painting of crowds watching a soccer match by Haitian artist Philomé Obin. The auctioneer did not call offsides when it realized $20,740. The sale concluded with a selection of carpets, including a Serapi example that brought $9,375.
After three days of auction, the total realized came in at $1,977,596. The catalog with prices realized can be viewed at www.pookandpook.com.
Pook & Pook is located at 463 E. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown, Pa.
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