Auction Watch: From glass eyes to Tiffany shades, auctions abound
By John Altdorfer
Published: Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Autumn temperatures might be cooling off a bit as the season deepens. However, the local auction schedule continues to turn up the heat with sales at Constantine & Pletcher, Three Rivers Auction Co., Dargate Auction Galleries and BHD Auctions.
Already up and running, BHD's current online sale ends Oct. 10, a compelling reason to click on the company's website now for this Internet-only auction. With a strong selection of goods, one particular lot is, well, nearly eye popping.
Rescued from the office of a former optometrist, a case of glass eyeballs from 1888 proves visually arresting. Though only half full, the box of artificial peepers provides an eerie glimpse of past remedies for filling an empty socket. When Germany cut off the supply of glass eyes at the start of World War II, American researchers developed acrylic substitutes, relegating these glass eyes to sideshow status.
Bidders can set their sights on a Civil War-era, dome-top chest. It might have been refinished over the years, but the chest retains its original hardware, including the nicely crafted finger joints that hold this handsome box together.
A matching Mission-style leaded-glass bookcase and a sideboard stand out in the furniture group, even if the sideboard is missing its mirror. Just in time for Oktoberfest celebrations, a pair of German lithophane beer steins are worth hoisting high to view the translucent images on their bottoms.
Fenton glass collectors will want to double click on a generous grouping that includes vases, lamps and baskets from the renowned West Virginia glassmaker. In ceramics and porcelain, items from Hummel and Royal Doulton dominate the category.
Rounding out the sale, the choices feature a nice two-piece Hoosier cabinet, vintage lead and metal toy soldiers and cars, and an unusual upside-down lantern, with its fuel tank on top and the glass globe underneath.
Details: 72 4-816-0683 or www.bhdauctions.net
Dargate Auction Galleries
For its first sale since the departure of longtime consignment manager David Arnold, Dargate presents a three-day bidfest from Oct. 18 to 20. With in-house participation at its McKees Rocks showroom, along with online and phone bidding, the sale serves up ample amounts of goods under $1,000, with many below $100.
Among the goods in the four-digit range is a collection of jewelry in the form of necklaces, earrings and lockets. Nearly eking past the $10,000 estimate mark is an unsigned painting of racehorse attributed to John Ferneley. The oil-on-canvas work measures 31-by-38-inches inside its gilt frame. Painting mostly in the early- to mid-1800s, Ferneley specialized in painting jockeys and their rides.
The sale previews are from noon to 8 p.m. Oct. 16 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 17. The Oct. 18 and 19 sales start at 10 a.m., with a noon kickoff for the Oct. 20 auction. All at the Dargate showroom, 326 Munson Ave., McKees Rocks. Details: 412-771-8700
Three Rivers Auction Co.
Just before departing on a European vacation, Three Rivers owner Tripp Kline spent a few days unpacking the contents of a Clarksburg, W.Va., estate that will compose the bulk of his Oct. 15 sale at the company's Washington, Pa., showroom.
Purchased by an attorney with a flair for interior decorating, most of the merchandise is of a more recent vintage. Still, the goods up for grabs originally carried high-end price tags and the overall quality is evident in a selection that includes marble-top Chippendale-style side tables to ornately carved mahogany curio cabinets — and just about everything else in between.
Highlights in the furniture group include a classical-style open bookcase with paw feet and ormolu figural mounts, mahogany center table with a gilt-wing-griffin base, a Victorian-style walnut framed sofa, a French Rococo-style marble-top curio cabinet, Rococo-style mahogany curio cabinet, a mid-century-style sculptured lounge chair, an Art Deco walnut library table and a bed that resembles a Cape May Victorian house — to name a few.
In a more decorative — and, at times, quirky — vein, the choices feature a Victorian-style birdcage on a stand, an antique-style gas pump cabinet, pair of 5-feet-tall tin knights in armor, a modern bombe chest with chimney top, a life-size medical school human anatomically correct model and a cast aluminum bust of Vladimir Lenin, signed by the artist.
For ceramics and glassware collectors, the options are plentiful in the form of a large capo di monte covered urn, a Japanese sake set with fitted box, Japanese-style majolica vase, German figurine and various pieces of Roseville Weller art pottery and glass highlights such as a Blenko glass top hat, Bohemian stemware, glass bird figurines, Carnival glass and a large paperweight collection.
In the silver and jewelry section, the top picks include a 14-karat pin, costume jewelry by various high-end manufacturers, Victorian rings and bracelets and a small amount of sterling and mother-of-pearl flatware.
Cutting to the chase, a small offering of knives and other sharp objects includes the Franklin Mint Sportsman's Year Hunting and Fishing Knife Collection with pieces such as the Rainbow Trout, Largemouth Bass, Canvasback Duck and Ringneck Pheasant and Caribou blades.
Bidders can preview the sale from noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Three Rivers showroom at 382 W. Chestnut St., Washington, Pa. The sale starts at 6 p.m. at the same location. Details: 724-222-8020
Constantine & Pletcher
The blockbusters keep rolling out at Constantine & Pletcher, where the Oct. 12 auction features more merchandise from the Phillips and Bryce estates.
Kicking off the proceedings on a musical note is a Steinway Louis XV model M grand piano that should strike a royal chord with its ornately carved walnut body. In many cases, similar models of this beautiful set of ivories have fetched hammer prices in the mid five-figure range.
Another big-ticket item is a KPM plaque of a radiantly beautiful woman holding a rosary. Dressed in a flowing white robe, she appears to be staring off to the heavens while her deep-blue eyes and long red hair give her an angelic presence. Surrounded in a gilt frame, the 12-by-24-inch plaque carries an estimate of $15,000.
The Tiffany name appears frequently in the sale, with highlights including a Roman pattern table lamp with leaded-glass shade, an oak-leaf-and-acorn table lamp, a pair of chainmail sconces and a bronze smoking stand.
Antique furniture is a strong category with selections such as a pair of Victorian marble pedestals, a French loveseat, a finely carved walnut bergere, a pair of bronze 19th-century candelabra and a carved pietra dura parlor table with an inlay top of polished colored stones.
Rising above the competition in the watches group, an American Empire tallcaseclock with a folksy dial dates to the 1840s. More antiques timepieces include a Vedette Vienna regulator and a Grogan grandfather clock. For gentlemen who prefer not to have time on their hands or wrists, pocket watches form Waltham and Elgin should help track the passing hours. And, for a bit of whimsy, two Ingersoll Mickey Mouse watches should take the cheese.
The more than 40 lots of silver shine with top picks such as a sterling footedpunch bowl from John Batt, dated 1891. Other highlights include a silver epergne, circa 1750, from Irish craftsman Robert Calderwood, a silver tea weighing in at 360 troy ounces, a Reed and Barton tea service and more.
Asian, American and European art feature pieces from the Western Pennsylvania Scalp Level School, Cantonese platters, a Japanese ivory drum, Chinese ivory buckets and Continental landscapes.
In the potpourri group of “items of interest” bidders will find French opera glasses, an English riding saddle, two laptop coffeegrinders, an English mahogany barometer, pressed steel toys, a Fender guitar, a governess pony cart and other delightful discoveries.
The sale preview is from noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 11 and 8 to 9 a.m. Oct. 11. An uncataloged sale begins at 9 a.m. Oct. 12, with the cataloged sale at noon. Previews and sales are at 1306 Pittsburgh St., Cheswick. Details: 724-275-7190
John Altdorfer is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
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