Rare, fine Shenandoah Valley sampler tops out at $48,875 at Jeffrey S. Evans & Assoc. sale

MOUNT CRAWFORD, Va. – On July 25, Jeff and Beverley Evans conducted their first Americana auction under their new company, Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates, Inc. The cataloged auction of Southern Decorative Arts, Americana and Fine Antiques included an estate grouping of early 19th century Shenandoah Valley furniture that descended in the Thomas family of New Market, Va., a Roanoke, Va., estate collection of tiger maple furniture, selections from a prominent Virginia collection, and a fine grouping of Virginia and Mid-Atlantic folk pottery.

The auction was held in the Evans’ newly constructed, state-of-the-art gallery in Mount Crawford, Va., located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley.

The pottery category kicked off the sale, bringing good, solid prices. Included were two Rockingham County, Va., brushed cobalt decorated stoneware squat pots that were each incised “Apple” on one side. The 6 1/2-inch tall pot had tulips on one side and leaves on the other ($2,300), and the 5 3/4-inch high example had tulips on both sides ($2,415). These Coffman School pots were made sometime between 1845 and 1860 and despite condition issues, both bested their $1,000-$2,000 pre-auction estimates. Also of note was a 10 1/2-inch high 1 1/2-gallon capacity stoneware jar that was stamped “H.C. Smith / Alex’a / D.C” and sported brushed cobalt tassel and leaf decoration with some restoration ($3,450).

Jeff Evans didn’t mind at all when his selling pace was slowed by the most anticipated lot of the auction: a rare Harrisonburg, Va., silk-on-linen needlework sampler wrought in 1834 by Sarah Ann Gibbons. The elaborately designed 17-inch by 17 1/2-inch sampler that descended uninterrupted in the Gibbons/Miller/Yancey family of Rockingham County, Va., received a lot of museum interest, and its significance was indisputable, as evidenced by the $20,000 to $30,000 presale estimate. Four telephone bidders were prepared for an uphill battle, but it was an in-house participant who ultimately sewed up the sale with the new record auction price paid for a Southern sampler ($48,875). Next up was another fine Virginia silk-on-linen sampler, a slightly larger example that was stitched by Rebecca Davis in 1822 at the Northumberland Academy and from a “prominent Virginia collection.” The same bidder also took home this piece ($10,925), thereby securing two of the auction’s top three offerings.

The second highest achieving lot in the sale was a circa-1800 signed “J. Graff, Northhamp’n” inlaid cherry tall-case clock that descended in the Thomas family of New Market, Va., and was sold by the William West Thomas estate to benefit Bridgewater College. The clock was in “as-found” condition with its original pendulum and weights, and despite being in unknown working order, no time was wasted on finding a new owner for this rare piece. The bidding opened at $2,800 just before noon and before the minute hand could make a move, the clock had sold to an in-house bidder for $18,400. Evans announced before selling the clock that information was brought to his attention the previous day that prompted him to attribute the clock case to Christian Bear, a prominent cabinetmaker in New Market, Va., and later, Churchville, Va. The excited new owner is diligently researching the relationship between Graff and Bear.

Also from the William West Thomas estate was a circa-1805 banded walnut slant-front desk attributed to the New Market, Va., shop of Jeremiah Evans ($9,775). The desk, which is signed “New Market,” “McCann,” and “JMcCann,” was purchased by the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, Va., an institution that interprets the art, history and culture of the valley. James McCann is documented as working for Jeremiah Evans in the early 19th century. Jeff Evans’ discovery of this signed desk and the identity of its maker will now allow for the attribution of a large group of cabinetwork to the Evans/McCann shop.

Other fine Shenandoah Valley of Virginia furniture items included a tablet-top Windsor settee from 1800-1825 that retained its old dry green painted surface and descended in the Kline family of Frederick County, Va. ($5,462.50), a walnut pie safe with original green paint on each of the six hand-punched tins and an Augusta County, Va., provenance ($4,887.50), and a walnut single-piece step-back cupboard, from either Rockingham or Augusta County, that measured 80 inches by 40 inches by 20 inches ($4,887.50).

Other categories that comprised the auction were Civil War, Historical & Native American, Country Store & Toys, Baskets & Textiles, Folk Art & Fine Art, Silver & Jewelry, Decorative Accessories, and Glass & Ceramics. Highlights from some of these areas included a fine 20th century 2.68 ct. emerald-cut diamond solitaire ring in 14kt yellow gold ($8,625), an exceptional 100-inch by 110-inch Virginia Floral & Swag appliquéd quilt from the second half of the 19th century ($3,450), a set of eight green bowl “Russian” cut claret glasses, probably Dorflinger ($1,265), an early 19th century copper kettle stamped “P.Effinger” and attributed to Shenandoah County, Va., that was also purchased by the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley ($3,335), a 29 1/2-inch high by 30-inch wide Virginia sheet iron rooster weathervane in old white paint that had been found on an outbuilding near Winchester, Va., ($2,530), and a 9 1/4-inch long, Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, mid 19th century carved lollipop-style butter print ($1,495).

Additional Folk Art offerings were three figural carvings by the late John L. Heatwole, an award winning Shenandoah Valley of Virginia wood carver, author, historian and folklorist who passed away in 2006 at the age of 58. The pieces included a 6 1/2-inch tall beer-drinking, pipe-smoking cloaked man on stool ($805), a gentleman holding a large red apple, affectionately named “Colonel McIntosh” by the consignor that stood just 3 3/4 inches high ($1,380), and an 8 1/2-inch tall Santa Claus who appeared to have been captured mid-chortle ($1,265).

Those who cannot attend Jeff Evans’ auctions in person have the option to remotely submit absentee bids up until two hours prior to auction time via Auction Flex at www.jeffreysevans.com, Artfact Live (www.artfact.com) and Invaluable (Artfact’s international counterpart).

On Sept. 25 at 6 p.m., glassblower and historian Art Reed, whose essay is included in the Layton catalog, will present a special lecture titled Pillar-Molded Glassware: A Retrospective. The lecture is free and open to the public.

For additional information about past and upcoming auctions, visit www.jeffreysevans.com.

Photos courtesy Jeffrey S. Evans & Asssociates

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