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September winds down but sales keep going

| Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, 9:26 p.m.
City light: Produced locally, this Semmer-Pittsburgh leaded-glass lamp from the 1920s illuminated many a dark night. Estimate: $2,000-$3,000
Field work: American artist Frank F. English painted this watercolor of a farmer reaping “The Wheat Harvest.” Estimate is $3,000-$5,000
Big splash: Dolphin armrests are the highwater mark of this Victorian Oak carved hall bench. Estimate: $2,000-$3,000
Kitchen caddie: This Hoosier-style cabinet provided storage and work space for housewives throughout the Midwest during the 1920s and ’30s.

While a couple auctioneers stop to catch their breath after a busy opening round of September sales, the local schedule remains active during the coming weeks with events everywhere from East Liberty to Greensburg, including an gas-and-oil magnate's estate.

Constantine & Pletcher

Breaking out one of the season's first major sales, Constantine & Pletcher welcomes bidders Sept. 28 to the first of several cataloged auctions from the estate of Ben Phillips Jr., a scion of the natural gas and oil Phillips family of Butler.

Following an uncataloged sale of goods from the Phillips consignment, this sale rolls out a top-shelf selection of merchandise. Though the bulk of the merchandise is from the Phillips family, items from other sellers are involved in the sale.

Staring with the furniture group, 30 pieces of “quality” oak furniture will go on the block, with highlights such as china closets, dinette sets, benches, side chairs, bookcases in styles ranging from the Aesthetic Movement to Victorian. One of the more unusual pieces is an oak hall bench with large carved dolphin armrests.

Moving on to the art category are three watercolors by Frank F. English. Born in Louisville in 1854, English studied with Thomas Eakins at the Pennsylvania Academy of Art, where he often exhibited his work. Known for his pastoral-theme paintings, the pieces on sale reflect that focus with titles such as “The Wheat Harvest,” “A Pause on the Journey Home” and “The Harvest Field at Evening.” Also notable is a series of portraits by British painter Francis Alleyne, including a rendering of an American Revolutionary War general.

The silver and jewelry selections include a Tiffany & Co. centerpiece bowl and a sterling-silver teapot, Royal Danish water pitcher, an 18th-century silver pepper caster by James Robinson of New York, a white-gold 14-karat diamond ring and other precious stones and metals.

In the more delicate categories of glass, ceramics and porcelain, a French mantle clock is, well, timeless, and a French ormolu-mounted glass vase practically radiates. A rare, hand-painted Nippon vase with a wood-grain neck and sculpted frieze depicting noted immortals and elders could be called a trophy piece. And glass from Bryce and other manufacturers rounds out the group.

The catalog of Asian goods is loaded with vases, tables, carvings and other items. Turning to more American accents and primitive attractions, the bill of goods includes old-time coffee grinders, copper cook pots, butter churns and candle molds. For your viewing pleasure, a stereoscopic viewer certainly catches the eye.

In the always intriguing “Items of Interest,” the miscellany of odds and ends brings to the block a hay harpoon, a 19th-century rosewood fife and clarinet, carved architectural portraits, a carved African hippo tusk, a pocket microscope from the 1800s and, perhaps, the most out of place selection in the sale — a 2000 Harley Road King motorcycle with more than $8,000 of extras such as additional chrome piping, a custom paint job and deluxe stereo system.

Previews are from noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 27 and 8 to 9 a.m. Sept. 28. An uncataloged sale starts at 9 a.m. followed by the cataloged sale at noon at Constantine & Pletcher, 1306 Pittsburgh St., Cheswick. Details: 724-275-7190

Mark Ferry Auctioneers

After an extended sale that stretched over three days, Mark Ferry scales back for a one-day, on-site event Oct. 5. Located on the grounds of a home in Rector that's perched next to the Powdermill Nature Reserve, the auction merchandise comes from the estate a 90-year-old woman who traveled extensively around the world and collected clothing, artwork, jewelry and other keepsakes from Europe, Asia and Africa.

What bidders will find on the block are global trinkets and treasures such as carved wooden African sculptures, Japanese china, English sterling silver and Asian prayer rugs. Five antique firearms also will be in the sale, including a Winchester Model 1866 “Golden Boy” octagon-barrel rifle, an Ithaca12-gauge rifle, a Colt 36-caliber cap and ball, a Colt 1911 45-caliber semi automatic and a Colt police positive 38-special revolver with its original box.

The sale starts at 9 a.m. Oct. 5 at 1781 Route 381, Rector. Details: 724-423-5580

BHD Auctions

While summer is barely past, BHD owner Brian Detch already is planning for the upcoming fall and winter holiday seasons with an online sale heavy on Halloween and Christmas decorations. Already in progress, the web-only auction ends Sept. 26 and offers holiday collectibles from the owner of a bed and breakfast who needs to clear some inventory from the inn's gift shop. Included is merchandise from the Willow Tree Collection, Dept. 56 and other better-known merchants of holiday items.

The sale brings to a close merchandise from the Edgar Murray estate, a heavy contributor to BHD sales the past few months. What bidders can vie for among the remaining collectibles are harder-to-find lids for Griswold cookware, vintage radios, early children's records, antiques price guides and a Hoosier-style cabinet.

Rounding out the internet-exclusive auction are pieces of contemporary furniture, vintage toys such as Lionel train sets and a tin gas station, and several pieces of “repurposed” furniture, including a Depression-era dining room table cut in half to make a pair of three-legged end tables.

Details: 724-816-0683 or

Royal York Auction Gallery

Goods from three estates constitute the bulk of the Royal York's Oct. 5 auction at the venerable East Liberty auction house. Hailing from homes in Oakland, South Hills and the North Hills, the roster features a varied selection of furniture, porcelain, china, Asian rugs and many other antiques and collectibles. Sale previews are from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 3 and 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 4. The sale starts at 9 a.m. Oct. 5 at 5925 Baum Blvd., East Liberty. Details: 412-661-1171

John Altdorfer is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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