DOWNINGTOWN, Pa. – The leaves may be falling as autumn hits Pennsylvania, but auction prices across all categories seem to have caught an updraft. Pook & Pook’s the Oct. 3-5 auction – their largest catalog ever – realized $1,977,596. Out of the 1006 lots offered, 981 sold, yielding a 97.5 percent sell-through rate. In-house live, phone and absentee bidders numbered 358, while cyberspace bidding stole the show with 1,931 bidders registered across two platforms. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.
Session one began on Thursday, Oct. 3, following a special extended preview and reception. One hundred nineteen lots went under the gavel that night, starting with 14 lots of wine from a Berks County estate. The consignor’s proceeds from the sale of this wine will be donated to the Shakespeare Festival in Center Valley, Pennsylvania. A lot of 12 bottles of Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1982 brought $7,930. The oenophiles bid strong on a lot of 12 bottles of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild Pauillac 1982, which after some very active bidding brought $14,640.
The first session continued with a group of over 100 lots of ancient art and antiquities from a Pennsylvania estate. An Apulian red-figure oinochoe caught the eye of at least a couple Greek enthusiasts with the bidding ending at $8,125. A Roman silver kantharos, circa first or second century A.D. fetched $6,710, while a Greek bronze pilos helmet, circa fourth-third century B.C. brought a healthy $4,636.
Session two started out strong with the Americana & International material being led by the Collection of Daniel and Mary Jane Sheppard of Lutherville, Maryland. The Sheppards began collecting antiques in the early 1980s focusing on American furniture and paintings. First up in their collection was a rare and important Charleston, South Carolina Chippendale mahogany “French” chair, circa 1770, which soared past its $20,000-$40,000 until the bidding finally ceased at a realized price of $85,400. Highlights from their collection included a Philadelphia Chippendale dressing table, circa 1765 ($19,520), a pair of New York Chippendale mahogany dining chairs, circa 1770 ($5,124), and an important Philadelphia Chippendale games table ($29,280).
The star of the Sheppard collection, however, was an important Philadelphia Chippendale mahogany piecrust tea table, circa 1750, which more than doubled its high estimate coming in at a realized price of $97,600.
Day two featured an incredible Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, painted pine two-part architectural corner cupboard (below), circa 1785. With a provenance difficult to beat having passed through the collections of Dr. & Mrs. Donald Shelley, Titus Geesey, Edgar and Charlotte Sittig, and finally the current consignor, a prominent Delaware collector, the cupboard started off slowly, but quickly gained bidding momentum. The bidding flew past the low and high estimates and finally stopped at $23,180.
A credenza or room divider by American artist George Nakashima complete with a freeform top and two pandanus cloth sliding doors came in at $15,860. The final surprise of day two was an Anna Pottery stoneware frog inkwell, which brought over three times its mean estimate coming in at $6,100.
Session three took place on Saturday, Oct. 5, starting with a selection of American fine art. Artists featured include Ernie Eugene Barnes Jr. ($34,160), Franklin Courter ($7,500), Moses Soyer ($1,342, $1,220 and $2,684), and Rockwell Kent ($1,464, $1,037, $671 and $5,000).
European artists followed with pieces by William J. Webbe ($21,960), Jean Dubuffet ($4,500 and $6,250), Francisco de Goya y Lucientes ($9,760), and Pablo Picasso ($11,590). The art finished up with the Collection of Ambassador Robert and Mayrose Stausz-Hupe, the highlight of this collection being a work titled Four Pears by Eliot Hodgkin ($29,280). This piece will be included in the catalogue raisonné of the artist.
The sale continued with a variety of exciting consignments. Several highlights still had their origins in Pennsylvania, including a Lancaster County blanket chest dated 1780 that brought $5,612 and a rare miniature Chippendale walnut slant-front desk, which brought $14,640. A Pennsylvania walnut spice chest skipped past its high estimate of $2,000 and landed at $6,875. A Massachusetts Chippendale mahogany secretary with an oxbow case and ball-and-claw feet brought $12,200. A Connecticut Pilgrim century joined oak Sunflower chest, circa 1700, heavily carved and decorated, brought $11,590.
An 18K yellow gold Carimati beaded blue sapphire and diamond necklace brought $11,590. This was followed by a mid-century platinum and diamond necklace from a Lancaster, Pennsylvania, collection containing 237 diamonds of various cuts and weights that brought $18,300.
Four fabulous English Britannia silver candlesticks from a New York estate brought a whopping $20,000. That was followed up by some eager bidding for an English silver tankard, 1693-1694, that brought $6,710.
A Samuel Robb cigar store Native American Indian Princess in this collection was rapidly gaining speed between the floor, the Internet and the phones before a phone bidder finally won the lot for $18,300. A carved and painted eagle wall plaque by John Haley Bellamy with a banner that read “Don’t Give Up the Ship” come in at $14,640.
Possibly the most incredible pieces in this collection was a painting of crowds watching a soccer match by Haitian artist Philomé Obin. The auctioneer did not call offsides on this one when it realized $20,740.
For details contact Pook & Pook at email@example.com or call 610-269-4040.