Estate finds yield Confederate autographs, Portugese silver and rare Hearst collection
The Encyclopedia of Antique American Clocks—now in its second edition—provides authoritative and comprehensive coverage for collectors, dealers, decorators, and all who appreciate the timeless quality of antique clocks. Learn more at shop.collect.com.
CAMP HILL, Pa. — Cordier Antiques & Auctions’ Spring antique and fine art sale, May 22-23, offered a series of diverse collections ranging from military to autographs to unusual furniture. The 780-lot sale was held over two days in Camp Hill, Pa., across the Susquehanna River from Harrisburg.
Notable highlights include a Samuel Yellin hanging light for $6,250 and an oil on board painting of a monster by Argentinian artist Roberto Aizenberg for $7,000. Prices quoted do not include the buyer’s premium of 10 to 15 percent.
A trove of books, paper and ephemera featured an archive of hundreds of original drawings and manuscript material relating to the artistic career of Henry Harmony. Harmony was a self taught graphic artist who worked in New York and Boston sketching and cartooning political, social and theatrical events during the 1920s. The collection included the diplomatic papers of Harmony’s father Julio who was an American diplomat and consul to Spain. The papers included examples signed by Grover Cleveland and William McKinley that sold for between $350 and $390 each.
The auction included other autographed items including a Fidel Castro signed and inscribed slip of paper at $650 and a wonderful set of signed and inscribed Alfred Hitchcock and Tippi Hendron photographs from the movie “The Birds” at $550. Both lots were consigned by the family of Marcus (Max) Tax, a musician, composer and journalist who worked for the Foreign Press Association during the 1950s and 1960s.
Another item of note was a miniature portrait on ivory with attached hair locket that was part of a New Jersey/Philadelphia Quaker family archive. Purported to be of Joel White who “went down in a diving bell when first invented,” the portrait generated intense bidding, hammering down at $1,500 to the Internet on a $300 to $600 estimate.
A Confederate autograph album belonging to Lucy Darby Richardson of Lexington, Ky., was a highlight of the weapons and military offerings. The album featured approximately 30 Confederate soldier signatures including many members of Morgan’s Brigade and what was thought to be that of Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan himself.
Morgan was the leader of Morgan’s Raid in July 1863, the farthest north any uniformed Confederate soldiers would penetrate during the Civil War. The album realized $1,800 to the Internet. An Internet bidder was also successful on an original Nazi NSDAP building eagle at $900 (estimate $250 to $500).
Collectibles offered something for everyone from music boxes and sports autographs to collections of cow creamers and political buttons. One unique item was a Bobb’n Head The Beatles bobbin’ head set in its original box with original inserts. In mint condition, the set sold for $450.
A large lot of 1930s Boy Scout items belonging to Robert and John Sigafoos of Bucks County, Pa., including a sash with 22 Merit badges and an Eagle Scout award, saw strong bidding between the floor and a phone bidder, with the phone bidder prevailing at $1,700. Among the several music boxes offered was a large carved walnut coin operated Polyphon upright music box with 17 discs. It sold to an absentee bidder for just under the low estimate. A 1954 Gibson ES-175 D electric guitar in excellent condition sold within estimate to an Internet bidder at $2,500. Among the toy offerings was a Tete Jumeau bisque head bebe at $600 and a unique 5-inch, circa 1900 composition Brownie doll in a Motorman outfit at $140.
Several lots of Portuguese silver attracted strong bidder response when bidding resumed May 23. A pair of ornate Portuguese Renaissance Revival candelabra realized $1,300 to the phones while a four-piece tea set sold for $1,500 to a bidder in the room. That same bidder was successful on a fish set once owned by the consignor’s grandmother Maria Francisca de Saldanha da Gama, a descendent of Vasco da Gama. Several lots of George III English and Scottish silver pieces were offered as were four lots of Persian silver. The room was successful on a Camusso Peruvian six piece sterling tea set for the low estimate of $1,500 and a circa 1912 Tiffany & Co. sterling presentation loving cup at $750. Two lots of Tane Lunt (Mexico) sterling were offered, a pair of candleholders ($600) and a compote ($650) while sterling flatware sets continued to show robust results.
Saturday’s sale concluded with more than 130 lots of jewelry. The top lot was a lady’s 18-karat yellow gold stampato style bracelet. Weighing 136 grams, it sold within estimate at $4,700. An emerald and diamond ring set with a 15.12 carat cabochon emerald and 3 ctw of diamonds sold just below estimate to the room at $3,000. Among the several lots of Native American jewelry offered was a Zuni fetish necklace consisting of approximately three dozen small carved stone figures. Estimated at $75 to $100, the necklace saw a frenzy of bidding before hammering down to the Internet at a surprising $2,500. Among diamond jewelry was a fine 2.81 cwt Edwardian diamond brooch set with 82 Old European cut diamonds that realized $2,750 to the room. Five Rolex wristwatches were offered including a lady’s Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust in 18 karat gold that sold within estimate at $3,250. Also selling within estimate at $3,250 was a Deco Tiffany & Co. 14 karat gold mesh handbag with filigree frame and clasp set with cabochon stones. Other highlights included a Mexican Matl silver necklace and earrings at $1,500 (estimate $600 to $800) and a Victorian Etruscan micro-mosaic brooch at $900 (estimate $600 to $800).
Sunday’s session began with furniture and rugs and prices were somewhat soft. A Federal style sideboard by Council Craftsman sold to a dealer in the room at $1,200, as did an Arts & Crafts dresser with mirror attributed to Stickley at $900. A Sheraton writing desk from the William Randolph Hearst collection and still retaining the original Gimbel Brothers hangtag and Hammer Galleries letter sold within estimate at $1,400.
Ethnographics offered buyers more than 50 lots of African masks and sculpture in addition to Native American and aboriginal items. Among the Canadian aboriginal pieces was a stylized serpentine carving of a polar bear. Signed under base and retaining an Alberta, Canada, gallery label, the carving sold to the Internet for $750 (estimate $150 to $300). Several scrimshaw pieces were offered including a small woven basket with a carved horn finial in the shape of a whale’s fluke. Estimated at $50 to $100, the basket soared past its estimate hammering down to the floor at $600. The highlight among Asian Arts was a signed Chinese blue and white Imari figure of a seated Buddha. The piece saw strong Internet bidding, realizing $1,100 on a $100 to $200 estimate. A Russian bidder online was successful on a Japanese tapestry of a garden scene at $500 (estimate $150 to $300).
Decorative arts included more than 15 lots of American and English pewter including a pair of candlesticks hallmarked for Henry Hopper (New York City, second quarter 19th century). Estimated at $200 to $400, the pair sold to the Internet for $800.
Of local interest were a pair of monumental cast bronze and wrought iron andirons from the Thornwald Mansion in Carlisle. The mansion was built in 1909 for Lewis Sadler who often entertained national politicians and the elite. The consignor’s mother purchased the andirons at an auction of the mansion’s contents. Fittingly the pair sold to a local dealer in the room within estimate for $2,100.
Among the offerings in ceramics and glass was an Orrefors Graal vase by Edward Hald (1883-1980). Designed with a three-dimensional view of fish and aquatic plants, the vase sold to the room for $450. A pair of pink cased glass mantel lustres hammered down at $550 while a signed Lalique Lucca vase realized $425.
More than 95 lots of art were offered including an interesting folk art portrait of a woman on tin. Found hidden in the walls of Pineford Manor, Middletown, Dauphin County, when it was torn down in the 1950s, the profile portrait could not be firmly attributed to any of the known portrait painters of the period but was still a find at $265. Another interesting piece was an oil on canvas board painting by Argentinian artist Roberto Aizenberg (1928-1996). Depicting a monster in yellow and red on a landscape background, the painting generated a surprising amount of interest, selling to a South American collector on the phone for $7,000 (estimate $1,500 to $2,500).
Prints were also offered including several by Erte and Louis Icart. A 1929 Icart hand-colored drypoint entitled “Four Dears” hammered down at $700 while a color lithograph from the same year entitled “Sappho” realized $425 to a collector in the room. Among the Erte pieces was a serigraph entitled “Oriental Tale” that sold for $650 to the same collector. While only a few pieces of sculpture were included in this sale, the results were not disappointing. A large 48-inch marble sculpture of Persephone circa 1840-1860 realized $4,100 (estimate $1,000 to $3,000) while a marble bust of a gentleman of the same period sold for $1,800 (estimate $1,000 to $3,000).
Horology and lighting concluded the sale but saw several key lots crossing the block. A massive two-part 60-inch Black Forest carved wall clock having an S. Marti & Cie movement and featuring expertly done high relief carvings hammered down within estimate at $5,600 to a phone bidder while a Christian Eby (Manheim, Lancaster County) tall case clock in very good condition sold for $4,250. Offered just a couple lots short of the end of the auction was a hanging light fixture by Samuel Yellin (Philadelphia, 1885-1940). The large and finely wrought light just surpassed its high estimate, selling for $6,250 and ending the auction on an exciting note.
•Inside John Lennon’s Beatlemania
• A history of Steuben glass
• Rock and Roll movie posters not always valuable
• Restoration of a Darche 1908 Flashlight alarm clock
• Collectible clocks
MORE RESOURCES FOR ANTIQUE COLLECTORS and DEALERS