Featuring the Howard Roth Collection of Early American Iron
BOSTON, MA – July 25, 2014 – An excellent selection of American folk art and furniture will be offered at Skinner, Inc.’s two-day auction of American Furniture & Decorative Arts. On August 9th, Skinner is pleased to present The Howard Roth Collection of Early American Iron, Part I, featuring fine and rare examples of early American metalwork. The sale continues on August 10th with an eclectic array of furniture from the late 17th century through the mid-19th century, in addition to a wonderful selection of paintings, weathervanes, folk art carvings, trade signs and more – a feast for history buffs and collectors alike.
Skinner is pleased to offer the Howard Roth Collection in its entirety in two parts, presented in August and in October. Part I consists of approximately 300 examples from this important collection. Howard Roth pursued his passion for over four decades, seeking and obtaining exceptional examples of American iron. With his enthusiasm for the material, perseverance, and competitive spirit, Howard rarely let a great piece of American iron get away. 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. The collection includes ornate toasters, rare bronze posnets, broilers, kettles, cooking pots, food choppers, and andirons; many of the pieces bear maker’s signatures and dates. The earliest example is a copper and wood bed warmer with an engraved codfish, dated 1701 (Lot 219, estimated between $800 to $1,200).
According to Stephen Fletcher, Director of American Furniture and Decorative Arts at Skinner, “Although these objects are utilitarian in nature, they are also beautiful and sculptural, and demonstrate that pieces of iron can be extraordinary works of art.”
Highlights include a very scarce bronze posnet from Newport, RI, dated 1710 (Lot 51, $8,000 and $12,000). A heart motif decorating a selection of objects will catch the interest of collections. The motif is repeated in the complex design of a wrought iron rotary toaster (Lot 37, $2,500 to $3,500).
To learn more about the craft of ironwork, join us for a gallery talk on Friday, August 8th at 6PM in Marlborough. Skinner welcomes Derek Heidemann, owner of Resurrection Iron Works in Millbury, Massachusetts. Derek has reproduced the rotary toaster, and will be taking us through the process of its making. RSVP to 508-970-3240 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
1935 Buick Series 60 Sport Coupe
Skinner kicks off day two of the auction with a fun and stylish 1935 Buick Series 60 Sport Coupe (Lot 300, $15,000 to $20,000). Garaged for over 20 years, this pre-war automobile has a black-painted exterior and customary rumble seat. The car’s sheet metal and wood are in very good condition – making this vehicle a potentially exciting restoration project for any classic car enthusiast.
A beautiful piece leads a selection of painted furniture: a robin’s egg blue-painted pine corner cupboard in as-found condition (Lot 308, $20,000 to $30,000). The cupboard, which dates from the 18th century, is most likely from New Hampshire. The piece has an intriguing history, which author Thatcher Freund chronicled in Time and the Objects of our Desire, published in New England Monthly, May 1989.
As Stephen Fletcher explains, original condition and surface on an American antique is both valuable and desirable. “The history of a piece is written on its surface. The patina or colors are the result of centuries of use, and I am not alone among collectors who love to see a piece that has remained intact for such a long time,” says Fletcher.
Fine examples of American furniture also include a beautifully proportioned Queen Anne cherry tea table from Connecticut, with a molded tray top table, shaped valenced skirt, and cabriole legs (Lot 350, $50,000 to $75,000).
Folk Art & American Antiques
Folk art, game boards, paintings, weathervanes and more abound in this section, many from a large, private Wisconsin collection. A polychrome carved Indian princess tobacconist figure by Samuel Robb of New York (Lot 506, estimate $40,000 to $60,000) is just one of a group of important and unusual figures from this collection. Other examples include a black dandy, Columbia, and Puck. An unusual painted wood folding sidewalk sign from Reedsburg, Wisconsin (Lot 691, $4,000 to $6,000), advertises cigars and tobacco.
Racehorses were the rock stars of the 19th century, and the excitement of racing is clearly demonstrated in an elaborately detailed Gorham silver racing trophy (Lot 500, $15,000 to $25,000). The Bard, a star racehorse owned by Mr. A. J. Cassatt, won the trophy in 1887 in the St. James Hotel race. In the New York Times, The Bard was referred to as “America’s greatest racehorse.”
Noteworthy paintings include a portrait of the Schooner Herald of New York, by William Pierce Stubbs (Lot 617, $6,000 to $8,000), and four exquisite miniature profile portraits attributed to “Mr. Boyd” (Lot 401, $8,000 to $12,000).
Other auction highlights include a colorful collection of American game boards from as early as the late 18th century. A painted wood baseball diamond dart board from the early 20th century (Lot 790, $400 to $600) is a rare find. Weathervanes abound in a variety of forms, from racehorses to roosters, cows, eagles, fish and ships.
Americana – Online Auction
Collectors can also bid on over 400 lots at their convenience during Skinner’s Americana – Online auction, taking place August 4 through August 11. Skinner specialists have hand-picked a selection of American furniture, decorative arts, and folk art items that can be purchased with ease online. Bidders also have the added value of previewing the online-only lots in person during the regular Marlborough preview hours.
Previews, Catalog, and Bidding
Previews for the auction will be held on Thursday, August 7, from noon to 5 P.M., Friday, August 8, from noon to 8 P.M., and Saturday, August 9, from noon to 5 P.M. Illustrated Catalog #2744M and 2743T is available from the Subscription Department, at 508-970-3240, or from the Gallery. Prices realized will be available online, at www.skinnerinc.com, both during and after the sale. The Skinner website enables users to view every lot in the auctions, leave bids, order catalogs and bid live, in real-time, through SkinnerLive!
Skinner auctions draw international interest from buyers and consignors alike, with material regularly achieving record prices. The company’s auction and appraisal services focus on fine art, jewelry, furniture, and decorative arts from around the globe, as well as wine, fine musical instruments, rare books, clocks, Judaica, and more. Monthly Skinner Discovery auctions feature a breadth of estate material. Widely regarded as one of the most trusted names in the business, Skinner appraisers have appeared on the PBS-TV series, Antiques Roadshow, since the show’s inception. Skinner has galleries in Boston and Marlborough, Massachusetts, as well as in Coral Gables, Florida, with an international audience of bidders participating in person, by phone, and online through the SkinnerLive! online bidding platform. For more information and to read our blog, visit the website at www.skinnerinc.com, find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/skinnerauctions, or follow us on Twitter @Skinnerinc.