A Shenandoah Valley tall-case clock by Jacob Fry & Caleb Davis, made circa 1800 in Woodstock, Va., sold for $92,000 to an out-of-state private collector, making it the top lot of the sale. One of only a handful of signed clocks produced by this short-lived partnership (circa 1796-1800), the Fry & Davis clock retained its original movement and pendulum within a handsome walnut case likely made in Shenandoah or southern Frederick County. Estimated at $15,000-25,000, the clock had been deaccessioned from the Gloucester County Historical Society, Woodbury, N.J., in 1988, and had been in private hands ever since.
Another lot attributed to Caleb Davis’ hand, a circa-1820 watercolor and ink on paper portrait miniature of Jacob F. Hockman (1786-1862), sold for $7,475.
A fraktur by Peter Bernhart realized $16,100 against its estimate of $8,000-12,000. Bernhart rarely used mermaids, shown prominently in this example. The dense imagery also included large and small birds, florets and tulips and mermaids. The fraktur is documented in the book Folk and Decorative Art of the Shenandoah Valley, p. 81, pl. 6 and Southern Folk Art, p. 82; and was exhibited at the Museum of American Folk Art’s landmark 1984 show “Southern Folk Art.”
A pair of side chairs from the Tidewater area of Virginia sold for $16,100, far exceeding their $6,000-9,000 estimate, perhaps because new research is emerging regarding certain unique features shared by a number of chairs from the area. The chairs were executed in cherry wood in the Chippendale style, and date to around 1770.
Other Virginia items of interest included a walnut wood sugar chest or bottle case, inscribed “C A Butts / Boston” in black paint under the bottom, probably referencing Boston, Culpeper County, Va. It dated to the second quarter of the 19th century and came from the private collection of Sally and the late Stanley Greenbaum, Williamsburg, Va. It quadrupled its estimate to sell for $4,025.
Among the historically important ephemera offered, a photographic album comprising 30 views of “THE RAWLEY SPRINGS”, Rockingham County, Virginia, mounted on heavy card-stock pages, met with great success. This wonderful and rare survivor included photographic images of then Virginia Governor Kemper, Major Luck and the servant Uncle Jim Lightfoot. The album was inscribed by one-time owner Jacob S. Strayer of Bogota, Lynnwood, Rockingham County, Oct. 23, 1875 and was sold with a rare promotional booklet announcing the June 15, 1885 reopening of the Rawley Springs resort. It sold for $2,760.
A cast and sheet iron jeweler’s trade sign advertising “WATCHES CLOCKS JEWELRY” and with the message “BUY NOW” in its molded center originally came from a store in Roanoke, Va., the sign is just the kind of thing that tempts collectors to bid. Its large circumference (three feet) additionally tempts young collectors to showcase it as pop art at home. It realized $2,040.
An excellent collection of stoneware from the Valley of Virginia pottery of George N. Fulton (Arritts, Alleghany Co, 1867-1885) was led by a decorated salt-glazed canner, half of which had been dipped in slip. Approximately 1 gallon in capacity, it was signed in brushed-on manganese “G N Fulton” in script between floral and leaf decorations. At auction it made $1,380.
The sale included several items of interest from beyond the Americana area, including an oil-on-canvas portrait of Czar Paul I, late 18th or early 19th century, which realized $9,775. The sprightly portrait is attributed to the hand of a follower of Dmitry Levitsky or Stepan Schukin and was fresh to the market from an Albemarle County, Va., private collection. It was hotly contested by a German and three Russian phone bidders.
In all, the Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates auction realized $421,756 from 246 in-house bidders, with 987 absentee bids recorded. Through the LiveAuctioneers, there were 1,530 bids from 471 participants.
Auctioneer Jeffrey S. Evans commented after the sale, “We were pleased with the overall results of the auction, especially considering that some of our New York and New Jersey clients were not able to participate because of super storm Sandy. The Fry-Davis clock was an important artifact that drew strong private and institutional interest because we were able to articulate its historical significance within the narrative of lower Shenandoah Valley clock making.’
“On the other hand, I was obviously disappointed that the Funk family schrank did not sell,” Evans continued, “but we have received two serious post-auction inquiries and I feel certain it will find a new home. Its large size seriously limited the number of perspective buyers.”
To contact Jeffrey S. Evans, call 540-434-3939 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
View the fully illustrated catalog, complete with prices realized, at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.
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ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE