Pennsylvania Impressionist work tops Two Day Fall Antique & Fine Art auction at Cordier Antiques & Fine Art

Dec. 14, 2007

CAMP HILL, Penn.—On Nov. 10-11, Cordier Antiques & Fine Art conducted their Two Day Fall Antique & Fine Art at which Pennsylvania Impressionist painter Walter E. Baum’s painting entitled “Easton” was the top lot of the sale garnering $52,900. The large 40” by 50” winter scene was exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ annual exhibition in 1934.

The multi-consignor sale was conducted over two days and featured items from over ninety-five consignors including estates and collectors. Day one featured 428 lots covering coins and bullion, books, autographs and documents, military, toys, jewelry, silver, art glass, and decorative arts while Day two featured 497 lots covering European, Asian and American ceramics, textiles, early glass, decorative arts, fine art, furniture and rugs. The sale also featured a Victorian art glass collection from the Estate of Miriam Shirk of Lancaster, Pennsylvania as well as furniture from the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg. All prices include buyer’s premium.

The auction opened with a modest selection of coins and bullion with good results, including an 1860 $3.00 gold piece graded AU55 (Polished) selling for $690 and a 54th PA Volunteers JA Garman Sutler token realizing $259, both to the Internet. A wide selection of books, signed documents, paper and photographs was offered next with many items selling above estimate to the Internet. Among the autographed items was a Woodrow Wilson signed clemency document estimated at $200 to $400 that sold at $747 and a Millard Filmore free frank with signed letter that reached $920 on an estimate of $300 to $500. The Filmore free frank was part of a grouping of documents related to the Reverend Septimus Tustin, Chaplain of both the House of Representatives in 1837 and the Senate in 1841.

A pleasant surprise in this area was an early 20th century porcelain Honest Scrap tobacco sign. Estimated at $100 to $200, the sign in excellent condition saw spirited bidding, finally selling to the Internet for $1,380. On the other end of the spectrum, an interesting grouping of items from the Estate of James West Roosevelt, cousin of President Theodore Roosevelt, saw disappointing results with several items failing to sell, including a family photo album and several journals. A journal presented to Roosevelt and his wife Laura D’Oremieulx on their marriage and embossed “Waldeck Oyster Bay” did sell to the Internet for $172.

Military items and toys followed with strong results. In military, the floor prevailed on a Standard Model 1850 Civil War sword at $605, a Civil War ammo pouch with belt at $770 and a William Mason Model 1861 rifle also at $770 while an Internet bidder won a 19th century niello decorated cavalry saber catalogued as possibly French at $862. A unique World War II “Dilbert” Navy Flyer mascot doll dressed in full parachute gear and handmade by a female parachute rigger hammered down at $575. The lot also included the maker’s rigging tools and military history.

Among the toy offerings was an unusual cast iron bell toy featuring two spinning jesters. Estimated at $1,000 to $2,000, the toy sold to an absentee bidder for $1,150. A circa 1903 Lehman Tut Tut tin toy surpassed it’s estimate of $200 to $400 selling for $862 to the Internet while a postwar Lionel Outfit 2276W with the set box sold within estimate at $1,380.

Jewelry and watches followed. The floor prevailed on many lots including a diamond filigree brooch pendant for $770 and a 5.04 ctw diamond bumblebee pin for $3,300. Of note was a ladies diamond and sapphire Art Deco watch that hammered down at $4,125 (estimate $2,000 to 3,000) and a 14 karat opal bangle that reached $1,045 (estimate $600 to $800).

One highlight of the day came in the silver category with a large circa 1917 Stieff sterling floral repousse vase. Estimated at $600 to $800, the ornate piece saw a flurry of bidding both in the room and on the Internet with the floor prevailing at $3,575. A large Mexican silver tea set with tray also went to the floor selling within estimate for $2,475. However the Internet was successful on a 19th century Continental cased condiment set at $1,725 (estimate $400 to $600).

Glass was also represented and featured a collection of Victorian art glass from the Estate of Miriam Shirk, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Prices were good with several key pieces bringing strong results. A pair of Moser pink opaline enameled vases estimated at $600 to $800 realized $1,320 while a La Verre Francais purple cameo cut vase was hammered down at $977 (estimate $250 to $350). The section ended with two top lots, both lamps. The first, a ruby cut to clear banquet oil lamp estimated at $200 to $400, saw spirited bidding before hammering down to the Internet at $1,380. An absentee bidder prevailed on the second, an Art Glass table lamp cameo cut with floral decoration attributed to Steuben, at $1,955.

The first day ended with decorative arts including a selection of ecclesiastical items. A 16th century illuminated manuscript of music realized $1,100 on an estimate of $150 to $300. The piece, from Massacre of the Innocents, featured a large illuminated letter “A” with a scene of a man stabbing a child in his mother’s arms. A 16th century Baroque dower chest was the top lot of the day, exceeding its $600 to $1,200 estimate to close at $6,600 to a New York dealer in the room. Among other offerings in decorative arts was a boxed set of intricately carved ivory netsuke. Estimated at $600 to $1,200, the set sold to the Internet for $1,495.

Day Two of the auction began with European and Asian porcelain and ceramics. European pieces saw mixed results. A hand painted Sevres urn with ormolu mounts estimated at $1,500 to $3,000 sold to the room at $825 while a Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica charger hammered down at $1,150 to the Internet on an estimate of $400 to $600. Asian pieces also saw mixed results. A set of six Chinese Export Fitzhugh deep plates sold for $1,495 (estimate $1,500 to $3,000) while a Chinese Export punch bowl circa 1800 realized $1,610 (estimate $800 to $1,200), both to the Internet.

Americana was the main theme of the second day of the auction and offered a selection of porcelain and ceramics, textiles, glass and decorative arts in all price points with many items selling for under $500. A high point was reached in porcelain and ceramics with a spatter cup and saucer. Decorated with a peafowl on a branch with green spatter, the piece flew past its estimate of $200 to $400, finally being hammered down at $1,430 to the floor. One of the top lots of the day came in decorative arts when a Lancaster Compass Artist trinket box crossed the block. Conservatively estimated at $3,000 to $5,000, the box, decorated with the expected compass type decorations and featuring an inscription inside the lid, saw strong bidding on the floor before being hammered down at $9,900.

The fine art portion of the auction opened with a strong lot – a Pablo Picasso print entitled “Le Crane de Chevre Sur Table” that closed at the top end of its estimate to the Internet at $5,750. Art overall saw strong results. A 19th century Japanese woodblock portfolio realized $2,070 while a circa 1840 portrait of a woman identified as M. Mehitabel Walsh, granddaughter of Captain William Bull, Orange County, New York, sold to an absentee bidder for $2,415. European offerings included a Russian painting by Wladimir Petroff of a church interior at $4,025 (estimate $800 to $1,200) and a small Victor Hugo pen, ink and wash landscape at $9,200 (estimate $3,000 to $6,000). Both pieces sold to the Internet.

American offerings included a pastel on paper portrait of a lady with two puppies by William Haskell Coffin. Featured on the cover of Metropolitan Magazine circa 1912, the piece sold within estimate for $4,125 to the floor. Pennsylvania artists were represented including several pieces by well known Harrisburg artist Ira Deen (1874-1952). A large landscape of the Rockville Bridge, Harrisburg, estimated at $1,000 to $1,500 did very well, closing at $1,760.

A Pennsylvania artist also captured the title of top lot of the two day sale. A 40” by 50” oil on canvas landscape painting entitled “Easton” by Pennsylvania Impressionist artist Walter E. Baum caused a flurry of bidding. The winning bidder, a collector from Bangor, Pennsylvania near Easton, finally prevailed at $52,900 garnering a round of applause from the room. David Cordier, owner of Cordier Antiques & Fine Art, noted that the painting had been exhibited in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ annual exhibition in 1934 and had been purchased from the artist’s studio by the consignor’s parents, adding further importance to the piece. The Internet prevailed on a second smaller Baum landscape at $1,150.

Furniture and rugs concluded the two day sale. While the rugs offered disappointing results, furniture saw many strong hammer prices. Of note was a grouping of items from the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg including a massive ten foot long divan designed by J. M. Huston circa 1906 for the Senate Pro Tempore Reception Room. The piece sold within estimate for $3,162 to the Capitol Preservation Committee who plans to restore the divan and return it to the Capitol building. Another piece of local interest was a large 19th century cast iron garden lion on plinth base signed “W.W. Jennings Harrisburg” for William W. Jennings, the founder of the Franklin Iron Works in Harrisburg in 1859. It also sold within estimate to the room for $5,060.

Other furniture items of note included a Pennsylvania arched door corner cupboard at $6,900 and a circa 1810 Classical sofa carved with serpents for $2,090. Several Arts and Crafts pieces were offered including an L&JG Stickley bookcase. Estimated at $1,500 to $3,000, the piece sold to the Internet for $4,025.

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