Folk art and historical material lead the way at Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates auction

Art Daily
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John James Trumbull Arnold folk art double portrait, Lot 2124, $81,900.
John James Trumbull Arnold folk art double portrait, Lot 2124, $81,900.

MT. CRAWFORD, VA.-The Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates November 12th – 14th Premier Americana Auction was a landmark event and produced robust prices – along with a few surprises – in multiple categories. The three-day format consisted of 1,908 lots of high-quality material from across the country, much of which was fresh to the market, and, in a number of cases, had descended directly in the families of the original owners. Bidding was intense throughout each day with thousands of registered bidders participating by phone and online in competition with a socially-distanced gallery crowd eager to acquire something rare and desirable.

Session I on Thursday featured a wide selection of 18th & 19th century glass and lighting, comprising free-blown, pattern-molded, and pillar-molded wares; bottles and flasks; a fine collection of colored pressed flint glass including many rare vases and candlesticks; outstanding whale oil and fluid lamps; early kerosene lighting, including cut overlays; a large selection of pressed lacy, including rare hollowware, salts, and cup plates; 18th century European drinking vessels; and Bohemian glass, including goblets with American scenes. The 757-lot session included consignments from Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, Connecticut, and New York produced consistently strong prices throughout the day. Top lot for Thursday, one of several surprises over the weekend, was a rare Bakewell pressed lacy gothic arch windowpane in as-found condition. The finely-detailed object signed by the Pittsburgh glass firm went to a collector online at $8,775 (Lot 579 – all prices include 17% buyer’s premium), a strong result for the form. Other noteworthy results from Session I included a Thomas Cains pattern-molded whale oil / fluid stand lamp at $7,605 (Lot 259); a Sandwich pressed hen covered dish in shiny translucent jade green at $5,557 (Lot 436); a pair of blown-molded six-panel font whale oil / fluid stand lamps in deep amethyst at $5,265 (Lot 250); and an unrecorded colorless pressed lacy footed sugar bowl and cover at $5,265 (Lot 575).

Session II on Friday showcased part one of the ceramics collection of James Dunn, Springfield, VT; and the early iron collection of the late James C. Leonard, Jamestown, NC and featured over 100 lots of folk pottery, including rare Shenandoah Valley examples; good painted and other baskets; 18th & 19th century Staffordshire, including rare figures of all types; pearlware; Prattware; creamware; a large selection of transferware in all colors and forms featuring historical, romantic, and floral patterns; children’s toys; gaudy wares; Delft wares; and a large selection of 18th & 19th century ironware, including all types of hearth and domestic articles; early lighting; door hinges, locks, handles, and latches. Top lot for the 577-lot session, another surprise for the weekend, was a group of wrought-iron figural escutcheon plates from the Dunn Collection. With two Native American profile examples in the lot, the group attracted much pre-sale attention and ultimately went to a determined phone bidder at $12,870 (Lot 1510). Other noteworthy results from Session II included a Zigler Pottery, Timberville, Rockingham Co., Shenandoah Valley of Virginia half-gallon cobalt-decorated stoneware pitcher at $7,605 (Lot 1001); a rare five-color rainbow spatterware plate at $4,972 (Lot 1304); a very scarce Shenandoah Valley of Virginia redware / earthenware cream jug / miniature pitcher, stamped to the underside of the base for the elusive Woodstock, Virginia potter, J. Buck, at $4,972 (Lot 1004); and a fine pair of Staffordshire large rabbit figures at $4,680 (Lot 1129).

Session III on Saturday consisted of the firm’s usual diverse selection of Americana and fine antiques, highlighted by material from the collection of Dan Wagoner, Romney, WV and New York, NY; the estate of Dr. Maury Lloyd Hanson, New York, NY and Lexington, VA; the private collection of Maggie and Gordon Barlow, Augusta Co., VA; and historical property from the Hammond, Revercomb, and Deyerle Families, Covington, VA. The 584-lot session on Saturday included a diverse range of rare objects that generated tremendous presale excitement from collectors and institutions eager to acquire fresh material of the highest quality, some of which retained historical provenance. Top lot for Saturday at $81,900 (Lot 2124), a new world record for the artist, was an important John James Trumbull Arnold (1812-1865) folk art double portrait of the Parsons children of Piedmont, Virginia (now West Virginia). Fresh to the market from the collection of Dan Wagoner, the newly-discovered masterpiece drew much attention during preview and went to an important Virginia private collection on the phone bidding against an East Coast private collector. Other noteworthy results from the Saturday session included an extremely rare figured maple dwarf tall-case clock attributed to Christian and Daniel Welfare that went to Old Salem Museum and Gardens / Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) for $37,440 (Lot 2354); a Shenandoah Valley of Virginia paint-decorated box attributed to the Barb Family of Shenandoah Co. at $24,570 (Lot 2111); an important Virginia Confederate Civil War presentation sword, descended directly in the family of the original owner, at $23,400 (Lot 2048); and a signed Sojourner Truth carte de visite / CDV at $11,115 (Lot 2061), likely a record for an image of this sitter.

After the sale, company president and principal auctioneer Jeffrey S. Evans commented, “We were very pleased with the strong interest across the board in this auction. It was good to see a solid crowd of bidders back in the building on sale days (socially-distanced and wearing masks, of course), and it was particularly encouraging to witness the kind of robust, sustained bidding over the weekend that produced very strong results across all categories of the sale. A key part of that success was the fresh nature of most of the material offered. It was an honor to work with the Wagoner Collection and the Hammond Collection, for instance, and we certainly hope to continue to attract more like consignments as they come to market.” Evans added, “Our spring 2021 auctions will feature several important collections of early ceramics, folk art, painted furniture, early glass, and other fine material from across the country, so we are looking forward to an exciting year ahead of us.”