Amid Pandemic Delays, Garth’s Thanksgiving Sale Prevails
Review by Madelia Ring, Antiques and The Arts Weekly
COLUMBUS, OHIO –
Garth’s Auctioneers & Appraisers’ Thanksgiving weekend Americana and Fine Jewelry sale featured 413 lots and was 95 percent sold by lot. Typically scheduled over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the sale was delayed a week, opening online on November 26 and closing December 6. Antiques and The Arts Weekly caught up with Richard “Jeff” Jeffers, Garth’s chief executive officer and principal auctioneer the day after the sale closed for his thoughts on the auction and the reasoning behind the delay.
“Our Thanksgiving sale has been such a staple for us but with an uptick of Covid in the state, we did not want people to show up and have issues with increased restrictions for congregating. So, following the health mandates, we erred on the side of caution,” he said. “I think it went well. I was pleased with the sell-through rate and there were some nice surprises, particularly among the jewelry. If I look across the lots, I really can’t discern any category that didn’t derive some level of benefit from being an online event.”
Americana was one of the two anchors of the sale and weathervanes were the indisputable high flyers, with three of the six examples bringing the top three prices. A copper ram by L.W. Cushing & Sons led the sale, bringing $11,250 from a buyer in the Midwest. It was followed by a leaping stag weathervane attributed to E.G. Washburn that a buyer from the South bagged for $10,000. Rounding out the top three was an A.L. Jewell eagle weathervane that will wing its way to a Mid-Atlantic buyer who paid $9,375. All three examples, along with a Cushing ewe weathervane that a Midwest trade buyer purchased for $2,000, had provenance to Columbus folk art dealer, Austin T. Miller, and all had been consigned by the same private Midwest collector.
Jewelry, a perennial favorite this time of year, was the other large component of the sale and was topped by a 2.70-carat diamond and 14K white gold solitaire ring sourced from a local estate. It was accompanied by an October 2020 appraisal with a value of $24,125 and seems a great buy for the buyer in New York State who snapped it up for $8,750. Bringing $3,125 was a vintage platinum and diamond engagement ring set centering an old European cut round 1.18-carat diamond, while a 14K white gold and diamond engagement ring set with .70 carats went off at $1,750.
Gold pieces saw strong competition as well. A buyer in the United Arab Emirates outbid competitors in the United States to win a vintage lady’s 18K gilt bracelet with offset watch and basketweave band, by Piaget, circa 1970, for $5,625. Of similar aesthetic, a vintage Corum Gents 18K gold Spartacus watch brought $4,063 from a trade buyer in Ohio. Selling for just shy of its high estimate was a heavy 18K yellow gold German link bracelet that sparkled to $2,375; an Italian 18K two-tone gold rope chain sold within estimate, for $1,875. A Midwest buyer took an estate-found Victorian gold, diamond and emerald brooch to $2,125.
American furniture was in plentiful supply and saw results across the board. A painted late Eighteenth or early Nineteenth Century Pennsylvania kas with later repainted surface, but in what Jeffers described as “great color,” sold within estimate to a trade buyer from the Midwest for $6,250. A trade buyer in Ohio paid nearly double the high estimate of a blue-gray painted pine wall cupboard from Vermont, circa 1830s or 1840s, that had been previously handled by Walpole, N.H., dealers Stephen-Douglas Antiques. Blanket chests have performed well at Garth’s previous sales and a late Eighteenth Century example in old blue paint with red and yellow accents finished ahead of expectations for $1,063.
For the most part, formal American furniture sold without surprises. A Mid-Atlantic buyer prevailed at $3,500 for a Queen Anne walnut and poplar bonnet-top high chest with two fan-carved drawers and acorn drops that had provenance to American furniture dealer, C.L. Prickett. A second bonnet-top high chest, this also of the period with two carved fan drawers, in cherry, surpassed expectations and closed at $3,250, while a bonnet-top Connecticut Chippendale secretary brought $1,875. Two pieces of Eldred Wheeler reproduction furniture sold for nearly the amount that period pieces were bringing: a Chippendale flat-top tall chest closed at $1,625, the same price realized by a flat-top Queen Anne -style high chest. Exceeding expectations were two American Windsor chairs that bidders took well beyond their estimates. A New England buyer nearly tripled the high estimate of an unattributed fanback side chair when they paid $875, while a buyer in the Midwest paid $812 for a New York continuous armchair attributed to John Always and related to an example at the Brooklyn Museum.
Two-dimensional folk art was led by two works by Elijah Pierce (1892-1984), both of which had, at one time, been in the collection of the Columbus Museum of Art. When asked if the museum was selling them, Jeffers said they had been consigned by the same seller who had acquired them at one time from the museum. “Blind Bartimaeus,” a relief wood plaque carving featuring figures with paint and glitter that was signed and dated February 4, 1981; it measured 16¾ by 14¼ inches and sold for $4,375. Pierce’s “Cruxifixion,” was done a year earlier in 1980 and was inscribed on the back “Hi, I have been here for 20 years, N-.” Standing just 7½ inches tall, it finished at $1,875. Both sold to different buyers from the Mid-Atlantic United States.
Jeffers was pleased not only to have a small but seemingly choice selection of early American colored glass but to see the market is strong in some segments and returning for some early forms. Leading the group was a Pittsburgh cobalt glass pitcher that had been acquired at one time from Litchfield, Conn., dealer Peter Tillou, which sold to a trade buyer in New England for $2,875. Other forms of Pittsburgh glass included an aqua bar bottle that brought $594, a cased glass compote that realized $1,375 and a blown glass canister with blue detailing that finished at $200.
Of the nine lots of stoneware in the sale, two were of pieces made in West Virginia and one made in Ohio. Of these, a large pitcher with applied handle and crisply stenciled cobalt label reading “A.P. Donaghho Parkersburg, W. Va. 2″ found a buyer in West Virginia, for $2,125. The small jar with cobalt stenciled merchant’s label “Pomroy & Co..Elizabeth, W. Va.,” finished at $438. The stoneware crock stenciled “D. Hyer Dry Goods & C, Sardis, Ohio” closed out at $281.
Garth’s next sale will be a timed online-only sale from December 31 to January 10 and will feature American and European silver.
Prices quoted include buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house.
For information, www.garths.com or 740-362-4771.
Originally in Antiques and The Arts Weekly and online, December 15, 2020.