Hunt auctions rare R.J. Horner parlor suite at New Year’s sale

A gorgeous antique mahogany winged griffin two-piece parlor suite, crafted in the 1880s by R.J. Horner, soared to $10,450 at a multi-estate sale held Jan. 1 by Hal Hunt Auctions. It was the ninth New Year’s Day sale held by the firm, at Hal Hunt’s spacious gallery facility located at 5925 Highway 43 North in Northport, Ala.

“That suite could easily have brought $14,000 or $15,000, so someone got a great bargain,” said Hal Hunt of the Horner set. “The chair, in particular, is very rare.” Mr. Hunt added good deals abounded at the auction, in part because the economic climate is friendly to bargain hunters, but also because that’s just the way things go at his auctions.

“People come to my sales expecting to find great deals, and the New Year’s event is typically one of our largest and most exciting events of the year. This one was no exception. It was a great way to kick off the new year.” As for the economy, Mr. Hunt said one safe way to invest one’s money right now is to pour it into quality antiques.

“I’ve got clients who’ve lost 40-50 percent in the stock market,” he said, “and I can say with confidence that wouldn’t have happened if they’d invested that money in antiques and fine art. The market is still steady in the antique world. Not crazy, but consistent. You definitely won’t lose money in quality antiques like you will in stocks.”

About 300 people packed the showroom, where 425 lots changed hands. The sale was held entirely in-house – with no phone, absentee or Internet bidding. Lots were consigned from several prominent local estates, as well as the second Georgia estate home of the late Mr. Sylvester Seager. “We had something for just about everybody,” Mr. Hunt said.

Additional highlights from the sale follow. All prices quoted include a 10 percent buyer’s premium.

The top lot of the day was a monumental 19th-century Sevres porcelain urn, 56 inches tall, that hammered for $14,850. One other lot succeeded in cracking the $10,000 ceiling: a beautiful three-piece French bronze clock set from the 19th century that chalked up $11,550. Also, a 146-piece King Edward sterling service changed hands for $7,700.    

Bidders looking for game room items were not disappointed. An antique amusement race horse wheel crossed the finish line at $7,150; an antique roulette wheel rose to $5,500; a rare rain-making machine dubbed “Finyus T. Fog” from the movie Wild Wild West realized $2,200; and a 1950s wooden carousel horse galloped away for $990.

An eye-grabbing 19th-century polychrome blackamoor, 78 inches high by 30 inches wide by 22 inches deep and depicting a figure on a pedestal with grape clusters above, went to a determined bidder for $8,250. Also, a 19th-century antique blackamoor, 4 feet 8 inches tall and depicting a figure on a pedestal with a tray, fetched $4,950.

A collection of twelve original works of folk art by the late Alabama painter W. (Willie) Walker went for prices ranging from $880 to $1,540. Mr. Walker was a Black artist from Bullock County, Ala., in the Blues Old Stand area of the state. He died about ten years ago, at age 93. Hal Hunt Auctions sold a dozen other paintings by him in June.

A gallery-quality American cast re-strike of Frederick Remington’s iconic work Coming Through the Rye commanded $3,850; a pair of intriguing antique horns with bronze griffins chalked up $1,650; a unique antique horn chair, with real elk antlers, hit $1,045; and a selection of 19th-century winged griffin lamp tables made $330-$660 each.

A turn-of-the-century child’s parade buggy rolled off for $1,650; a great carved throne chair with cherubs was a veritable steal for $1,540; a fine 19th-century rosewood bronze mounted French commode, 47 inches wide by 35 inches tall, topped out at $3,850; and a beautiful inlaid china cabinet, 84 inches tall, was a bargain for $1,320.

A fabulous and exotic Coral Mandalin wood antique Biedermeier chest from the early 1840s sold for a respectable $4,400; a nice pair of 1920s marble-top lingerie chests chalked up $660 each; and a sprawling custom mahogany carved, beveled glass, corner bookcase unit with hidden compartments gaveled for a surprisingly low price of $3,025.

A must-see early 19th-century Rococo heavily-carved wooden gold leaf mirror rose to $4,400; an antique Trumeau mirror, 50 inches wide by 93 inches high, realized $1,980; an antique Chinese altar console table, 9 feet wide, was a good deal at just $1,650; and a leather-top Jacobean antique bar, 30 inches wide by 58 inches high, soared to $2,200.

Several chandeliers changed hands for prices ranging from $880-$3,080. A large selection of antique Turkish Oushak rugs came up for bid, with runners bringing $165-$220 each and room-size pieces reaching $1,100-$1,650 each (one antique Persian serapi soared to $7,150). Also, a French bronze and silverplate jewelry box made $495.

A pair of 19th-century bronze, marble and cloisonné urns, 19 inches tall, went for $4,675; a rare, hand-carved ivory with elephants brought $495; an English burled walnut tannelous set rose to $2,750; a set of ten gold overlay Bohemia plates, all artist signed, hit $220 each; and 10 English tea caddies and English boxes hammered for $220-$440 each.

Hal Hunt Auctions’ next big sale will be held Saturday, Feb. 21. It promises to be huge, featuring a single-owner lifetime collection of quality American antiques.

Hal Hunt Auctions is accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, estate or collection, you can call them at 205-333-2517, or e-mail them at

For more information about Hal Hunt Auctions and its calendar of upcoming sales, visit

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