Around 200 lots of fine art, period American furniture, decorative accessories and more will be sold at a two-session auction planned for Wednesday, Oct. 21, by Gordon S. Converse & Co. The sale will be held at the Italian-American Club in Wayne, a suburb of Philadelphia located a half-hour due west of the city. The building is located at 301 West Wayne Ave.
“Bidders will appreciate the genuine antiques, not reproductions, in this auction,” said Gordon Converse, whose auction house is based in Strafford, Penn., also near Philadelphia. “But, unlike with auctions at firms like Sotheby’s and Christie’s, the merchandise in this sale will be affordable.” Online bidding will be facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.com. Phone and absentee bids will also be accepted.
The first session, beginning promptly at 3 p.m., will be a Discovery Auction, with items drawn from local estates in a variety of categories. Then, after a brief intermission, the second session will begin, at around 6 p.m. “That will be a gallery sale, for lack of a better term,” Mr. Converse said. “It’s when the bulk of the items will come up for bid and should provide a climactic end to a very busy day.”
Certain to pique bidder interest will be the wide selection of fine art offerings in the sale, to include original oil paintings, some nice prints and other works of art, much of it by noted, listed artists. Headlining the category will be a pair of framed oils by Thomas Butterworth (U.K., 1768-after 1828). The early 19th century works depict the frigates Glasgow and Albion. Each could realize $3,000-$5,000.
Also sold will be about a half-dozen collographs (prints on paper, similar to serigraphs), by the renowned American artist Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009). The prints show the Scandinavian model Helga, who posed nude for a series. The signed, numbered, limited-edition prints to be sold are from that series. They have also been studio-framed by the Brandywine Museum. Each print should fetch $1,000-$1,500.
The artist Charles Johnson Payne (U.K., 1884-1967) was nicknamed “Snaffles.” Two of his equestrian prints (both framed) will be sold (est. $200-$400 each), and around ten other equestrian prints will also cross the block. “Snaffles” was one of Great Britain’s best known and most loved sporting artists. He built an element of humor into his work, and many of his prints featured clever inscriptions.
Bidders who appreciate both art and early American history will be intrigued by the pair of high quality portraits of Aaron Foster and his wife, in identical frames. Mr. Foster was born in Danvers, Mass., and there is a link between him and the Folger family (renowned whalers and coffee merchants). John Folger, a direct descendant of Aaron Foster, was the father of the mother of Benjamin Franklin.
Over 30 period American furniture pieces will come under the gavel, most of them from a prominent estate in St. Michaels, Md., and some of it centennial furniture (circa 1876 to around 1900). Included will be half-dozen gaming tables, one of them a rare, three-tiered example made in the early 20th century. Also sold will be a 6-foot-tall, Chippendale-style mirror with all carved gilt wood, in gold.
Of the decorative accessories, one piece that stands out for its rarity is a silk 18th century “marriage” pillow, decorated with tulips and hearts and made by the bride-to-be (as was custom) in 1772, The pillow, decorated with pins and with tassels at each corner, is small – just 6 ½ inches by 4 ½ inches. It has the initials of the couple (“EH” and “HJ”) and is rare because silk rarely survives this long. “This item is so rare an unusual,” Mr. Converse said, “I have no idea what estimated value to assign it.”
Other lots expected to get paddles wagging include a vintage 19th century Uncle Sam cast-iron mechanical bank, recent but high-quality and stylish lamps, grandfather clocks, some household goods and other items. Items may be previewed on Tuesday, Oct. 20, from 10-7, and on the day of sale, Wednesday, Oct. 21, from 10-3. All lots sold will be subject to a standard buyer’s premium of 15%.
Gordon S. Converse & Co.’s next big sale will be an important clock auction slated for later this year, possibly in mid-December (time and date still to be announced). About 200 lots have already been secured, mostly from the collection of the James Grundy of Maryland. Featured will be shelf clocks, mantle clocks, barometers and grandfather clocks – all American, with most examples circa 1800-1850.
Gordon S. Converse & Co. is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, an estate or an entire collection, you may call them directly, at (610) 722-9004, or, you can inquire by e-mail at [email protected].
To learn more about the company, you may log on to www.AuctionsatConverse.com or www.ConverseClocks.com. Both websites are highly informative.
Anyone interested in finding out what an item might be worth can find out by sending a photo of the item, along with a check for $40, to Gordon S. Converse & Co., Attn: Gordon Converse, 758 Mancill Rd., Strafford, PA 19087.