Review by Madelia Hickman Ring
COGAN STATION, PENN. – “The sale was fantastic!,” Amanda Colbert said when we got her on the phone our first day back in the office after the Memorial Day holiday. While much of the country enjoyed an extra-long holiday weekend, Colbert and her family, who are third and fourth generations of the Roan family, were hard at work, moving about 700 lots across the block in what has become about a half-century old Memorial Day tradition for the central Pennsylvania firm that has been in business for nearly 75 years.
“We had a wonderful turnout and fantastic participation,” Colbert continued, noting that the two-day sale on May 28 and 29 generated about $250,000 in sales to an audience that was bidding in the room as well as on the phone, online and via absentee bids. “We offered very good quality things that saw serious interest and bidding. It’s been one of our best sales in quite some time…it felt like the good old days. We had between 225 and 250 registered phone, in-house and absentee bidders, not counting the online bidders who were bidding on either Invaluable or AuctionZip.”
The estate of Mr and Mrs William Glennon, from Sabinsville, Penn., near Coudersport, made up approximately 90 percent of the two-day sale and featured many of the top prices, including the seven top lots on the first day of sale. Leading was a 1.33-carat diamond and 14K yellow gold shank and 14K white gold head engagement ring. The ring, which came with a jewelry appraisal, sold to a local collector for $7,168.
The buyer of the engagement ring also bought the second and third most expensive lots that day. Counting off to $6,720 was a lady’s Rolex Oyster perpetual Datejust Superlative Chronometer wristwatch, while several underbidders helped light up a Tiffany Studios dore bronze boudoir lamp with its original “folded linen” that closed at $3,808.
Another buyer won the other Rolex watch in the sale, a 1999 mid-size Oyster Perpetual Datejust Superlative Chronometer that finished at $3,136.
More than 50 lots of silver on the first day were largely from the Glennon estate. Topping the category was a large oval serving tray by J.E. Caldwell & Co., that weighed just over 131 troy ounces and finished at $3,248. The tray related to a sterling silver footed compote, also by Caldwell, that was offered separately and brought $448. A lot of an oval tray with ribbed meat tray and an oval covered vegetable dish were a match to the Caldwell tray and were also monogrammed; the two pieces, sold together, finished at $1,344.
“It was nice to see good pieces of furniture still bring good prices,” Colbert remarked. Realizing $5,376, and the highest price for a piece of furniture offered either day, was an oak sideboard with mirrored back from the Glennon estate that was described as “massive.” Bidders stretched interest in an antique oak extending dining table to $4,592, while $2,240 was exchanged for a Victorian Eastlake walnut sideboard with marble top and mirrored back. Other noteworthy results were a Mission oak settee from the Glennon estate that made $1,680, an oak kitchen table with ten maple side chairs that rose to $1,036, and a five-piece mahogany bedroom set that bidders tucked in for $1,176. Colbert said that much of the furniture was staying in the area having all been purchased by the same local collector.
A sizeable selection of stoneware – much with cobalt decoration – was offered on the second day of the sale, all of it from a private collection from central Pennsylvania. Of the more than 30 lots of stoneware, nearly a dozen lots were made by local potter Cowden & Wilcox, of Harrisburg, Penn., and saw eight of the top ten stoneware prices realized in the sale. These included a 3-gallon semi-ovoid stoneware jar with bird decoration that flew to $8,120, a 1½-gallon batter jug with foliate decoration blossomed to $7,392 and a 1-gallon jug with leaf and berry decoration reached $4,592.
For collectors of other Pennsylvania-made pottery, the sale featured a 2-gallon crock or pot by D.P. Hobart of Williamsport, Penn., that featured a face and brought $3,248. Fellow Williamsport potter Sipe, Nichols & Co., was represented by several sizes of batter jugs, with a 1-gallon example that made $2,912, a 1½-gallon piece that finished at $1,560; and a 2-gallon batter jug that ran to $2,464.
“We were pleased with the prices we got on the stoneware. It got a ton of attention from all over the country. We advertised it well and word got out,” Colbert said.
Auctioneers love finding treasures in the least likely places. One such example was the top lot on the second day of the sale, a large carved white marble female statue that came from a local private home. Two phone bidders battled over it before it sold to one of them for $10,640. A bronze figure made in 1868 by Jules Cambos titled “The Cicada” was from the same source; bidders made it sing and it closed out at $2,352.
Examples of two-dimensional artwork were on limited supply but a painting by local artist Annie Snyder (1852-1927) brought what Colbert said was a good price. A buyer bidding in the room paid $5,040 for a realistic still life of two harvested rabbits. “Annie Snyder was local to the area and we’ve sold many of her pieces in the past. She does animals and floral still life paintings; the ones we’ve seen have been of cows,” Colbert said. “The rabbits were a nice change.”
Other fine art lots included “The Quilter,” a framed print depicting an elderly lady quilting by the fireplace by David Armstrong (1947-1998) that brought $2,464 and a painting of a vintner monk by Eduard Von Grutzner (German, 1846-1925) that closed out at $1,456.
With the warmer temperatures of summer eagerly anticipated, garden furniture and decorations often do well in spring sales. Three lots were on offer with a two-piece antique cast iron garden urn, decorated with putti, receiving the most interest and, unsurprisingly, a high price. Discovered in a local estate, it had lovely verdigris patination and closed at $2,128. Bidders chased a cast cement recumbent fox to $448, just ahead of a two-piece cast iron garden urn that went out at $392.
Roan’s will have several sales throughout the next few months with a private collection of more than 250 lots of Winchester firearms from a Coudersport, Penn., private collection scheduled for June 19.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For information, www.roaninc.com or 570-494-0170.