Musical Collection of the Late Irene and Theodore Leverett Highlight Cowan’s Summer Fine & Decorative Art Auction

  • Demétre Chiparus (Romanian, 1886-1947) "Friends Forever"

    Demétre Chiparus (Romanian, 1886-1947) "Friends Forever"

  • George I Household Cupboard

    George I Household Cupboard

Oil paintings from well-known American artists, silver from the Americas, England, and Europe, and antique furniture are also expected to draw heavy interest in July auction.


CINCINNATI -- Music boxes from an internationally known collection, silver from around the world, a European Art Deco bronze, and furniture that includes several outstanding Georgian and Elizabethan pieces are among the highlights of Cowan's Summer Fine & Decorative Arts auction. Quality and diversity define the sale to be held on Saturday, July 29 in Cowan’s Cincinnati salesroom.


The highlight of the sale is the exceptional musical collection of the Late Irene and Theodore Leverett of North Carolina. "They're renowned among the collecting community," said Leah Vogelpohl, decorative arts specialist at Cowan's. "They both served independently, one after the other, as president of the Musical Box Society International and that expertise shows through in the items they chose for their private collection."


Included among the Leverett's items are cylinder and disc music boxes, as well as fine musical instruments. The best of the grouping is a Mermod Freres Sublime Harmonie-style interchangeable cylinder music box with four cylinders and a matching table, all in burl walnut with inlay, ebonized details and ivory escutcheons. Made in the late 19th century, the Swiss music box is estimated at $6,000 to $8,000.


Having a rich sound and tremendous acoustics, an Empress Concert Grand upright music box made by Lyon & Healy of Chicago, dating to the late 19th or early 20th century, features a double-comb mechanism in a mahogany case with carved embellishments. Selling with more than 40 discs, it is expected to realize $5,000 to $7,000.


A rare Regina folding coffin-top music box on stand, American, late 19th century, having a dual-comb mechanism and offered with 14 discs, is expected to make $3,500 to $5,500.


Musical instruments from the collection include a 19th-century concert harp by Lyon & Healy, in tiger maple and giltwood, with its original travel case, estimated at $2,500 to $4,500. Other musical instruments range from a James Henry Houston square piano, English, 18th century, which should see bidding of $1,000 to $2,000, to three wooden lutes with turtle-shell scratch plates and mother-of-pearl decorations, Italian, late 19th century, estimated at $400 to $800 for the grouping.


Also among the diversity of the collection are a bird cage automaton with two birds, attributed to Bontems, French, early 20th century, expected to realize $1,000 to $1,500; musical picture clock depicting men aboard a ship in what is likely a Spanish New World expedition, the enamel clock dial set in a gilt shadow box frame with relief floral decorations, Continental, 19th century, $2,000 to $4,000; coin-operated barrel orchestrion by Henri G. Vossen, the paneled oak case having beveled mirrors and an oval glass pane painted with an Art Nouveau scene, Belgian, early 20th century, $2,000 to $4,000; rare musical watch fob featuring a repoussé scene of a rabbit and a squirrel, English, 19th century, $500 to $700; and a 10-tune barrel organ by W. Rolfe, in rosewood and having 13 wooden pipes, English, 19th century, $1,000 to $1,500.


A fine selection of American and European artwork is led by Friends Forever by Demétre Chiparus (Romanian, 1886-1947), a bronze and ivory sculpture on a marble base, estimated at $30,000 to $40,000. Having a Paris foundry mark and standing 25 inches high, the nearly symmetrical Art Deco design depicts a woman flanked by dogs.


"He's an important figure in the Art Deco movement," said Pauline Archambault, fine art specialist at Cowan's. "He may have been born in Romania, but he flourished in Paris. This is quintessential French Art Deco."


Another European artist bound to attract attention is Léon Richet (French, 1847-1907), who was associated with the Barbizon School, known for its French Realism. His landscape of a meadow, oil on canvas, should realize $2,000 to $3,000.


Another landscape of note is a Hudson River School scene by William Louis Sonntag (American, 1822-1900), oil on canvas, having figures, a cottage and a pond, estimated at $4,000 to $6,000, while Old Mill Dam and Mill, a watercolor by Archibald McNeal Willard (American, 1836-1918), circa 1860, is expected to sell for $800 to $1,200. Born and raised in Ohio, Willard is best remembered as the artist who painted The Spirit of '76 (also known as Yankee Doodle).


Other paintings include an oil portrait of a woman by Eastman Johnson (American, 1824-1906), co-founder of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Having an intriguing composition with a dark background, the work is estimated at $1,000 to $2000. A set of Four Seasons lithographs by Norman Rockwell (American, 1894-1978), each of the four signed in pencil and numbered 44/200, with the portfolio, is expected to make $1,000 to $1,500.


A strong showing of sterling silver from the Americas, England, and Europe is led by a set of Tiffany & Co. sterling flatware in the Beekman pattern, 161 pieces, American, 19th or 20th century, and a Mexican Modernist sterling silver coffee service, seven pieces in a tapering form, circa 1960s. Each lot is expected to sell for $4,000 to $6,000. Also among the silver are several lots by Georg Jensen, including a set of flatware in the Cypress pattern, expected to bring $500 to $800, and a bar set in the Acorn pattern, estimated at $700 to $900.


A grouping of Russian enameled silver ranges from a belt made in the late 19th or early 20th century, estimated at $800 to $1,200, to a beaker by Ivan Saltykov, $300 to $500, to a tea strainer by Grachev Bros. at $600 to $800.


One unique niche among the silver offered is a selection of trophies. A sterling silver horseracing trophy, The Latonia Cup, a double-handled urn awarded by the Kentucky Jockey Club for a 1921 race at Latonia, Ky., is expected to realize $2,000 to $3,000. A sterling silver Danish trophy by Anton Michelsen, the lidded chalice having nautical motifs, dated 1932, is estimated at $1,000 to $1,500. In the form of a charger, a Gorham sterling silver yacht racing trophy from 1931 should bring $400 to $600.


"These silver sporting pieces do well, particularly in this area," said Vogelpohl. The Latonia trophy has added appeal. "That Kentucky race track doesn’t exist any more, but it was quite well known at the time and is a beautifully craft piece on top of that."


Furniture in the auction features several desirable English items, including a George I household cupboard in deal pine, having two paneled doors over three rows totaling nine drawers, 18th century, and a Georgian chest of drawers in burled walnut, dating to the first quarter of the 18th century. Each lot is estimated at $3,000 to $5,000.


Two Elizabethan tables in oak are also of note: a trestle table, late 17th or early 18th century, having a rectangular top on baluster-turned legs, estimated at $800 to $1,200, and a gate-leg table, 17th century, with a single drawer and fluted square legs, expected to draw bids of $500 to $700.


Other items in the sale include two Louis Vuitton steamer trunks that should garner $2,000 to $5,000 each; a 98-piece Meissen porcelain dinner service on Neu Brandenstein blanks with hand-painted flowers and insects, $2,500 to $5,000; a room-size Persian silk rug signed Mohammed Soltani, $2,000 to $3,000; and a monumental gilt pier mirror that stands more than 12 feet high, estimated at $1,000 to $2,000.


The sale will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 29, at Cowan's Auctions, 6270 Este Ave., Cincinnati. Public previews are noon to 5 p.m. Friday, July 28, and 8 to 10 a.m. the day of the sale. Bidding is available in person, by phone, absentee and live online through,, and


For more information, phone Cowan's Auctions at (513) 871-1670 or visit To register to bid and view all lots, click HERE.

Cowan's Auctions, Inc.
6270 Este Ave
Cowan's Auctions, Inc., Ohio
Press Contact:
Eric Duncan
Cowan's Auctions
P: 513-871-1670

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