By Kaitlyn Julian
Bidders contest for Chippendale mahogany chair
DOWNINGTOWN, Pa. – Downingtown auction house Pook & Pook’s first sale of 2019, held Jan. 11-12, was a success.
The most anticipated lot of the sale was the important Philadelphia Chippendale mahogany ball and claw foot easy chair. Dating to circa 1755, the chair exhibits flaring rear cabriole legs and pronounced pad feet. With an estimate of $100,000-$150,000, it generated a buzz in the weeks preceding the sale. It was the first item to greet guests in Pook’s main auction gallery.
Completely stripped of its upholstery, the chair demonstrates the diversity of furniture forms found in Colonial era Philadelphia. Due in part to the city’s influx of immigrants from across the Atlantic. This chair is an important addition to the existing catalog of Philadelphia’s mid-eighteenth century furniture. It helps tell a richer story of the inventiveness of Colonial era craftsmen. After a tense bidding volley, a local dealer bidding on behalf of a client ultimately won the Chippendale chair for $183,000.
Other fine furniture
In the fine furniture category, auctioneer James Pook noted the first lot hadn’t been on the market in close to a century. With that, bidders were off to the races and a Chester County, Pennsylvania walnut spice chest with line and berry inlay and turned bun feet, circa 1755, was hammered down for $67,100.
The Connecticut Pilgrim Century sunflower chest, from the collection of Bruce & Edie Smart incited competition as well. It sold for $24,400. The chest was underbid by an adolescent boy in the front row who was bidding on behalf of his father. Although the boy wasn’t successful on the chest, he did place a winning bid on other treasures in the sale.
Also from the Smart Collection: a Massachusetts Chippendale mahogany block front chest of drawers, circa 1760, sold for $10,980. A Connecticut Chippendale cherry tea table, ca. 1775, with an old warm finish, achieved $9,760.
Auction results by the numbers
The 750-lot sale achieved a total of $1.77 million (including buyer’s premium) with a 95 percent sell through rate. In addition to bidding in the gallery, online bidding was available through bidsquare.com.
The sale saw a total of 1,172 online users approved and bidding on 97 percent of the lots offered. Pook & Pook received a total of 481 requests for phone bids over the two day sale. Absentee bids numbered 451.
Pook & Pook’s next in-house auction will be on Friday, March 15 with the Furnishing and Decorative Items of a Prominent Collector.
Pook & Pook is located at 463 E. Lancaster Avenue, Downingtown, PA 19335.
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