18th-century Delaware clock snares $74,750 at Bunch auction

By Gene Friedman – For Antique Trader

CHADDS FORD, Pa. – In fast paced bidding, a Dover, Del., dealer reportedly snatched a Delaware tall-case clock by Duncan Beard, circa 1759, for $74,750 (inclusive of a 15 percent buyer’s premium) in the $383,900 June 6 sale at Bunch Auctions.

Bidding opened at $25,000 for the 8-foot 4 1/2-inch tall walnut Chippendale walnut eight-day timepiece, with a telephone bidder defeating five others on the wire. The winning bidder was later thought to be a Dover dealer, but auctioneer William H. Bunch didn’t confirm the buyer’s name mentioned by fellow dealers. The bidding quickly erased the $40,000-$60,000 presale estimate.

Engraved on the highly desirable 18th century arched brass-and silver dial are the words Duncan Beard, Appoquinimink (now Newcastle County, Del.). The dial also contains Roman numerals in the chapter ring, which is surrounded by foliage and possesses a second hand and date window. It sports a broken-scroll bonnet with spiral-turned rosettes over an arched door, and the case has a solid walnut waist door, while the base has a shaped-crotch walnut turtle panel above ogee bracket feet. A penciled repair history inside the door dates back to 1864 and runs through 1981. Three finials are missing, and there are two splits in the right corner of the turtle-panel.

Two other heavy hitters among the clocks were a Pennsylvania walnut tall-case unsigned unit with a scroll bonnet and inlaid rosettes, which sold within estimate at $6,038 despite replaced ogee feet; and a contemporary Herschedes nine-tube mahogany hall clock that went for $2,415 to an eBay buyer.

A phone bidder plunked down $18,975 for a Steinway model M black lacquer grand piano, with bench and handmade scarf , which had been estimated at $12,000-$16,000. Bunch said that such a Steinway model sold new for $50,000 and was “the first Steinway in a year that didn’t go to eBay.” Bidding opened at $8,000, with five phones active. He added that the single-owner piano was purchased in 1974 in Providence, R.I.

In artwork, a 21 inch by 17 inch oil on canvas by Howard Pyle (American, 1853-1911) of a young scribe seated at a Gothic desk drew $17,259 from a phone bidder. Two nautical paintings by Alexander Stuart (American, 1838-1898) sailed to $13,225 for a 30 inch by 50 inch battle scene (estimate $4,000-$6,000), while a 26 inch by 22 inch oil on canvas of a three-mast sailing ship with an America flag fluttered to $5,463.

Jim Duff, executive director of the Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford, Pa., doled out $6,325 for a 9 1/4-inch by 14 inch watercolor by F.O.C. Darley (American, 1822-1888) of cows in a rocky stream, which earned five times its $1,000-$1,500 estimate.

Selling at the same price was a 27 inch by 36 inch oil on canvas by Stanley M. Arthurs (American, 1877-1950), of a man entering a room to surprise an embracing couple. Five other Arthurs illustrations were purchased in the room for $13,599 by Larry Marinti, a Wilmington, Del., dealer bidding on behalf of an Atlanta client via cell phone. Buyers gave $2,990 for a 10 1/2-inch by 13 7/8-inch gouache on paper of George Washington on horseback, and $2,760 each for a 7 3/4-inch by 11-inch oil on paper of Washington at Mt. Vernon and a 10 inch by 7 1/2-inch gouache on paper of two Indians and three settlers by a river. Other artworks included a 7 1/4-inch by 7-inch gouache on paper of an outdoor Masonic ceremony, which sold for $1,380; a 7-inch by 5 7/8-inch gouache on paper of men in a colonial tavern, $978; and a 9 1/2-inch by 7 7/8-inch gouache on paper of a man cooking at a stove, $431.

Furniture was led by a Renaissance Revival part-ebonized figured-walnut bedstead and bureau, circa 1870-1880, which went to an unidentified dealer in the packed saleroom for $12,075. A three-part mahogany Northumberland, Pa., Federal dining table was taken by a phone bidder for $10,300; and a Lancaster County, Pa., two-part Dutch cupboard closed at $9,200. Bunch pointed out the cupboard was purchased in 1948 for $302.

A walnut Chippendale Chester County, Pa., tall chest of drawers found a new home for $8,913; and a contemporary Queen Anne-style dining room suite made by Irion Furniture Co., with an extending pedestal dining table and 12 splat-back chairs, achieved $7,763. For $5,760, you could have owned an Irion Queen Anne-style walnut high chest of drawers or a pine cupboard-settle (bench).

Copper weather vanes were a crowd favorite, with a 32-inch by 18 1/2-inch cow ambling to $7,188. A 30-inch fish-shaped weather vane with dents, holes and repairs swayed to $4,313, more than three times its estimate; while a 44 1/2-inch by 31 inch long horse, suffering the same bullet holes, dents and repairs, trotted off to a new location for $2,990.

In porcelain, a 9 1/4 inch by 6 1/2 inch KPM plaque depicting an angel watching over two children at play near a cliff garnered $4,313 (estimate $2,500-$3,500); and another of the firm’s 10 inch by 7 5/8-inch plaques depicting women in contemplation achieved $3,220. A gilt-bronze musical bird box with a pierced floral design fluttered to $3,738.

“It was a good sale right across the board, with tremendous merchandise in furniture and artwork,” Bunch summarized. For information on future sales to be conducted by William H. Bunch, call 610-558-1800 or log on to www.williambunchauctions.com.