DOWNINGTOWN, Pa. – With contents that span literally all aspects of American history, Pook & Pook Inc’s Jan. 15-16 auction catalog might well be mistaken for a major museum inventory. That’s not so unusual, since the Chester County auction house is located in the tenderloin of Pennsylvania’s museum region. Pook & Pook’s management is encouraging visitors to their mid-January sale to explore local institutions as part of a very special hospitality package that includes being wined, dined and put up in a local hotel, and you can read more about how to qualify later on in this article. First let’s talk about the auction itself.
All sessions will feature Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers.com. The opening session on Friday evening, Jan. 15, begins with the collection of furniture, Oriental rugs and paintings from the legendary Elinor Gordon’s home located in the tony Philadelphia suburb of Villanova. Ms. Gordon, who died in July, was renowned for helping to elevate the status of Chinese export porcelain and for her knack in acquiring important pieces on behalf of collectors and museums. Included in the Gordon estate offering are pair of rare New York chairs, a Philadelphia compass-seat chair, paintings by Tait, Bishop and Enneking; and an N.C. Wyeth landscape of the artist’s own farm.
A large collection of English ceramics from both a Pennsylvania educational institution and a private New York collection will follow. Historical blue china including an Arms of Pennsylvania platter, an Arms of Delaware platter, and an Arms of Virginia covered vegetable will be sold. Other items are a Harrison White House plate, a rare Tucker ice water pitcher, Liverpool pitchers, mocha, Gaudy Dutch and many other items that have been out of the public eye for many years.
Friday’s group of scrimshaw from the Cumberland County Historical Society includes two dated whale teeth and many other interesting items. This will be followed on Saturday by three newly discovered Nathaniel Finney scrimshaw walrus tusks. These fully carved pieces represent the epitome of this well-known San Francisco scrimshaw artists’ work.
A cache of letters of great historical interest will be sold Saturday. Correspondence to Colonial William Church, founder of the NRA, from presidents Buchanan, Johnson, McKinley, Taft, Tyler and Roosevelt are included. Especially interesting is a letter from Teddy Roosevelt written from San Juan complaining about the “slander” of reports that Rough Riders were killed by friendly fire. Other letters from Samuel Clemens, Edwin Booth, General Custer, Admiral Dewey, Peary, Sherman and others, along with Confederate ephemera, will be offered as part of this fascinating window into American culture at the turn of the 20th century.
A selection of fine pre-colonial American silver comes with provenance from a pioneer collector. A Newport tankard by Samuel Vernon will compete with a teapot by Potwine, a tea caddy by Van Voorhis & Schenk, an unusual child’s cann by Jacob Hurd, two caudle cups – one by Henricus Boelen – later pieces by the Richardsons of Philadelphia, and an extraordinary tureen by Hyde & Goodrich of New Orleans.
Saturday’s session will include two fully carved highboys, one a previously uncataloged cherry bonnet-top example with unusual relief bird carvings and signed “S. Henszey 1767.” The other is a wonderful Philadelphia example featuring shell-carved drawers.
Other remarkable pieces of Pennsylvania furniture in the sale include two wainscot chairs, a rare Pennsylvania hanging cupboard with exceptional hinges – from the collection of the late H. Richard Dietrich – a silver-face Philadelphia barometer by Fisher, and more than 20 tall-case clocks. One clock is the only known example by Abel Cottey, who died in 1711. This clock comes from the collection of Mrs. Joseph Carson. Other notable clock makers represented are Jos. Wills, Jacob Godshalk and Thomas Stretch. Additionally, there are two painted New England cases.
While there are many Chippendale and Federal pieces of furniture in the sale, those who appreciate folk art will appreciate several fine dower chests that have been cataloged, including a vibrant Soap Hollow example, a Center County chest with a rare blue background, a curly maple Dutch cupboard, redware plates, weathervanes and a fully furnished Victorian dollhouse.
Textile collectors will be well served by two vibrant Baltimore album quilts, a monumental Quaker sampler from New Jersey, and a dozen other needleworks, a 1775 bargello pocketbook, Boston mourning pictures and much more.
Last minute consignments not to be overlooked include a miniature portrait by Sully, a pair of watercolor-on-ivory miniature portraits of George and Martha Washington attributed to Trumbull, two elaborate French automata, and a collection of jewelry from a Philadelphia Main Line estate.
A fascinating slice of American history is the small collection of 10 Diamond Disc records made by Thomas A. Edison for his Florida neighbor, the industrialist Henry Ford.
Pook & Pook, Inc. will be celebrating their 25 years of success with a very special offer of free accommodations, food and admission to numerous area museums for those bidders who spend a minimum of $1,000. That’s not hard to do when the merchandise is as special as what is being offered in this sale.
In order to qualify, one must register before Jan. 15. Pook & Pook will pick up your tab (up to $100) at one of many participating local hotels or b&b’s for one night. Extra nights available at a special discounted rate.
Pook & Pook will wine and dine their special guest on Friday evening with top-shelf cocktails, fine wine and wonderful food. All will be encouraged to visit the many internationally acclaimed institutions in the area, including Winterthur, Brandywine River Museum, the Hagley Museum & Library, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Chester County Historical Society – all with admission paid by Pook & Pook.
Those participating in the special offer will also receive the $40 auction catalog absolutely free. Pook & Pook will dole out cash refunds after the $1,000 (hammer, before b.p. and sales tax) purchase requirement. For further information visit the company Web site at www.pookandpook.com or call 610-269-4040.
Visit the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet through www.LiveAuctioneers.com.
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ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE