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Arts & Entertainment

Sale gems include items from Phillips estate

| Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An oil heiress's private collection fuels a pre-summer sales lineup that includes art from a newly discovered local painter at Constantine & Pletcher and a pistol-packing sale of Americana artifacts from J.S. Dill.

Royal York Auction Gallery

During her lifetime, Mary Phillips traveled around the world, collecting works of Faberge, Meissen, Russian silver, ivory and jade. Yet, no matter how many globetrotting miles she logged, she always returned to the place she loved most -- her hometown of Butler.

A lifelong Butler resident, she married into the oil- and natural gas-rich Phillips family and supported the town's civic organizations throughout her life. One particular institution that was most dear to her is the Maridon Museum, which she founded to showcase her extensive and varied collections. Now, more than a year after her death, the Royal York Auction Gallery brings to market a large selection of Phillips' personal items.

Phillips' philosophy to collecting was straightforward: Buy what you like. That approach is apparent in the auction lineup that features several pieces of Faberge, including an egg on a stand; a delicately carved ivory table screen; petite sterling silver Tiffany strawberry forks; Galle and Lalique art glass; Lladro porcelain; Vienna bronze figurines; and Rookwood pottery.

While the bulk of her lifetime collections will remain on display at the Maridon -- the name is a combination of her and her husband Don's first names -- this sale is an opportunity for bidders to take home an item or two for private enjoyment.

Previews are from 5 to 8 p.m. June 3 and 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 4. The sale will begin at 9 a.m. June 5 at 5925 Baum Blvd., East Liberty.

Details: 412-661-1171

J. S. Dill Auctions

Bob Hanks and crew are rolling up their sleeves in preparation for a pair of sales. First up, on Thursday, is an auction chock full of newer items, including furniture from Thomasville and Pennsylvania House and more than 100 pieces of Willow Ware china. Also on the block, a considerable selection of outdoors-theme prints and paintings featuring hunting dogs and large game in the wild.

Returning to its customary country-accented sales, Dill opens its doors June 3 with early Americana antiques drawn from two collections north of Allegheny County. Attracting interest is a turn-of-the-20th-century cap gun with two male figures butting heads on the barrel. Another potential headliner is a landscape painting attributed to E.A. Poole. Though unsigned, the work shows influences of the Scalp Level school, a style that influenced Poole's work at times.

One of the more unusual items hails from Germany's Black Forest. A finely detailed young black bear stands on a stump, balancing a tray on left front paw. Filling out the sale roster are period furniture, old Pittsburgh postcards, glass and china, vintage toys and other country collectibles and antiques.

Previews for both sales start at 5 p.m., with bidding at 6 p.m., at the J.S. Dill showroom, 2341 Evans City Road, Zelienople.

Details: 724-453-0853

Three Rivers Auction Co.

Among the highlights of a June 6 sale is a 16-gallon, hand-painted and stenciled eagle crock from Williams & Reppart. Bidders will also find a good buy in a Jacobean style dining room set. A collection of old-time fishing rods line up along with gear from well-known names such as South Bend and Heddon, plus numerous handmade lures.

Previews are from noon to 7 p.m. June 3 and 11 a.m. to noon, followed by the sale, at the Three Rivers showroom, West Beau and Washington streets, Washington, Pa.

Details: 724-222-8020

Constantine & Pletcher

The big buzz for Constantine & Pletcher's June 6 sale is a collection of work from a local artist who worked as an electrical engineer with Westinghouse and painted during his off hours. John Bordenik, who died nearly three years ago, created Impressionistic views of Pittsburgh during a period that covered the 1950s through 1970s. Among the sale's supporting cast, bidders will find a Steinway spinet piano, a Rookwood plaque designed by Edward Biers, Pairpoint reverse painted lamps and Loetz art glass.

Previews run from noon to 5 p.m. June 4 and 9 to 10 a.m. June 6, followed by the non-catalog sale at 10 a.m. and the catalog sale at noon.

Details: 724-275-7190.

Recent sales

Dargate Auction Galleries

Entering Dargate's May 14 through 16 sale, a Chinese bowl carried an estimate of $200 to $400. However, the modestly assessed vessel created an unexpected sensation when the bidding quickly escalated. When the final hammer banged, the bowl ended up in the hands of a Chinese buyer who anted up $55,000 with a phone bid. The Chinese buyer competed against a bidder in the room, who pushed the price up to $50,000 before bowing out of the competition.

On the move

After nearly two decades at three East End locations, Dargate Auction Galleries is saying goodbye to its Point Breeze showroom for new digs in the former St. Mark's Church in McKees Rocks. The church will provide Dargate with more flexibility in showcasing merchandise and offer customers conveniences such as more parking, WiFi access and food catered by the women of St. Nicholas Church, Dargate's new neighbor.

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