A packed salesroom witnessed a spirited day of bidding in Cowan’s Auctions’ Americana Live Auction on December 10. The auction was largely comprised of property from the impressive collections of Bertha Benkard Rose of Oyster Bay, NY and Tucson, AZ, and Drs. James and Betty Sutherland of Cincinnati. Although items from across the entire spectrum of Fine and Decorative Arts performed well, paintings led the way making up 10 of the top 25 lots with four works selling for more than $10,000.
“These were two well known collections in the world of Americana and many of the items hadn’t been on the market for decades,” said Kirstie Craven, coordinating specialist of Cowan’s Decorative Arts department. “We had a high level of interest leading up to the auction so we aren’t exactly surprised by the success, but it’s still good to see a sale of mostly antiques do so well.”
The paintings of the Rose Collection seemed to be the most coveted items of the day making up four of the six highest hammer prices of the auction. The top painting of the day was Setters and Quail, oil on canvas, by Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait (American, 1819-1905), which sold for $22,800.
The China Trade School paintings of the Rose Collection were of particular interest with the five lots selling for a combined $40,815. The top seller of the group was a painting of the Hong Kong Harbor with American, British, and European Ships, which sold for $22,200.
“The current market for China Trade paintings is very strong, as evidenced by the great prices achieved in this sale,” said Pauline Archambault, Cowan’s Fine Arts specialist. “These particular works were a truly outstanding selection reflecting a variety of schools, such as Namcheong or Spoilum. The Hong Kong harbor scenes in particular depict such an iconic view, and they celebrate the city as it began to grow into a bustling trade port in such a masterful way that I expected them to do so well.”
The Rose Collection also included the afternoon’s top lot, a group of rare English Delftware Merryman Plates, which sold for $24,000. Other highlights from the Rose Collection included a New England Federal Schoolgirl-Decorated Sewing Table for $10,800; a rare Hepplewhite Mixing Table for $9,600; a fine Great Blue Heron Decorative Confidence Decoy for $8,400; and a Relief Carved Carpenter’s Wooden Trade Sign in Dry, Old Finish for $7,800.
Drs. James and Betty Sutherland were well-known antique collectors in Cowan’s hometown of Cincinnati, which was likely the driving force behind the near-capacity crowd at Cowan’s salesroom for the auction. The top lot from the collection was Reverse-Painted Portraits of a Vermont Reverend and His Wife by Benjamin Greenleaf (1769-1821, Massachusetts-New Hampshire) for $10,800.
Other highlights of the Sutherland Collection included a rare Cobalt Decorated Stoneware Muffineer for $9,300; a Chalkware Cat for $6,800; and a pair of exceptional New England Brace-Back Windsor Side Chairs for $5,700.
The auction also included selected items from the collection of noted clock collector Hal Wehling. Highlights from this collection included a Massachusetts Shelf Clock for $3,360; a Stennes Girandole Banjo Wall Clock for $2,640; a Riley Whiting Shelf Clock for $2,460; and a rare Seth Thomas Off-Center Pillar & Scroll Clock for $2,091.
Other items of note included a Cigar Store Indian Figure for $16,800; a Goldsmith Chandlee American Surveyor’s Compass for $13,800; a Pig Weathervane in Gold Leaf for $10,800; a Folk Art Bird’s Eye View of Ironton, Ohio for $9,600; and a Salt-glazed Anna Pottery Pig for $8,400.
For more information on the auction and to see all prices realized, click here.