A ‘Blue’ Sale At Willis Henry As Bidders Snap Up Country Goods

PLYMOUTH, MASS. — Karel and Will Henry brought good country pieces to market at their November 16 sale, which Will suggested in his welcoming comments might have been billed as “the blue sale.” Much of the material across the block had local connections, which attracted an eager contingent of South Shore bidders, retail and trade alike, who went home pleased.

Blue was the color of the day as borne out by such lots as the early Nineteenth Century pine apothecary chest with 24 graduated drawers on a shaped base that sold for $9,145. The chest had been professionally taken down to the original blue from a later coat of white paint. Many of the blue pieces came from the Cape Cod estate of Mannie and Dottie Affler. Several pieces were featured in the country style books of Mary Emmerling, a close friend of Dottie.

Another early pine apothecary chest of 12 dovetailed drawers retained the original blue paint that had oxidized and was decorated with painted cartouches with spice labels. It sold for $4,484. Yet another apothecary cupboard, a mid-Eighteenth Century dovetailed hanging example in blue paint, with 16 small drawers and two larger bottom drawers, went for $1,652. Catalog notes suggested that it may have been used to hold herbs.

A Nineteenth Century dry sink with deeply curved bootjack ends had old red paint, beneath gray and with blue on top. It realized $3,776. An Eighteenth Century two-piece stepback cabinet in old blue paint with three shelves with thumbnail molded edges over two raised panel doors sold for $1,770. A late Eighteenth Century New England pine blanket box on a country Chippendale bracket base retained the old blue paint and took $1,357. Four wooden bowls in robin’s egg blue went to various buyers for a total of $2,088.

One lot comprising a Nineteenth Century pine firkin with the original blue paint and an oak half barrel with two interwoven laps and original green paint brought $944, while another lot of three early mirrors in blue paint was $702. A group of seven toleware containers in various shades of blue attracted $673. The lot included a document box, a round box, two round canisters and two milk jars, all with lids.

Objects in other colors prevailed — the highlights of the sale comprised redware gathered over 30 years by prize-winning mink rancher Earle and Evelyn Curry of Easton, Mass., from Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, particularly Southeastern Massachusetts. Some lots had been packed up in the 1970s and were found still wrapped in their 1976 newspapers.

The star was an early Massachusetts redware pot in a striking yellow-green glaze with brown striping that was made in Bristol County with double coggled lines at the shoulder, a heavy tooled footed base and a fitted lid. It brought $11,328 from Maine artist and dealer John Sideli, who was speaking on a cell phone as he bid, suggesting that he was bidding for a client. Sideli also paid $4,956 for an early Bristol County pitcher with a pinched spout, an applied handle with two grooves, and a yellow green glaze with brown striping that had some chips and lost glaze and the same heavy tooled footed base.

A 9-inch-tall redware jar in green glaze with slight orange and brown spots was made with a reeded lip and coggled lines at the shoulder and midpoint and went to a phone bidder for $4,956. As he hammered it down, Will confided that he had found the instrument used to make the coggled lines and that it will be offered in the next sale. The New England redware jar with a flared lip and with a bright yellow and green shoulder flowing onto a dark orange ground sold to the same phone bidder for $2,596. It was one of the pieces that had not been outside of the storage box since 1976.

An early New England, possibly Connecticut, bean pot drew $1,180, and an early Nineteenth Century pint jug with a single coggled line and light green glaze with red speckle and crackle went to another phone bidder for $2,360. Two New England redware ale mugs sold on the phone for $1,416.

Also from the Curry collection was the Nineteenth Century 4-gallon stoneware butter churn decorated with a perching cobalt peacock and marked Haxton Ottman & Co., Fort Edward, N.Y., that sold online for $2,124. Three Nineteenth Century stoneware vessels, an ovoid crock with three cobalt clouds marked Pears, a tall cylindrical brown glazed jar marked Peaches and a jar with a green-grey glaze marked Plumbs [sic] sold to a phone bidder for $2,596.

The highlight of the paintings sold was a Nineteenth Century New Bedford school portrait of the whale ship Lancer with sailors amid the rigging and sails furled suggesting scallop shells and it brought $6,195. Some who previewed it suggested that it might have been a Buttersworth or Fitz Henry Lane, but the consensus was that the artist was talented but unknown. It came from a Fairhaven, Mass., collection.

A silhouette and watercolor view of George Washington and a brass drawer pull with the repoussé image of Washington realized $2,478. They came from the collection of John P. Richardson of Hingham, Mass., who found them in the attic of the home of Revolutionary War General Benjamin Lincoln, also of Hingham. Willis Henry has conducted several auctions of Richardson’s material — he was the ultimate collector — and there is plenty more to come.

One buyer has driven from his home in Ohio to each sale in order to acquire material related to his Hingham antecedents that Richardson had collected. A Nineteenth Century Hingham miniature pine firkin stamped CH and in original black/blue paint was made with three fingers by Cotton Hersey in 1861. Also from the Richardson collection, it realized $2,655.

The rare Nineteenth Century cast brass circumfercenter, used in surveying, retained the original paper label and was patented in 1877 by Henry Wadsworth of Duxbury, Mass. It sold to the Duxbury Historical Society for $1,121. An early Twentieth Century painted tin shield with 12 stars from a local collection realized $944.

One Norwell, Mass., collector, who is downsizing, supplied a number of nautical lots and an Eighteenth Century New England single-board pine sawbuck table that sold for $1,534. Two well-weathered sections of a whale vertebra, said to be more than 100 years old, sold for $1,534. The consignor bought it in Maine where it had been in the collection of John Rinaldi. A late Nineteenth or early Twentieth Century American gameboard was exceptional, with a Parcheesi game on one side and a checkerboard and backgammon game on the other, and brought $3,363.

The Nineteenth Century forged iron harpoon signed Macy on the blade sold for $1,180. Henry reported that a seaman on the Brooklyn waterfront traded it for drinks to an enterprising museum owner. Also ex-Rinaldi was a brass and bronze salvage diver’s helmet that went for $1,053.

The Internet took an Eighteenth Century paneled and dovetailed hanging cupboard in the original white paint decorated with a tulip and buds, a Phrygian cap, crossed cannons and a sailboat for $3,835.

Realizing $3,720 was the Eighteenth Century low back Windsor chair with an early reddish brown finish over traces of black that had once been part of the Ed Clerk collection and before that the collection of Edna Greenwood. An early New England cant back pine cupboard with interior plate rails went in the gallery for $3,776.

An Eighteenth Century New England tavern table with a single board top, a box stretcher and a molded skirt fetched $2,478 on the phone. An early Nineteenth Century four-drawer pine chest in red, brown, yellow, black and green sponge-grain paint had a secret drawer and fetched $2,006. An Eighteenth Century New England maple and tiger maple tavern table with a single board top and square molded Chippendale legs went to a phone buyer for $1,652, while a New England tall chest in maple and tiger maple on a bracket base with six drawers sold for $1,180. The table had belonged to Tory Judge Peter Oliver of Middleborough, who presided over the Boston Massacre trial. An Eighteenth Century Queen Anne chestnut and maple side table with splayed legs terminating in duck feet with a shaped pine skirt and a single oak drawer had also belonged to Oliver and sold for $2,124. A New England Queen Anne maple armchair with tall Spanish feet went to the phones for $1,593.

Once part of the Ed Clerk collection, an early carved pine pheasant on a newel post went for $2,714. Also once owned by Clerk was an early folk art carving of an African American fisherman that brought $1,416. A wampum necklace on rawhide had been in the collection of a New York museum and sold for $2,124.

Other folk objects included a decorative Nineteenth Century oil on canvas sign advertising Ice Cold Soda signed M.F. George, Chelsea, Vt., in as-found condition that realized $1,534. A graduated set of nine early hog scraper candlesticks with candles and nine tin graduated candle snuffs brought $1,062 in the room.

All prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, 781-834-7774 or www.willishenryauctions.com.

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