Colonial Philadelphia chairs earn $21,850 at Wiederseim’s

By Gene Friedman – For Antique Trader

CHESTER SPRINGS, Pa. – The pair of circa-1760 Philadelphia Queen Anne chairs that sold for $21,850 (including 15 percent buyer’s premium) in Wiederseim Associates’ Summer auction might have graced a fine colonial American dining room at one time. But prior to their sale in the $253,000 event held June 24 at the Montgomery School in Chester Springs, they occupied space of far less distinction.

“It was somewhat hard to believe,” auctioneer Ted Wiederseim revealed after the sale, “but the chairs were in a Levittown, Pa., dining room, sharing space with a motorcycle. The owner didn’t know too much about them.” They came from the Wister-Brown family, descending to the consignor from his grandfather, who then resided in the much fancier Overbrook section of Philadelphia.

Bidding opened at $7,000 for the splat-back chairs, one of which was in fine shape and the other needing some repair. A telephone bidder ultimately prevailed on the lot. “It isn’t often you find a pair of three-shell chairs,” Wiederseim said, referring to the chairs’ carved decoration. The presale estimate had been set at $20,000-$25,000, “which was pretty close,” Wiederseim added.

Another top lot in the sale was a pair of late-19th-century Chinese porcelain jars, each 24 inches tall, that went to a phone bidder in Israel for $20,700. Validating the continued worldwide demand for Chinese antiques, the duo far surpassed its $300-$500 estimate. Wiederseim agreed that Israel was an unexpected part of the world from which to be receiving a bid on chinoiserie, but he said the jars were, indeed, paid for and were to be shipped to a London address.

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