MARLBOROUGH, MASS. — “With his enthusiasm for the material, perseverance and competitive spirit, Howard rarely let a great piece of American iron get away. It seemed that no matter how early we would show up for the opening of an antiques show, inevitably there he was in ‘his place’ at the head of the line. The result of such single-mindedness is what you see today — the finest and most comprehensive collection of mostly 18th and early 19th Century New England hearth equipment and both iron and signed bronze posnets to ever come on the market,” Elliott and Grace Snyder wrote in the front of the auction catalog for part one of the Howard Roth Collection of Early American Iron at Skinner on Saturday, August 9.
The live sale ran in conjunction with an online Roth Collection auction, August 4–11. Part two of the collection, 94 lots, will be sold at Skinner's Boston gallery on Sunday, October 26, starting at 10 am.
The following statement, printed in the auction catalog and titled “Acknowledgment,” was written by Howard Roth on December 31, 2009, in which he tells of the start of his collection with the purchase of two iron peels, “at that point, a lifelong interest was born.” He also goes on to thank the many collectors and friends he met over the years, including Elliott and Grace Snyder, Richard “Smitty” Axtell, Paul DeCoste, Roger Gonzales, Bill Bartley, Steve Kochenburger, Marl Allen, David Good, Marvin Elliott, Hollis Brodrick, John Kovacic and Walter Fleming. It was through these people that many of the following pieces were added to the collection. All prices include the buyer’s premium.
A wrought iron fish roaster, American, circa 1805, shaped handle with lollipop hanger and incised marking “L P 1805,” sold within estimate for $923, and a bronze posnet, Gay & Hunneman, 1792–1799, on three feet, the handle marked “Gay & Hunneman 794,” 7¾ inches in diameter, went for $9,225 against a high estimate of $7,000.
Another bronze posnet, Newport, R.I., circa 1710, the handle marked “Newport 1710,” 8¾ inches in diameter, sold over the $12,000 high estimate for $14,760; a wrought iron skewer holder and skewers, American, late Eighteenth to early Nineteenth Century, lollipop hanger with eight skewers, 7 ½ inches high, brought $2,337, within estimate, and an iron brazier with wood handle, American, late Eighteenth to early Nineteenth Century, 7 ¾ inches high, sold over the $800 high estimate at $1,476.
A steel trammel, American, circa 1780, adjustable sawtooth trammel terminating in a scrolled hook, with brass inlaid initials and date, “IC 1780,” 27 ¼ inches long, sold for $984, just over the high estimate, while an iron utensil rack, American, Eighteenth to early Nineteenth Century, with two wall spikes, support with cutwork embellishment, 14 ¾ inches long, 4 inches high and 4 ½ inches deep, went over the $500 high estimate, selling for $1,722.
An American food chopper, late Eighteenth Century, with carved hardwood handle with scrolled ends and iron blade with scrolled flourishes on either side, 6¾ inches high, 6¾ inches wide and 8 7/8 inches deep, sold just under the high estimate for $1,107, and another food chopper, American, Eighteenth Century, with carved hardwood handle and iron blade below wrought serpentine decoration, 6½ inches high and 5 inches wide, went over the high estimate of $500, selling for $1,230.
Selling for just shy of the low estimate was a wrought and cast iron heart-shaped wafer iron, American, late Eighteenth to early Nineteenth Century, the interior with an eagle and flower motif on one side and a crowned figure and tree motif on the other, marked “D.B. & H.S. Co” below a crowned figure. It sold for $1,476. Lot 219, was a copper and wood bed warmer, England or American, circa 1701, the round copper warming pan with domed, hinged lid pierced allover and engraved with flowers, codfish, date “1701,” and calligraphic device, with replaced turned hardwood handle attached to the pan with an iron ferrule. It measures 40 inches long, 9½ inches in diameter, and sold for $1,353.
A number of pairs of andirons were at the end of the sale, including lot 225, wrought iron heart-decorated with spit-hooks, American, late Eighteenth to early Nineteenth Century, ball finials over gooseneck shafts, each with two applied heart decoration, and the arched legs with trestle feet are embellished with scrollwork. They sold for $3,690, just over the high estimate, while a pair of fancy wrought iron andirons, American, late Eighteenth to early Nineteenth Century, the scrolled heart finial atop a hammered shaft with punched decoration over stepped, curved legs with penny feet and remnants of old black paint on the finials, brought $1,353 over a high estimate of $500.
The auction on October 26 in Boston starts off with five cast iron miniature skillets, and includes a selection of copper pieces. For more information, www.skinnerinc.com (sale 2757B) or 617-350-5400.