Bidders pour $277K into Pennsylvania stoneware at Cowan’s

An important Ohio stoneware water cooler with patriotic eagle, circa 1840s, sold for $11,875. Cowan’s Auctions image

CINCINNATI – Property from the Estate of Louis Hahn of Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, more than doubled its presale estimates in a two-day sale at Cowan’s Auctions on Nov. 11-12. The more than 800-lot auction featured the largest and most important Western Pennsylvania stoneware collection to appear at auction in recent memory, along with a collection of advertising tins, signs and store displays, painted American furniture and folk and decorative art. The sale totaled $616,885 across the two days against a presale estimate of $277,450 and saw a remarkable 97% of lots sell. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

“I first ran into Louis Hahn completely by accident at an antique mall in Pittsburgh,” said Wes Cowan, Hindman vice-chair and Cowan’s founder. “From those first casual conversations, I could tell that this was a special collection. I think Louis would be overjoyed to see so much excitement for his collection.”

Western Pennsylvania was a center of stoneware production in the 19th century and the Hahn Collection contained examples of all of the major potters as well as rare examples of smaller manufacturers. The quality was not lost on collectors with the 202 lots of stoneware selling for a combined $256,909, more than two and a half times more than its presale estimate of $100,200.

The top stoneware lot was an important Ohio stoneware water cooler with patriotic eagle (above). While coolers incorporating American eagles are hardly uncommon, the graceful shape of this vessel, with its high outward flaring neck, is unique. The 21-inch cooler from the 1840s sold for $11,875.

Exceptional Pennsylvania free-hand cobalt decorated 4-gallon crock, Hamilton & Jones, Greensboro, Pennsylvania, last quarter 19th century. Sold for $8,320. Cowan’s Auctions image

Other notable stoneware lots included a Pennsylvania free-hand cobalt decorated 4-gallon crock (above) which sold for $8,320, more than 10 times its estimate of $800-$1,000; and a cobalt double eagle-decorated 10-gallon stoneware crock (below) that sold for $7,500 against an estimate of $2,000-$3,000.

A cobalt double eagle-decorated 10-gallon stoneware crock, W.D. Cooper & Bro., Pittsburgh, Pa., late 19th century. Sold for $7,500. Cowan’s Auctions image

A Pennsylvania stoneware canning jar with cobalt stars and floral decoration (below) which sold for $6,875 against an estimate of $1,500-$2,500; and a 5-gallon stoneware churn with cobalt decoration (Lot 114) which sold for $6,875 against an estimate of $1,500-$2,500.

Exceptional Pennsylvania stoneware canning jar with cobalt stars and floral decoration, likely Greensboro, Pa., circa 1870. Sold for $6,875. Cowan’s Auctions image

The highest sale prices of the auction occurred on the second day of the auction when a pair of blanket chests soared past their estimates in back-to-back lots. First, an 1804 Chippendale Berks County painted pine blanket chest (below) vaulted past its $3,000-$5,000 estimate on its way to selling for $16,640 to an online bidder.

Chippendale painted pine blanket chest attributed to Philip Zerbe, Berks County, Pa., dated 1804. Sold for $16,640. Cowan’s Auctions image

The following lot, an 1801 Federal polychrome paint decorated pine three drawer blanket chest (below) sold for nearly 12 times its estimate of $2,000-$4,000 when a phone bidder won the lot for $23,750.

Federal polychrome paint decorated pine three-drawer blanket chest, likely Pennsylvania, dated 1801. Sold for $23,750. Cowan’s Auctions image

Other lots of note:

– Lot 791: A Chinese Export carved and ebonized silk embroidery inset four-panel floor screen (est. $600-$800) sold for $5,760.
– Lot 277: Two tin brewery signs (est. $300-$500) sold for $5,625.
– Lot 401: A Federal green painted stepback cupboard (est. $800-$1,200) sold for $5,440.
– Lot 767: A Pennsylvania watercolor fraktur (est. $600-$800) sold for $4,480.

 

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