Gen. Pinckney portrait leads Freeman’s auction at $187K

Gen. Pinckney portrait

Portrait of Maj. Gen. Thomas Pinckney of South Carolina by Samuel Breese Morse. Sold for $187,500. Freeman’s image

PHILADELPHIA – Freeman’s American Furniture, Folk and Decorative Art auction held on  Nov. 12 was a success, with overall sales totaling $819,504 and an 84% sell-through rate. The sale attracted an impressive number of new buyers to Freeman’s (28% of all bidders), with 53% of lots selling to a remarkably active group of online auction participants.  Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

Significant highlights from the sale included an important historical portrait of Maj. Gen. Thomas Pinckney (1750-1828) of Charleston, South Carolina, circa 1820, by the artist and inventor Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791-1828). Estimated at $60,000-$100,000, the painting (above) ultimately sold to the Society of the Cincinnati for $187,500. The Society of the Cincinnati is the nation’s oldest patriotic organization, founded in 1783 by officers of the Continental Army and their French counterparts who served together in the American Revolution.

In addition, a hand-colored, engraved folding map (below)of the United States with the contiguous British and Spanish Possessions Compiled by the latest and best authorities, Philadelphia, by John Melish, 1816, sold well, achieving $43,750, shattering its estimate of $15,000-$25,000.

Gen. Pinckney portrait

Map of United States with the contiguous British and Spanish possessions. Sold for $43,750. Freeman’s image

Several other lots achieved excellent prices including a Model of a 74-gun gun ship of the line, circa 1800, which was estimated at $1,500-$2,500 and garnered $11,875.

Gen. Pinckney portrait

Model of a 74-gun ship of the line, circa 1800. Sold for $11,875. Freeman’s image

Moreover, an early 19th century mahogany stick barometer made by M. Fisher & Son, Philadelphia, (Lot 107) sold for $10,625 against an estimate of $1,000-$1,500.

Gen. Pinckney portrait

Mahogany stick barometer by M. Fisher & Son, Philadelphia, early 19th century. Sold for $10,625. Freeman’s image

The sale also featured the Collection of the late Hans U. Jahn of Charlottesville, Virginia, which achieved $179,562 overall. Jahn’s collecting interests ranged from early lighting, silver, brass and lacquered tobacco and snuff boxes, glassware, basketry, transfer-decorated Staffordshire with American views, early copper and iron ware, carved American folk canes and scrimshaw to South and Central American silver. Some of the more notable lots included a late 19th/20th century Navajo wool dress and half dress from the Southwest (Lot 319) which sold for an impressive $17,500 against an estimate of $1,000-$1,500, as well as a late 18th century miniature Chippendale walnut chest (Lot 66) that achieved $6,250 against an estimate of $1,000-$1,500.

Gen. Pinckney portrait

Rare Historical Blue Staffordshire ‘Arms of Pennsylvania’ platter, Thomas Mayer, Stoke, Cliff Bank Works, circa 1830. Sold for $15,000. Freeman’s image

For more information about the auction contact Madeline Hill at