French automaton narrowly beats out Herter Bros. cabinet for top lot honors

Cordier Antiques & Auctions registers 400 bidders though Artfact.com



The auction ended on a high note as the second and final lot of the auction came up – a Steinway baby grand Model S art case piano – sold for $25,000.

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This monumental French singing automaton bird clock sold for $38,000 and took top lot honors at the Nov. 6-7 fine antiques auction held by Cordier Antiques and Auctions.

A monumental, 19th century French enamel and brass automaton singing bird clock realized $38,000 in Cordier Antiques & Auctions’ Nov. 6-7 sale in Camp Hill, Pa.  In addition, a rare and important Herter Brothers cabinet fetched $36,000 while a Steinway baby grand Model S inlaid art case piano sold for $25,000.  

The multi-consignor sale featured items from over one hundred consignors including estates and collectors.  More than 300 people attended the 651-lot auction in addition to phone and absentee bidders.  More than 400 bidders were pre-registered to bid via the internet through ArtFact which also provided an online catalog of the auction.  Prices quoted do not include the buyer’s premium (ranging from 10 percent to 15 percent).

Saturday’s session began with paper, Civil War and military items.  Among several Frakturs offered in the auction was a small presentation watercolor of three flowers in a basket attributed to Christian Mertel.  At only 2 inches by 4 inches, it sold within estimate at $350.  An interesting Civil War-era Pennsylvania Railroad archive of letters written to and from Superintendent Enoch Lewis sold for $250.  Mr. Lewis had a long career with the PRR which included involvement in a secret plan to get President-Elect Lincoln safely to Washington in 1861.  In a related lot, an 1864 Lincoln/Johnson campaign ribbon in fine condition sold to an absentee bidder for $750. 

Among other Civil War weapons offerings was a cavalry saber with original sword belt.  Estimated at $500 to $1,000, the sword hammered down to a bidder in the room at $1,300.  The same bidder was successful on an officer’s frock coat, sword belt and kepi for $1,700.  An archive of Civil War letters written by Harvey Lindsley Pierce, including two from the notorious Libby Prison where he died in 1863, saw strong bidding before hammering down at $1,000 (estimate $300 to $500).  Pierce was an Assistant Surgeon in the Fifth Maryland Regiment. 

Collections of occupational shaving mugs, early fleams and figural meerschaum pipe were offered in Saturday’s sale with most selling at or above estimate.  Among other Collectibles was a Swarovski limited edition Peacock at $1,600 and a fine Gothic Revival table box at $625.  The highlight among Toys was a Schoenhut Freihofer delivery wagon.  Freihofer’s was a bakery established in Philadelphia in 1900.  The consignor’s father was a driver for the Allentown branch that opened in 1920 and received the wagon from the company circa 1930.  The piece was in fine condition and saw strong bidding before hammering down to the room at $2,000.

Saturday’s session offered one hundred lots of quality sterling and plate including teasets, hollowware, flatware and presentation pieces by Tiffany, Kirk, Jacobi & Jenkins, Gorham, Wallace, and Whiting.  The key lot was an exceptional S. Kirk & Son sterling punch bowl presented to W. Bladen Lowndes, son of Lloyd Lowndes, Jr. (Governor of Maryland, 1896-1900) by the directors of the First National Bank of Mt. Savage, Maryland in 1911.  Mr. Lowndes was the bank’s first president in 1902.  The bowl, estimated at $5,000 to $7,000, features ornate repousse overall with cartouches of a town scene of Mt. Savage and the presenters’ names.  A local collector in the room was successful in winning the bowl within estimate at $6,500.

Other important lot was an Omar Ramsden presentation footed bowl (estimate $2,500 to $5,000).  The bowl was presented to the consignor’s grandfather N. Allan Pettit as gift from Maxwell Wyeth of the Wyeth Pharmaceutical family and a well known Philadelphian. Mr. Pettit was a World War I veteran and the nephew of another prominent Philadelphian, Walter S. Johnston.  A phone bidder from New York was successful in winning the piece at $3,500. 

Saturday concluded with over 80 lots of fine jewelry including diamond, gemstone, gold and Native American.  Among several fine diamond jewelry offered was a 3.81 carat round brilliant cut diamond (VS1, I-J) ring in platinum with .42 carats in side stones.  A floor bidder was successful in winning the ring just above low estimate at $16,000.  The floor was also successful on a 1.22 ctw diamond stickpin at $2,100 (estimate $800 to $1,200) while an internet bidder won a 1.76 ctw diamond filigree ring at $4,000 (estimate $2,000 to $3,000).

A grouping of jade and gold jewelry turned out to be one high point in Saturday’s sale.  Estimated at $100 to $200, the grouping, consisting of a ring, two pairs of earrings and a pin, had seen a strong interest from the internet in the days leading up to the auction.  With the addition of phone and floor bidders during the sale, the lot took off with a phone bidder coming away the winner at $2,250.  Fine watches were also auctioned including an 18K wristwatch by Patek Philippe.  Estimated at $2,000 to $3,000, the watch saw strong bidding before hammering down to a phone bidder in the United Kingdom at $4,500.

Sunday’s session began with Textiles and Furniture.  One of the highlights of furniture was a rare and important Herter Brothers cabinet with inlay and painted panels.  The cabinet had garnered much interest prior to the sale and bidding was strong eventually coming down to two phone bidders before being hammered down at $36,000.  Among furniture lots of interest included an 18th century blanket chest with drawers at $900 (estimate $600 to $800) and a Continental painted room screen at $950 (estimate $400 to $600).

A Newcomb College moss and moon vase was a key lot of Ceramics.  Well marked and featuring the popular Spanish moss covered trees and moon decoration, the piece sold within estimate at $2,500 to a collector in the room.  A pair of Scheibe-Alsbach equestrian figurines estimated at $400 to $600 went to a collector in the room for $1,000.  Among several lots in the auction with provenance from the collection of the late W. Hinckle Smith, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, was a pair of 17th century Italian Urbino majolica urns.  Decorated with figures and chimeras in yellow, blue and green and with additional provenance from the Castellani Collection, Italy, the pair sparked strong interest, quickly exceeding their $500 to $700 estimate to hammer down at $5,500 to a phone bidder.

Art saw somewhat soft prices overall.  The highlight was a vibrantly colored landscape by Italian artist Michele Cascella (Italian, 1892-1989) at $4,250 (estimate $3,000 to $5,000).  Among bronzes and sculpture was an Erte bronze entitled “Melisande” that went to the internet at $1,900 while a bronze by Hermann Otto Haase-Ilsenburg (German, 1879-1960) entitled “Amazon’s Farewell” sold to a dealer in the room at $1,400.  A number of portraits were offered including a portrait of Lt. William Snow Steele of the Royal American Regiment attributed to Allan Ramsay (English, 1713-1784).  A phone bidder was successful at $1,400.  An 18th century American School portrait of a young boy also did well, realizing $1,100 to the room.  A small oil on paper painting by Jackson Pollock’s wife Lee Lenore Krasner (American, 1908-1984) went to a phone bidder in France for $2,500 while a drawing entitled “Mother Africa” by Horace Pippin (American, 1888-1946) that was noted to have been the property of Bernice Abbott, the American photographer, sold via absentee bid for $850.

The final portion of Sunday’s session was greeted with anticipation as two important lots crossed the block.   The first was a monumental French automaton singing bird clock.  Standing 38-1/2” high, the clock featured a champleve enamel and brass case housing a fully feathered automaton bird in a naturalistic setting above the dial.  Estimated at $25,000 to $35,000, the clock had garnered much interest leading up to the sale.  Bidding started strong and quickly escalated into estimate range before coming down to two phone bidders who battled to the final bid price of $38,000 making the clock the top lot of the two day sale.

The auction ended on a high note as the second and final lot of the auction came up – a Steinway baby grand Model S art case piano.  Featuring a beautiful marquetry case inlaid with floral sprays and musical instruments, the piano was in fine and well maintained condition.  To emphasize the condition, the audience was treated to a demonstration by award winning pianist, composer and producer Bob Barry before bidding began.  Estimated at $20,000 to $30,000, the bidding stayed in the room before hammering down within estimate at $25,000.

  
More from Antique Trader

Resources:

Warman’s Portable – Searchable Civil War Collectibles 
This CD version of this collector and historian favorite allows you to use key words or the handy index to search for firearms, uniforms, flags, banners, currency, personal memorabilia and photographs, among other things used by the United States and Confederate States. In addition, you can enlarge pages by 400% for a closer look at artifacts, data and pricing.

101 Things You Didn’t Know About Lincoln
101 Things You Didn't Know About LincolnIn this engaging, intelligent book, you’ll learn about more than just Abraham Lincoln’s savvy political skills and Civil War power plays. 101 Things You Didn’t Know about Lincoln reveals other little known details of his personal and professional life.

Check out this short demonstration of a, albeit less elaborate, bird automatom




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MORE RESOURCES FOR ANTIQUE COLLECTORS and DEALERS

Great books, CDs, price guides & more

Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles 2011 Price Guide

Interact with other antique collectors in Antique Trader’s online forum

Get up-to-date pricing for tens of thousands of antiques & collectibles on Collect.com – FREE for 1 year – when you join the Collecting Insider Club!

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More Images:

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This impressive and highly-carved Herter Brothers cabinet had high expectations before the auction. It eventually sold for $36,000, just shy of the top lot.
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An antique campaign ribbon for Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson from the 1864 election sold for $750.
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This vintage Schoenhut Freihofer Delivery Wagon sold for $2,000.
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A lovely S. Kirk & Son antique sterling silver presentation bowl sold for $6,500.
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A large and luxurious Omar Ramsden antique sterling silver presentation bowl sold for$3,500.
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This impressive 4.23 ctw diamond & platinum engagement ring brought $16,000.
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A grouping of gold and authentic jade jewelry sold for $2,250.
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A Patek Philippe 18K gold wristwatch sold for $4,500.
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This Steinway baby grand Model S inlaid art case piano, featuring a beautiful marquetry case inlaid with floral sprays and musical instruments, was in fine and well maintained condition. To emphasize the condition, the audience was treated to a demonstration by award winning pianist, composer and producer Bob Barry before bidding began. Estimated at $20,000 to $30,000, the bidding stayed in the room before hammering down within estimate at $25,000.

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