MT. CRAWFORD, VA, July 6, 2021 —- The Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates July 2-3 Premier Americana Auction was a landmark event and produced robust prices in multiple categories. It was one of the firm’s strongest Americana sales to date. The two-day format consisted of 1,120 lots of high-quality material and generated very strong levels of participation for the firm, a solid indication of vigor in this segment of the marketplace. With a packed gallery on both days, competition was intense throughout each session with nearly 4,000 registered bidders from over 20 countries participating online, by phone, in house, and through absentee.
Session I on Friday featured the Americana collection of the late Ted and Alvina Breckel of Winnetka, IL and Oley, PA. The Breckel’s had filled their Pennsylvania stone farmhouse with the best in folk art and Americana and were much beloved by the collectors and dealers with whom they had established long-lasting relationships. The Breckel Collection was highly anticipated, with strong pre-sale bidder interest from around the country, and the sale day results did not disappoint. With extremely heavy bidding from start to finish, the vast majority of lots in the Breckel Collection met or exceeded expectations, and, in some cases, greatly exceeded expectations. Top lot for the day, was an outstanding mid-19th century paint-decorated pine trinket box attributed to Jonas or Jacob Weber in exceptional condition. The iconic form, with vibrant polychrome decoration against a black ground, sparked significant pre-sale interest, with no less than five phone bidders lined up in competition for the object. Ultimately, it was an East Coast dealer on the phone bidding on behalf a client who prevailed, pushing the final price to $43,875 (Lot 53 – all prices include the 17% buyer’s premium). Other highlights from the Breckel Collection included a Ben Austrian oil on canvas farmyard scene with hen and chicks at $28,080 (Lot 29); the surprise of the day, a cobalt-decorated stoneware political jug attributed to the Fulper Brothers of New Jersey at $21,060 (Lot 494); a molded-copper full-body rooster weathervane attributed to J. W. Fiske & Co at $12,870 (Lot 1); and an Anna Pottery figural stoneware pig flask at $9,360 (Lot 411).
Session II on Saturday featured property from the private collection of Dr. James and Sheri Swinehart, Cincinnati, OH; selections from the private collection of Diane and Dr. Robert Marsh, Lawrenceville, GA; a Virginia private collection; property from the collections of Fred and Lorraine Ayers, Layton, NJ; James Dunn, Springfield, VT; and Lynne and the late Philip Blaker, Austin, TX; and property deaccessioned by the Valentine Museum, Richmond, VA. The day’s offerings consisted of the firm’s usual fine selection of rare Virginia & other Southern material; 18th & 19th century formal and country furniture; American folk, fine, & decorative arts; folk pottery; Native American material; Civil War and other historical objects; antique firearms; an excellent selection of mochaware. Top lot of the day, from a Texas private collection, was an important Shenandoah Valley paint-decorated yellow pine diminutive blanket chest attributed to the Stirewalt family of New Market, VA. The rare box captivated numerous collectors and dealers, and, after heavy bidding on the phone and floor, ultimately hammered to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation at $76,050 (Lot 1087), where it will be installed as part of that institution’s world-class collection of Southern furniture and decorative arts. Other noteworthy results from the Friday session included a fine Shenandoah Valley tiger maple pie safe at $26,910 (Lot 1231); a rare set of Audubon’s “Birds of America”, the first octavo edition, at $25,740 (Lot 1068), despite the absence of the fourth volume; a Southwest Virginia Federal inlaid cherry tall-case clock, attributed to the Rife-Whipple group, at $23,400 (Lot 1223); and a mid-19th century carved and gilt eagle wall plaque of exceptional quality retaining original surface at $14,040 (Lot 1125).
After the auction, company president and principal auctioneer Jeffrey S. Evans commented, “This sale, the strongest of its type for us in the past five years, generated robust interest across the board, from bidders near and far. The Breckel Collection was a big draw, and the caliber of the material offered across all categories was very appealing to a broad swath of collectors. Levels of online participation in our auctions continue to expand dramatically for us – a real indication that there is increased market demand for a diverse range of Americana and folk art. The overall excitement and strong sales results reflect the freshness and high quality of the merchandise offered.” Evans added, “Looking forward, we will be featuring an important collection of American folk art in our November Premier Americana sale, so we are excited about the fall line-up at JSE & Associates.”
The firm is currently accepting consignments for most upcoming auctions. For additional auction results, a schedule of upcoming sales, or more information, visit jeffreysevans.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 540.434.3939.
Photo 1: Shenandoah Valley paint-decorated Stirewalt chest, Lot 1087, $76,050.
Photo 2: Pennsylvania paint-decorated Weber trinket box, Lot 53, $43,875.
Photo 3: Ben Austrian farmyard scene with hen and chicks, Lot 29, $28,080.
Photo 4: Rare Fulper Brothers political stoneware jug, Lot 494, $21,060.
Photo 5: Mid-19th century carved and gilt eagle wall plaque, Lot 1125, $14,040.