The auction will feature around 350 lots, some from East and some from West—and some from Africa. The worldwide mix of merchandise is especially pertinent now, in light of current strong interest in Asian items. These will include a remarkable collection of around 10 to 20 pieces of Chinese furniture—many of them highly decorated—zitan wood items and beautiful porcelains.
The West lots will include antique clocks from the estate of Academy Award-winning actor Dustin Hoffman, an important Federal tall-case clock signed on the dial “E. Willard” for Ephraim Willard, brother of renowned clock maker Simon Willard, and a rare pocket “clock watch” that strikes on the hour like a clock, made circa 1780 by Monnier & Mussard in Geneva.
The West will also boast a variety of traditional, American-made antiques, fine artworks from a Pennsylvania collector, a set of six sketches of various theater activities by the British Impressionist Dame Laura Knight (1877-1970), sterling silver and furniture. There will also be about 35 lots from Africa. The themes of these diverse cultures will all come together in a well-rounded sale.
The East portion probably contains more lots with that “wow” factor—dazzlers that are as beautiful to look at as they are collectible. An example is a remarkable and highly decorative authentic Qing period lantern with reverse-painted glasses, framed out in ebonized hardwood with added jewelry. The piece is wired for electricity but retains the remaining hardware.
Another example is a large and extraordinarily fine Chinese embroidery on silk from the 20th century, measuring 22 inches by 46 inches. The piece has a brocaded silk mat and is housed in a glazed frame. The many colors and intricate needlework bring a variety of birds to life as they fly through the air to rest on land. Dimensions, including frame, are 42 inches by 50 inches.
More than a dozen lots of Chinese furniture will include a pair of 19th century wraparound armrest hardwood chairs with carved and pierced back splats, 40 inches in height, with a 29-inch matching end table, to be sold as a three-piece lot. Chinese decorative accessories will feature a pair of 16 1/2-inch-tall lidded vases with dramatic Ming-style dragons below two phoenix birds.
Other noteworthy Asian lots include a rare, richly decorated pair of Qing lidded cloisonné tureens made around 1900 as a birthday gift for the Chinese Empress Tzu-Hsi, each measuring 11 inches by 15 1/2 inches by 11 1/2 inches; and a carved and finished triad set of spinach jade, all presented on a custom-carved stand, 15 inches tall overall and a truly exquisite example of jade.
The “E. Willard”-signed mahogany Federal tall-case clock has a provenance nearly as intriguing as the clock itself. It’s been in the consignor’s family since it was made over 200 years ago and comes with written documentation to back that up. Converse, a clock expert, has personally cleaned and maintained the clock since the 1980s. It’s a rare and important clock.
The Monnier & Mussard clock watch is extremely rare, as are all 18th century pocket clock watches. People often confuse them with the so-called “repeating” watches because they chime on bells or gongs. But a clock watch will strike like a clock, without needing action from the wearer. Clock watches are believed to have originated as travel, or coach, watches.
“We’re expecting a healthy turnout for this auction, but because of the success of our recent online-only auctions we expect participation on the Internet to be strong as well,” said Gordon Converse of Gordon S. Converse & Co., based in Wayne, Pa. “We’ve developed a solid online following because of our superior photography, cataloging and fast shipping services.”
The auction venue, the People’s Light & Theater Co., is located at 39 Conestoga Road in Malvern, Pa., northwest of Philadelphia.
A buyer’s premium will be applied to all purchases.
Gordon S. Converse & Co. is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign a single item, an estate or a collection, call them directly, at 610-722-9004 or send an e-mail to Todd Converse, at Todd@ConverseClocks.com or to Gordon Converse, at Gordon@ConverseClocks.com. All e-mail inquiries get prompt replies.
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE