DELAWARE, Ohio – Some people know that 2009 is The Year of the Ox on the Chinese calendar, but for Garth’s Auctions and members of the antiques community, it is shaping up to be The Year of the Painted Surface.
On March 28, Garth’s bidders in the sale room and on the phone lines bid on a selection of early American antiques and accessories. The star of the auction was a rare, decorated blanket chest from New Market, Shenandoah County, Va. The chest retained its original paint decoration consisting of yellow, orange and black leaves on a blue ground and a stylized bird adorning the lid. The heated bidding ended at $38,187.
“In any economy, the rarity and folk nature of a piece like the Stirewalt blanket chest will stand up and be noticed. You not only have paint as a primary interest factor – you also have regionalism. And the pride of ownership for regional objects from Virginia, as we know, runs strong,” remarked owner of Garth’s, and lead auctioneer, Jeff Jeffers.
A 30-drawer apothecary chest, in old, but not original paint, brought $16,450; a Pennsylvania poplar blanket chest dated 1836 with three lower drawers and turned feet sold for $6,169; and a one-piece architectural corner cupboard fetched just over $4,406. A Southern, possibly Virginia, punched tin pie safe with old red paint crossed the block for $4,230.
A carved and painted eagle attributed to John Haley Bellamy in pine with a painted banner reading “Don’t Give Up the Ship” flew to a high bid of $9,988. A life-size, folk art carved and painted figure of a man walked away with a high bid of $7,050.
Formal furniture accessories from both America and Europe fared well. Bidding on a late 18th or early 19th century Scottish inlaid barometer ended at $11,162. An ash burl bowl with good figure and carved handles went to a new home for $5,875.
Other highlights among the formal furniture included a Chippendale serpentine-front, cherry chest of drawers with fluted quarter columns and spurred ogee feet, which sold for $19,975 and a Massachusetts Federal inlaid tall case clock by John Bailey with a fretwork pediment, mahogany case, ogee feet and inlaid flowers, which brought a timely $23,500.
A favorite among the artwork included a fine portrait of a cat sitting in front of a window selling for $2,115, while a small, unsigned folk art winter landscape attracted interest and sold for $2,703.
Various items from a pewter collection were strong with a plate by Cornelius Bradford, New York City and Philadelphia, circa 1752-1770, selling for $1,058 and another plate, likely dating to pre-Revolutionary War times by John Skinner, Boston, circa 1760-1790, sold for $999. A 19th century American wrought iron, floor standing candle stand with tripod base and an accordion arm resulted in a price of $1,087.
When asked about the tone of the auction, Jeffers offered, “Overall, the auction was strong – given the current climate.”
For more information about this or any other Garth’s auction, visit www.garths.com or call 740-362-4771.