Freeman’s announced the results of its April 28 & April 29 online auctions of American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts. Together, the back-to-back sales totaled just shy of $975,000. Both sales elicited the participation of a sizable number of new bidders and ultimately exceeded expectations, nearly reaching their pre-sale high estimates.
On April 28, 75 phone bidders competed against nearly 5,000 registered internet bidders resulting in lengthy bidding wars and an 87% sell-through rate. The 160 lot auction realized $886,645, with strong prices achieved for furniture, art, textiles and decorative objects alike.
“We are delighted with the results from our online auctions of American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts,” remarked Head of Department Lynda Cain, “Fresh-to-market works from early collections and estates achieved strong prices after aggressive competition from bidders both online and on the phone. Period furniture, silver and historical objects did especially well — a testament to the strength of the market and a suggestion that there is a heightened desire for American-made objects in these trying times.”
STRONG PRICES REALIZED FOR FINE EXAMPLES OF PERIOD FURNITURE
The sale was led by a Chippendale carved walnut tall case clock with works by Pennsylvania clockmaker Daniel Rose (Lot 23), which realized $62,500—one of the highest prices achieved for the maker at auction. Fine examples of period furniture performed well throughout the day and oftentimes exceeded their high estimates, discrediting the pessimistic, but popular, opinion that there is little desirability in today’s market for traditional “brown wood.” Other notable results for furniture included: $25,000 for a Chippendale figured walnut secretary desk made for Jeremiah Wood, by Joseph Kimsey, Deptford, Gloucester County, NJ, 1791 (Lot 19, estimate: $10,000-15,000); $25,000 for an aesthetic rosewood multi-tiered table inlaid with a fly, and spider with web by A. & H. Lejambre (Lot 103, estimate: $8,000-12,000); and $17,500 for a Philadelphia Chippendale carved mahogany dressing table (Lot 41, estimate: $8,000-12,000).
RARE OBJECTS WITH IMPRESSIVE PROVENANCE ELICIT BIDDING WARS
Bidders competed aggressively for fresh-to-market objects that had compelling histories or had descended through prominent American families. A rare historic record of a specific North American time and place: of Western Plains life, exploration, the life and arts of Native peoples, and the transformation of the West, the single-owner Clement Hungerford Pollen Collection (Lot 155) generated considerable interest and ultimately achieved its high estimate of $50,000. A Baltimore painted and stenciled Grecian caned couch (Lot 68) came with an affixed note that said it descended in the Patterson Family of Baltimore, including Elizabeth (Betsy) Patterson Bonaparte (1785-1879), helping it to soar past its $500-800 pre-sale estimate to sell for $16,250. Similarly, a gilt-washed sterling askos claret jug by Gorham Mfg. Co. (Lot 111) that had descended in the Macalester Family and had been owned by Eliza Lytle 'Lily' Macalester (1832-1891) and her husband Alfred D. Berghmans (1832-1872), more than tripled its pre-sale high estimate to sell for $18,750. A striking group of ten Masonic charts by artist, miner and engineer George M. Silsbee (1840-1900) of Leadville, CO, sold for fifteen times its low estimate to realize $15,000.
MARITIME ART & OBJECTS FARE ESPECIALLY WELL, SAILING PAST PRE-SALE ESTIMATES
The auction featured a strong selection of maritime art & decorative objects, with many works coming from the Collection of Heidi Bingham Stott. Comprising a number of sailor’s valentines and woolies, the Collection was highlighted by two woolwork pictures: the first, depicting the "Capture of Canton by the Allies, December 28, 1857" (Lot 63), quadrupled its pre-sale low estimate to sell for $13,750; the second, depicting five ships by a coastline in white water (Lot 133), sold for over six times its low estimate, realizing $12,500. Beyond the collection, other nautical items, including ship paintings and Chinese Export porcelain, achieved strong prices: a collection of Chinese Export ‘Tobacco Leaf’ porcelain (Lots 29-39) totaled $57,151; and an American School 19th century painting of White Diamond Line Packet leaving Boston Harbor (Lot 87, estimate: $2,000-3,000) sold for $13,750.
Following suit, the April 29 auction was led by a painting by Alexander Charles Stuart (1831-1898) of an American Naval Engagement (Lot 105), which sold for over seventeen times its high estimate to realize $13,750.
ADDITIONAL SALE HIGHLIGHTS
Other highlights in the April 28 sale included an 18th century Boston canvas work picture (Lot 5, $35,000); a Portrait of Henry Clay (1777-1852) by School of Matthew Harris Jouett (1788-1827) (Lot 69, $32,500); A Mexican War presentation sword to Brevet Major John Frederick Roland, 2nd Regiment U.S. Artillery by Ames Mfg. Co. (Lot 89, $23,750); and a rare and possibly unique painted tinware and zinc Liberty cap with Civil War association to the Pratt Street Riot (Lot 95, $18,750).
Since 1805, Freeman’s has been part of the fabric of Philadelphia, helping generations of clients in the buying and selling of fine and decorative arts, jewelry, design and more. We host many auctions throughout the year, including sales of single owner collections. Freeman’s, Philadelphia’s auction house. Sharing the world of art, design and jewelry with you, wherever you are.