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Abolitionist banner raises $46,800 at Jeffrey Evans Americana sale

This rare and historically important abolitionist banner sold for $46,800. Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates image

MT. CRAWFORD, Va. – The Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates June 22 & 23, 2018 Americana & Fine Antiques Auction was a highly successful event and produced robust prices in multiple categories. The two-day format consisted of 1,210 lots of high-quality material, much of which was fresh to the market, and, in several cases, had descended directly in the families of the original owners. Bidding was intense throughout each day with over 8,900 registered bidders from 26 countries participating in house and online. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

Session II on Saturday consisted of the firm’s usual diverse selection of Americana and fine antiques, including an important private collection of American flags and political textiles, and produced strong results, with several categories demonstrating signs of vigor in what can be an unpredictable market. Top lot for the weekend was a rare and important antislavery flag banner (above) with a history of having been flown at an 1861 Abolitionist convention in Rochester, New York. At $46,800, (all prices include the buyer’s premium), the iconic object sparked significant and wide-ranging interest and was won by dealer Jeff Bridgman, who was excited to finally acquire this historic textile that he had been chasing for nearly two decades.

Other noteworthy flag offerings from the featured private collection included a fine Henry Clay 1844 campaign flag banner at $26,910 and a hand-sewn 17-star national flag with a War of 1812 history at $23,400 (Lot 1102).

Large 1844 Henry Clay presidential campaign flag banner. Price realized: $26,910. Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates image

Session II also featured an excellent selection of American furniture and folk art, which included a number of Shenandoah Valley and other Southern objects. The most hotly contested item in these categories was a fine Stirewalt family (New Market, Virginia) paint-decorated yellow pine diminutive box (below). Descended directly in the consignor’s family and fresh to the market, the petite form soared past its estimate range to land at $38,025.

Stirewalt family paint-decorated diminutive box. Price realized: $38,025. Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates image

Another significant Southern object to cross the block over the weekend was a Piedmont North Carolina paint-decorated yellow pine jelly cupboard. Also fresh to the market with family history, the untouched cupboard brought $10,530 from a major East Coast dealer.

Piedmont North Carolina paint-decorated jelly cupboard. Price realized: $10,530. Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates image

Other folk art forms performed equally well, most notably a Northwest Coast Haida carved and painted cedar totem pole of diminutive size. Following the same fresh-from-the-family theme, the highly decorated piece had been acquired by Massachusetts Sen. Marcus Allen Coolidge (1865-1947) on a 1920 trip to Alaska and had since descended directly in the family to the present consignor. The most widely viewed item in the entire auction, the rare Native American object shattered its estimate range many times over to finish at $19,890.

Haida carved and painted cedar totem pole. Price realized: $19,890. Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates image

A small selection of rare clocks also performed well in the sale, particularly a fine Joseph Ives (American, 1782-1862) mahogany and tiger maple mirror or “looking glass” wall clock. Retaining an early surface, the commanding timepiece captivated several phone and Internet bidders, who pushed it all the way to $17,550, possibly a record for the form.

Joseph Ives wall clock. Price realized: $17,550. Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates image

Saturday’s session also featured an excellent selection of over 100 antiquarian maps and prints deaccessioned by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation with proceeds to benefit the Collections and Acquisitions Funds, many examples from the William C. Wooldridge collection, published in Mapping Virginia: From the Age of Exploration to the Civil War. Top lot from the map offerings was a so-called “Beaver Map” (circa 1715) depicting eastern North America (circa 1715) by Herman Moll (British, d. 1732). Despite condition issues, the rare cartographic work with pictorial detail sold for $6,435 (Lot 1190).

Session I on Friday was devoted exclusively to the dispersal of the extensive personal research library of the late Ivor Noel Hume (1927-2017), distinguished scholar, author, and former director of the Department of Archaeological Research at Colonial Williamsburg. With volumes ranging from the 17th to 21st centuries, the Hume collection is believed to have been one of the finest archaeological research libraries ever assembled. The large selection of obscure and highly specialized publications offered in the sale engendered broad interest from institutions and individuals alike, with many of the latter in search of a small memento from the collection of a seminal figure in the study of early American material culture.

After the sale, company president and auctioneer Jeffrey S. Evans commented, “This sale generated robust interest across the board, from bidders near and far. Our in-house crowd was strong resulting in over 160 bid numbers being issued to real bodies, and we saw a large percentage of items walk out the door on sale day. The overall excitement and strong sales results reflect the freshness and high quality of the merchandise offered. In addition, the auction was 98.5 percent unreserved, so the results are a true and honest gauge of the current market.”

For more information contact Jeffrey S. Evans and Associates via email at or call 540-434-3939.

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