MONUMENTAL SET OF FOUR AMERICAN GOTHIC BOOKCASES, CRAFTED IN PHILADELPHIA IN 1854, SOARS TO $115,000 AT HAL HUNT AUCTION, MAR. 13
(NORTHPORT, Ala.) – A monumental set of four matching American Gothic bookcases, beautifully crafted in Philadelphia in 1854 and attributed to the workshop of Crawford Riddell, a noted cabinetmaker of the time, sold for $115,000 at a multi-estate sale held Mar. 13 by Hal Hunt Auctions. The sale was conducted in the firm’s gallery, at 5925 Hwy. 43N in Northport.
The bookcases – by far the top achiever in a sale that saw 475 quality lots cross the block – were originally built for the library of the Annandale Plantation in Madison County, Miss. Annandale burned to the ground in 1924 and in 1932 the bookcases were purchased by Col. Robert Bogardus Snowden and his wife, Annie, who installed them in their home in Memphis.
The contents of that mansion, known as Annesdale and named after Annie Snowden, were also featured, as were other private Southern collections. About 350 people attended the sale, which had no Internet or phone bidding (absentee bids were taken, however). “This was a quality, live-auction sale with some outstanding 19th century American antiques,” Hal Hunt said.
“These were not antiques you would typically go out and find,” Mr. Hunt continued. “Many were rare, one-of-a-kind pieces, and it’s hard to even assign a value to such items. Maybe because of that, there was very spirited bidding in the room. In fact, I was a little surprised by the participation. It showed me the market has been sustained for high-end, investment antiques.”
The only soft spot in the sale, Mr. Hunt observed, was Belter furniture, which did not fetch top dollar. “An example was a gorgeous Victorian etagere that went for an unbelievably low $4,600 – about half its real value,” he said, adding, “But that’s what made this such a great sale. The high end prevailed but there were still some bargains. Everybody went home happy.”
Following are additional highlights from the sale. All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.
Beds and bedroom suite really wowed the crowd. A three-piece walnut Renaissance bedroom suite with bronze plaques, attributed to Thomas Brooks, hit $34,500; an oversized Renaissance bed with marquetry inlay and bronze plaques, attributed to G. Herter, climbed to $33.925; and a 2-piece burled walnut Victorian bedroom suite found a new owner for $13,225.
Pieces by R.J. Horner got paddles wagging, too. A fine and monumental oak sideboard went for $28,175; an oak 60-inch winged ladies’ dining table with three leaves rose to $25,875; a rare oak winged ladies’ executive desk breezed to $25,300; and a heavily carved oak fireplace mantel made $10,925. Also, a rosewood candle stand attributed to A. Roux commanded $9,775.
An extremely fine rosewood Renaissance marquetry inlay credenza, attributed to Portier & Styums crossed the finish line at $69,000; a Mitchells & Rammelsberg walnut half tester bed garnered $7,475; a heavily carved walnut etagere, attributed to Mitchells & Rammelsberg, 8 feet tall, rose to $5,750; and a Renaissance mantel mirror (from the Herter bedroom suite) hit $5,750.
The aforementioned Belter bargains included a rosewood etagere in the Rosalie pattern, featuring a fine carved pediment, sold for $16,100; a rosewood serpentine dressing vanity demanded $9,775; and a laminated rococo bed hammered for $6,900. Also (but not by Belter): a huge carved oak china cabinet with full-bodied soldiers and winged cherub crown made $26,450.
Vintage clocks came in many forms. An important carved black walnut clock, with documentation attesting to its having been an award winner at the 1876 Philadelphia Furniture Expo, changed hands for $69,000; a mahogany grandfather clock with Horner Elliot movement fetched $39,100; and a 19th century monumental bronze cherub clock set coasted to $31,050.
Other tall-case clocks that did well included a carved oak grandfather clock by J.E. Caldwell, 8 feet 8 inches tall ($28,750); a carved oak Tiffany grandfather clock, 9 feet 6 inches tall ($20,700); and a Gilbert #81 Victorian regulator clock, 9 feet 7 inches tall ($10,350). Also, the 15 or so vintage lamps that came up for bid brought prices ranging from $2,200 to $5,500.
A Regina bow-front music box changer made around 1900, playing 15 ½ inch discs and rare because of its stained glass (not plain glass) door, played a sweet tune for $28,175; a Model 71 Wurlitzer juke box earned $6,325, while the separately sold stand it sat on actually went for more ($8,050); and a collection of antique guns brought prices ranging from $1,500 to $12,000.
Decorative accessories were real crowd pleasers. A stunning 19th century double figured signed bronze statue, 44 inches tall on a 32 inch tall pedestal, found a new owner for $80,500; a pair of Paris porcelain companion statues, 28 inches tall, sold as one lot for $11,500; a darling 3-piece dore bronze clock set made $8,050; and a Sevres and bronze jewelry box garnered $8,050.
Tables and chairs were in evidence. A set of eight carved mahogany dining chairs with original leather upholstery and embossed gold gilt griffins went for $34,500; a rare Karpen single mahogany griffin arm chair brought $12,075; a Philadelphia made rosewood center table fetched $28,750; and a matched pair of winged griffin lamp tables, 42 inches round, made $10,350 each.
Returning to furniture, star lots included a rosewood credenza with porcelain plaques ($18,400); a matching walnut sideboard and console, with black and gold porter marble top ($16,100); a pair of curved glass gold gilt display cabinets ($10,350); a carved mahogany china cabinet with full-bodied lion supports ($9,775); and an extremely rare oak gun cabinet ($8,338).
Rounding out the day’s top lots: a 3-piece mahogany Karpen parlor suite ($7,475); a carved oak pedestal with bronze mounts ($5,750); a matched pair of rosewood bookcases ($5,175 each); and a 19th century Rose Medallion bowl, 17 inches in diameter ($4,312). Also, numerous marble-top tables crossed the block at three price points: $2,800, $15,000 and $45,000.
Hal Hunt Auctions is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. The firm also purchases items and entire collections for resale at auction. To inquire about consigning or selling an item, an estate or an entire collection, you may call them directly, at (205) 333-2517, or you can e-mail them at email@example.com. For more info, log on to www.halhunt.com
Category: Auction News