Happy Again: Americana Market Comeback at Pook & Pook

  • June 23, 2009 12:19

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Pair of South Jersey pitchers and witch balls, ca. 1850, sold for $28,080.
Pook & Pook inc.
Virginia ink and watercolor fraktur birth certificate for Elizabeth McDonald, born 1806, sold for $28,080.
Pook & Pook Inc.
Philadelphia Queen Anne transitional carved mahogany scroll top high chest of drawers, ca. 1755, sold for $128,700.
Pook & Pook

The Father's Day weekend auction at Downington, Pennsylvania-based Pook & Pook Inc. gave the Americana market a needed shot in the arm. Several contested lots surpassed their modest pre-sale estimates, including a pair of Boston Chippendale mahogany dining chairs that stepped up to $163,800 from a $1,500-2,500 estimate.

This June 19 and 20 sale of the Estate of Helene and El Roy Master of Robesonia, Penn., consisting of about 733 lots that totalled $2,373,257.25, included a bold and beautiful Philadelphia Queen Anne transitional carved mahogany scroll top high chest, ca. 1755, that brought $128,700 (prices include a 17% in-house buyer's premium and 22% via Live Auctioneers bids).

Bidders were not only rabid for Colonial-era furniture. Fine and unusual examples of American and English glass, silver, and ceramics exceeded estimates and bolstered buyer confidence. 

In American decorative arts, folk-crafted frakturs and samplers, vibrant and elegant Tiffany favrile glass, and colorful 19th-century glassware delighted buyers. Of note: a rare pair of South Jersey pitchers and witch balls, ca. 1850, steel blue with opaque white loop decoration, attributed to Whitney Glass Works, 9" h. and 9 1/2" h.  with a $5,000-8,000 pre-sale estiamte snagged $28,080.

After last fall's plummet in prices and a spring season of blah results, the healthy above-estimate marks for Pook & Pook's sale gives a glimmer of hope for the revival of the antiques market. Aiming low with the pre-sale estimates may have been a good strategy for stimulating bidding.

For further coverage of the sale, read Antiques & The Arts' review.


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