“Dave the Slave” jug brings $39,550 at Green Valley semiannual auction

Jeffrey S. Evans and the staff at Green Valley Auctions, Inc. in Mt. Crawford, Va., conducted the firm’s semiannual auction of Antiques, Americana and Decorative Arts June 27-28, 2008, selling more than 1,500 lots in one uncataloged and two cataloged sessions.

The auction featured the collection of Rebecca P. Cummins of Worthington, Ohio, and Newport News, Va.; the collection of an anonymous Richmond, Va., lady; the R. Bruce Campbell estate of Staunton, Va.; the country store collection of Joanne and Richard Galgano of Toms River, N.J.; private collections from Virginia, Florida and the Mid-Atlantic area, and a great deal of material that was consigned by descendants of the original owners, including the Sheets family of Augusta Co., Va.

The 10 a.m. Friday uncataloged session provided in-house bidders with a nice assortment of miscellaneous box and tray lots, artwork, porch and patio furniture, and “as-found” country store items.

With the exception of the 10 a.m. Friday session, the catalog for the entire sale was available on the firm’s Web site, and through Live Auctioneers and eBay Live. The cataloged portion of the sale kicked off at 2 p.m. on Friday, with more than 500 lots of books, trade catalogs, postcards, ephemera, country store and advertising, toys and Christmas, firearms and Militaria, Civil War, kitchen collectibles, Black Americana, Arts and Crafts, art pottery, primitive treen, tin and ironware, and other articles of interest.

The very first cataloged lot on Friday, an 1852 illustrated volume entitled, “Tauromachia, or The Bull-Fights of Spain,” amazed everyone when the bids just kept charging ahead, despite the book’s less than ideal condition. Although the volume had its original gilt lettered boards and was complete with 16 numbered pages and 26 numbered lithographs, the interior was completely detached from the covers. Nonetheless, this condition issue did not deter the interested parties, and the fight continued until the lot ultimately sold for $4,803 to an overseas telephone bidder (all prices include the buyer’s premium). Just seven lots later, a small 1865 leather-bound volume entitled “Oscanyan’s Oriental Album” that contained 24 CDV images of various Turkish subjects, sold to another phone bidder for an equally impressive $4,520. Also of note were a 1962 copy of “The Jerusalem Windows” illustrated by Marc Chagall, that included two original lithographs created by the artist specifically for the book ($1,020), a lot of nine leather and cloth board covered volumes with Washington family/Mt. Vernon provenance, that ranged in date from 1823 to 1852 ($1,808), a mid-19th century Virginia book of unused stock certificates from the New Market & Sperryville Turnpike Co. ($2,486), and a circa 1915 Charles Stickley Arts & Crafts furniture trade catalog ($3,900).

A nice selection of merchandise was offered in the ever-popular Country Store and Advertising category, including display racks, counters and showcases, and a large assortment of vintage advertising signs, tins and boxes, etc. Among the highlights were two similar Victorian oak barrel-roll wall display cabinets that brought $4,520 and $4,803; each cabinet measured 108 inches high by 60 inches wide and had its top accented with a decorative turned and carved crest/frieze. Also bringing $4,803 was another Victorian oak wall display cabinet with a turned and carved frieze at the top; this piece measured 108 inches high by 101 inches wide and featured sliding glass doors flanked by decorative spiraled half columns.

The lots offered in the child-friendly Toys and Christmas category drew some grown-up prices, highlighted by a late 19th century 20-inch high Jumeau French bisque head doll that sold to an Internet bidder for $5,100, even though the catalog noted that the head had a light hairline crack from the top to the eyebrow; and it was smooth sailing for an 18-inch long, late 19th century Bliss-type lithographed paper and wood “Alarm” toy ship that saw $2,520. Three nice Santa Claus figures from the late 19th/early 20th century brought solid prices, including two German papier-mache candy containers that separated above the feet to reveal their interior compartments. The first candy container, a 15 ½-inch tall, snow-covered Santa dressed in felt coat and hat, carried a basket on his back and held a small tree and lantern ($4,238) and a 14-inch high Santa holding a small tree was dressed in a fabric coat ($1,469). The other Santa Claus, bringing a respectable $1,808, was an 18-inch tall painted and molded chalk figure with applied glitter. The toy ship and all three Santas were from the collection of Rebecca P. Cummins of Worthington, OH. Other highlights from the Cummins collection included two similarly lithographed toy ships named “Rover” ($840) and “U. S. Cruiser Boston” ($900), a 9-inch high, 10-inch long wool-covered lamb toy with glass eyes and wooden hooves ($960), a 65-inch tall white feather tree with white faux berries and wooden stand ($840), a lot of four metal Santa Claus chocolate molds ($1,200), a painted composition Santa Claus figure who springs from a wooden hut when the door is opened ($1,020), and an 1896 Parker Brothers “The Night Before Christmas” lithographed board game ($1,074).

Other Session #2 highlights included a 41-inch long Japanese officer’s Samurai sword with scabbard ($3,240), a J. L. Moller Scandinavian teak dining table and eight chairs with original black leather seats and Moller tags ($1,469), a brass surveyor’s transit signed “W. & L. Gurley, Troy, NY” complete with original mahogany fitted box of accessories and tooled leather case ($660), a 6 ½-inch high Teco three-handled pottery vase in a matt butterscotch glaze ($1,074), and two vellum glazed Rookwood vases with hand painted woodland scenes — an 8 ½-inch tall example by decorator Lenore Asbury ($1,130) and a 6 ½-inch high vase by decorator Edward Dier ($1,356).

Saturday’s Session #3 kicked off at 9:30 a.m. with the Folk Pottery, one of Evans’ favorite categories and one in which he consistently produces some real treasures. The expected leader this time, a 15 ¼-inch high South Carolina stoneware storage jar that was attributed to the Lewis Miles Pottery and signed by enslaved potter “Dave,” did not disappoint. Born around 1800, Dave is known to have signed and dated over 100 vessels, including some with verse, and this approximately 5-gallon ovoid two-handled jar was incised “March 4 1857 Dave” on the shoulder. Extraordinary for their inscribed text since education of slaves was prohibited, Dave pots are also remarkable for their generous size (examples have been found as large as 40 gallons). The jar, which was in excellent condition with only a light 1 ½-inch hairline off of the rim and a few “small glaze pops,” had been consigned by a direct descendent of its original owner, Bragg Easterlin, Edgefield District, S.C. For the privilege of being the first person outside of the Easterlin family to own this particular “Dave the Slave” stoneware jar, an in-house dealer/collector from North Carolina respectfully paid $39,550.

Another in-house bidder paid $24,860 to take home the next highest achieving pottery piece, a 7 ½-inch high John D. Heatwole, Rockingham County, Va., brush-cobalt decorated salt-glazed stoneware squat jar that was inscribed for his wife and attributed to Heatwole’s Dry River Pottery. The bulbous form 1-gallon jar had two ribbed handles and featured an attractive split-head tulip decoration on the front and “Elizabeth / Heatwole 1851” on the reverse.

Although the decoration was atypical of Samuel Bell, a lead-glazed earthenware swirled cake mold that realized $11,300 was stamped “S. Bell” in eight different places, attributing the piece to the Virginia potter (1811-1891) who produced his wares in Winchester and Strasburg during the 1800s. The mold was decorated with an all-over tin-like slip wash, 13 brushed cobalt tulips, and copper and cobalt drips off of the rim. Already an unusual find in the form of a cake mold, the curious decoration and multiple stamp marks added interest to this lot and undoubtedly contributed to its impressive auction price.

Other choice Folk Pottery lots included a six gallon alkaline-glazed stoneware jar with slip-trailed loop and swag decoration that was stamped with a maker’s mark for Thomas Chandler’s Factory, Kirksey’s Crossroad, S.C. ($4,520), a 9 ½-inch tall flower and leaf decorated salt-glazed stoneware jar stamped “J. Black / DC / Alexa” ($13,560), a rare 8 ¾-inch tall stamped “S. Bell & son / Strasburg” unglazed earthenware seated spaniel figure with traces of old white and red paint ($4,803), a stamped two gallon, 12 ¾-inch high L. D. Funkhouser & Co., Strasburg, Va., decorated salt-glazed stoneware pitcher ($4,238), a 7 ½-inch long mid-19th century Pennsylvania salt-glazed stoneware, with restoration, pig-form flask with brushed cobalt decoration ($4,238), and a stamped one gallon “John Walker” decorated salt-glazed stoneware pitcher with brushed cobalt swags below the rim and two sweeping flowers around the shoulder ($5,085). The 10-inch high John Walker, Washington, D.C., pitcher had been recently discovered at a D.C. area house sale, and while its “as found” condition of three glued handle repairs, some losses, chips and wear undoubtedly reduced its definitive value, the piece was considered very rare.

Last November, with Jeff Evans at the reins, the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, Va., purchased a fabulous circa 1885 Shenandoah Valley Folk Art carved and painted carousel horse that will soon be installed as a prominent feature of the museum’s permanent exhibit. At this most recent sale less than a year later, Evans offered yet another horse from the same carousel, speculating that this latest offering was probably an inside horse since it was designed without a tail and its carved trappings lacked the polychrome paint decoration of last year’s horse. Also attributed to James W. Sheetz, Shenandoah County, Va., this carved and painted yellow pine horse had glass swirl-marble eyes and measured 48 inches high by 45 inches long. Although missing its original floating saddle, the horse was in excellent “as-found” condition with an outstanding, untouched surface. With the recent identification of this horse from a collection in Maine, Jeff Evans has now recorded four of the eight horses originally from the Shenandoah County traveling carousel that operated at various local fairs and Confederate Veterans Reunions during the late 19th/early 20th centuries. Evans was delighted to report that the new owner, who is now $21,470 lighter and very condition-conscious, has assured him that the horse’s original surface will not be compromised.

Achieving a final auction price of $56,500 and securing the auction’s top honor, was a Shenandoah Valley watercolor and ink on paper Folk Art painting in the original walnut frame that descended in the Andrew Sheets (1817-1852) family of Augusta County, Va. The unidentified artist employed primarily red, yellow and green to depict two festively dressed dark-haired ladies as they celebrated Shrove Tuesday (the beginning of Lent). Placing the ladies on a lawn strewn with flowers and beside a flowering vine-covered tree, the artist enclosed the entire scene within a drawn border and inscribed below, “Tuesday Febry 19th, 1828. Shrove T.” This 9 ¾- by 7 ½-inch sight, 11 1/8 inches by 9 inches overall watercolor was a mate to the similar single portrait, also from the Sheets (originally Sheetz) family, that sold through Green Valley on June 24, 2006. In both paintings, each lady wears a very distinctive hat, oddly reminiscent of a loaf of bread. Evans revealed that prominent Connecticut dealer Fred Giampietro bought the watercolor, and explained how the Shrove Tuesday artwork came up for auction. “The Sheets family got together over Christmas 2007 and the subject of the first watercolor came up in conversation. A family member in Texas remembered that his grandmother had given him something similar years ago and he sent me a photo. There was no doubt that it was the same artist. After additional research, we still could not locate any other examples, so it has been very exciting to handle two unique examples that have descended in the same family. The buyer of the first painting wanted this one also, but after paying $7,150 for the single portrait, he was simply not prepared to spend the amount of money it took to secure this companion piece.”

A signed Mary DeNeale Morgan (California, 1868-1948) oil and gouache triptych painting, in exquisite condition and offered in what appeared to be its original frame and mat, quickly reached its $16,950 selling price. Measuring 14- by 35 inches overall and depicting a California landscape of dunes and windswept cypress trees, the painting had descended in the family of Elizabeth S. Fagan of Hot Springs, Va.

Once owned by the Baltimore Museum of Art, a circa 1860 American school oil on canvas painting of the schooner, Joseph W. Webster sold for $5,085 as part of the Rebecca P. Cummins consignment. The painting depicted the two-masted vessel flying the American flag as she headed into an unidentified port. No signature was located on the 17 ½- by 23-inch (sight) painting that had been part of the distinguished collection of Colonel Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch prior to the museum’s acquisition. Colonel Garbisch and his wife Bernice, daughter of Chrysler Corporation founder Walter P. Chrysler, were advanced collectors of fine American antiques and paintings and are credited with coining the term “Naïve Paintings.” Upon their deaths in 1979, most of the paintings in the Garbisch collection were left to various museums throughout the country.

In 1960, Chiricahua Apache painter and sculptor Allan Houser (1914-1994) signed and dated a watercolor and gouache Southwestern landscape painting that sold at auction nearly 50 years later for $3,955. The 8- by 11-inch (sight) painting featured a lone pinyon tree with a mesa in the background. Other works by Mr. Houser are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Royal Collection, and the Smithsonian Institution. Note: Sam Haozous, the artist’s father, was with the small band of Chiricahuas when their leader Geronimo surrendered to the U.S. Army in 1886; Sam Haozous was a translator for Geronimo during the 20+ years in captivity.

An exceptional relief carved wood Civil War era pipe featuring a figure on horseback flanked by the raised lettering “STONEWALL” and “JACKSON” on the front of the bowl, was in top-notch original condition with outstanding patina to the wood. Similarly carved lettering on the back of the bowl identified the pipe’s original owner/artist as “EDGAR HOUGHTON / LA / 7TH INF,” who supplemented the main design with carved flags, a shield, clasped hands, scrollwork and other decorative accents. Consigned by a descendant of Edgar Houghton, the pipe was accompanied by a three-page research report detailing Houghton’s distinguished service, which included his involvement during the First Battle of Manassas (1861), Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign (1862), the Battle of Gettysburg (1863), and the Siege of Petersburg (1864). It is thought that this pipe was carved while Houghton was in captivity at Fort Delaware after being captured during the Battle of Waynesboro, VA on March 2, 1865. This remarkable pipe and associated documentation sold for $3,390.

Several lots of folky carved and painted wooden figures were offered, with two lots proving to be especially popular. A charming late 19th/early 20th century 4 ½- by 5 ½-inch long male hound dog in pointing position and in perfect condition with original dry surface brought $2,712, and a pair of male and female African American figures, each on its own painted wooden base, from an Albemarle Co., Va., collection that brought $2,938. Standing 16 ¾ inches and 13 ½ inches tall overall, the male figure, which was dated 1938, stood with top hat and cane and the female wore a spotted bandana head covering.

A fine price ($20,340) was paid for a fine early 19th century Virginia cupboard. The Federal period walnut flat-front cupboard was designed with a cove-molded cornice above two tall eight-pane doors, two half-length drawers with applied cock beading, and two low-fielded panel doors. Raised on an applied base with cut-out bracket feet and retaining its original glass, brass knobs and light red washed interior, the 89- by 49- by 17 ½-inch cupboard had been collected in the northern Shenandoah Valley. Also of note were a late 18th century, 60" tall, New England Bird’s-Eye Maple tall six-drawer with high, cut-out feet from the Cummins collection with no appreciable restorations or repairs ($6,215), and a 44 ½ inches high by 40 ½ inches wide Massachusetts Chippendale birch oxbow Serpentine slant-lid four-drawer desk in good “as-found” condition, with carved claw and ball feet that had descended in an old Richmond, Va., family ($5,368).

Through eBay Live Auctions, registered eBay users from around the world can absentee bid through eBay or participate in real time while the auction is ongoing at the firm’s galleries in Mt. Crawford, Va. In addition to the continental United States, post-auction shipping destinations included Alaska, Australia, Canada, China, Egypt, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. For $1,920, An Internet bidder in Germany won a set of seven 5 1/8-inch high European “probably German” Art Nouveau Cameo liqueur glasses in three different colors, each on a light green stem with swirled foot; each colorless bowl had a five-leaf/petal design underneath in single colors of light amber, amethyst and green, and a striking, circa 1915 French gilt-bronze and marble figural mantel clock now resides in Taiwan with yet another satisfied Internet bidder. The 13 ½-inch tall clock which featured a seated Diana the Huntress with game bird, arrow and quiver, sold for $1,200.

If you cannot attend the auction and online Internet bidding is not an option, the only other way to bid “live” during the auction, is by arranging a telephone bid prior to sale time. Phone lines are generally reserved for the higher end lots and certain criteria must be met, but if your lot is eligible for a phone bid, a member of the auction staff will call you in time to bid in real time.

Many phone bidders are repeat customers, but with the increased exposure from the Internet, new buyers are added to the customer base with every auction. A first-time bidder in California who pre-arranged a phone bid on a 19th century Empire carved marble mantelpiece was successful with a bid of $2,712. Understandably beyond the capabilities of the in-house shipping department, the bidder engaged a favorite shipping company who safely transported the extremely heavy 42- by 49-inch piece across the country. Another phone bidder won an early 19th century Staffordshire transfer creamware bowl with an interior portrait of George Washington inscribed “My Favorite Son” above and “Long Live the president of the United States” below. Considered rare, the 7 ¼-inch diameter bowl realized $2,260 even though it was in “as-found” condition with two rim hairlines, two cracks, two chips and some discoloration. Additional information about telephone bidding can be obtained through the firm’s Web site or by contacting the auction house staff.

The surprise of the sale came when Evans moved to the other end of the gallery to sell the glass and ceramics and an unassuming 11 ¾-inch tall Chinese Guangxu monochrome flambé-glazed vase crossed the auction block. Made between 1873 and 1906 according to the catalog, the square sectioned baluster form vase had “tubular ears” and came in a custom fitted box. Although it had several chips and scratches as well as a light 1-inch hairline off of the rim, the vase blew past its $150 high estimate to end with an $8,400 bid from an Internet buyer. Evans said that he posted additional photos “from every possible angle” in response to the numerous inquiries he received about the vase, adding, “I found other seemingly similar examples that sold in the $300 to $400 range, but obviously there was something special about this one.”

Other significant items sold during Saturday’s session included a Virginia painted white oak splint market basket that had been found in the northern Shenandoah Valley in near perfect condition with outstanding original dry green paint and great patina ($900), a brown and white Mid-Atlantic pieced “Shoofly” quilt from an early Charles Town, WV estate in excellent unused condition with no deterioration to the browns and only some very small stains throughout the entire 84- by 88-inch quilt ($1,469), a 22- by 16-inch needlework sampler worked by Elizabeth Mercer, Berkeley Co., Va., in the first quarter 19th century ($2,040), a 73- by 77-inch American patchwork-style hooked rug in a Mariner’s Compass-type design with a provenance from the E. F. Hutton estate ($1,695), a circa 1818-1853 Tole paint decorated molasses cup in bright red, yellow and green florals that was attributed to Harvey Filley’s Philadelphia, Pa., tin shop ($2280), a pair of 45" tall white-painted cast iron Victorian garden urns ornamented with griffins and dolphins ($3,164), an Augusta County, Va., carved poplar lollipop-style butter print with thistle and rosette motifs that descended in the family of Andrew Sheets ($2,486), an early 20th century Japanese “Phoenix Bird” blue and white transfer coffee biggin with a heart border from the Marion and Carl Cotting collection ($480), and a Louisiana silver covered cream and sugar hallmarked “C.H. ZIMMERMANN" (circa 1866-1871) and “NEW ORLEANS” with chased floral and shell ornamentation, an engraved rosette on each lid, and a classical medallion atop each handle ($2,400). The set had its original 6- by 13 ½-inch leather and satin fitted presentation case, lettered for Zimmermann. A butter dish by Zimmermann was included in an exhibit on American presentation silver that had been held at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts in 1987.

The registered bidders for the auction included more than 1,600 Internet/eBay bidders; 37% of the lots sold to eBay on Friday (mainly the toys and Christmas items which reportedly sold extremely well) and 30% on Saturday. Reflecting on the attendance, Evans remarked, “I was pleased with the crowd, both on Friday and Saturday, but I have to admit that I was once again surprised at the strength of the Internet bidding,” adding, “Several areas would have fallen flat, primarily the later 20th century ceramics and glass, if it had not been for the Internet involvement.” Evans explained, “Comments from the Internet bidders indicate that many are bidding with us because we offer in-house shipping of all of the smalls. This is one of the main reasons we consistently get so many absentee bids at our sales, and now we are seeing it translate over to our Internet sales.” Although eBay is discontinuing the live auction platform at the end of 2008, Evans is planning to maintain a strong presence on the Internet and is currently pursing several options.

Upcoming auctions for Jeffrey S. Evans and the staff at Green Valley Auctions include the Sept. 12-13 annual fall auction of Kerosene and Miniature Lighting, the Sept. 26-27 annual fall auction of Early American Glass, and the Oct. 18 auction of “The Duff and Molly Allen Collection: A Survey of American Glass,” an important one-owner sale of a 30-year collection from Falmouth, Mass.

The catalogs for each of these upcoming sales will be presented online only, with the exception of the Duff and Molly Allen Collection. In addition to the online catalog that will be posted on the firm’s Web site and on eBay, a detailed, fully illustrated color catalog of the Allen Collection will be available for purchase by Sept. 18. The catalog will be available for purchase at the Sandwich Glass Museum’s Cape Cod Glass Show in Sandwich, Mass., Sept. 20-21 where Jeff and Beverley Evans will present a special preview exhibit of selected highlights of upcoming auctions. If purchased outside of the state of Virginia, the cost of the catalog is $30 with shipping or $25 without (if purchased in Virginia, the cost is $31.50 with shipping or $26.25 without).

For more information, call 540-434-4260 (select option 1 for Cataloged Collections), or visit www.greenvalleyauctions.com.