Pook & Pook January Auction

. January 10, 2010

Pook & Pook Inc.’s January 15 and 16 auction catalogue reads more like a major museum inventory than an auction catalogue, covering literally all aspects of American history.

Friday night at the Downingtown, Pennsylvania, auction house begins with the collection of furniture, oriental rugs, and paintings from the legendary Elinor Gordon’s Villanova home. Included will be a rare pair of New York chairs, a Philadelphia compass seat chair, as well as paintings by Tait, Bishop, Enneking and an N.C. Wyeth landscape of his own farm.

A large collection of English ceramics from both a Pennsylvania Educational Institution and a private New York collection will follow. Historical blue, including an Arms of Pennsylvania platter, an Arms of Delaware platter, and an Arms of Virginia covered vegetable platter, will be sold. Other items are a Harrison White House plate, a rare Tucker ice water pitcher, Liverpool pitchers, mocha, Gaudy Dutch and much more. This material has been out of the public eye for many years.

Friday’s group of scrimshaw, from the Cumberland County Historical Society, includes two dated whale teeth and many other interesting items. This will be followed on Saturday by three newly-discovered Nathanial Finney scrimshaw walrus tusks. These fully carved pieces represent the epitome of this well known San Francisco scrimshaw artist’s work.

A cache of letters of great historical interest will be sold on Saturday. Correspondence to Colonel William Church, founder of the NRA, from presidents Buchanan, Johnson, McKinley, Taft, Tyler and Roosevelt are included. Especially interesting is a letter from Teddy Roosevelt, written from San Juan, complaining about the “slander” of reports that Rough Riders were killed by friendly fire. Other letters from Samuel Clemens, Edwin Booth, General Custer, Admiral Dewey, Peary, Sherman and others, along with Confederate ephemera, will be offered as part of this fascinating window into American journalism at the turn of the century.

The silver, all from a pioneer American collector, reads like a “who’s who” of pre-colonial silver. A Newport tankard by Samuel Vernon will compete with a teapot by Potwine, a tea caddy by Van Voorhis & Schenk, an unusual child’s cann by Jacob Hurd, two caudle cups – one by Henricus Boelen as well as later pieces by the Richardsons of Philadelphia, and an extraordinary tureen by Hyde & Goodrich of New Orleans.

Saturday’s session will include two fully carved highboys, one a previously uncatalogued cherry bonnet top with unusual relief bird carvings signed “S. Henszey 1767,” the other a wonderful Philadelphia example also with shell carved drawers. Other remarkable pieces of Pennsylvania furniture for sale are two wainscot chairs, a rare Pennsylvania hanging cupboard with exceptional hinges – from the collection of the late H. Richard Dietrich, a silver face Philadelphia barometer by Fisher, and over twenty tall case clocks. One clock is the only known example by Abel Cottey, who died in 1711. This clock comes from the collection of the legendary Mrs. Joseph Carson. Other notable clock makers represented are Jos. Wills, Jacob Godshalk, Thomas Stretch, as well as two painted New England cases.

While there are many Chippendale and Federal pieces of furniture in the sale, those who appreciate folk art will be excited by several fine dower chests, including a vibrant Soap Hollow example, a Center County chest with a rare blue background, a curly maple Dutch cupboard, redware plates, weathervanes and a fully furnished Victorian dollhouse.

Textile collectors will find two vibrant Baltimore album quilts, a monumental Quaker sampler from New Jersey, as well as a dozen other needleworks, a 1775 bargello pocketbook, Boston mourning pictures, and much more.

Included at the last minute were a miniature portrait by Sully, a pair of watercolor on ivory miniature portraits of George and Martha Washington attributed to Trumbull, two elaborate French automatons and a collection of jewelry from a Main Line estate. A not-too-valuable but fascinating piece of American history is a small collection of 10 diamond disc records made by Thomas A. Edison for his Florida neighbor, Henry Ford. This small token from one titanic American Industrialist to another should attract interest.

Pook & Pook, Inc., will be celebrating their 25 years of success with a highly unusual offer of free accommodations, food and admission to numerous museums for those who attend this sale. For further information and details, see the Web site, pookandpook.com or call 610-269-4040.

Category: Auction News

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