Virginia blanket chest brings $99,000 at Case auction An exceptionally rare and painted Wythe County, Va., blanket chest, crafted around 1800 and in remarkable condition, sold for $99,000 in an auction held May 12 by Case Antiques in Knoxville, Tenn.
News-Antique.com - May 22,2007 - EXCEPTIONALLY RARE VIRGINIA BLANKET CHEST, MADE AROUND 1800,
BRINGS $99,000 AT MAY 12 SALE HELD BY CASE ANTIQUES IN KNOXVILLE
(Knoxville, Tenn.) - An exceptionally rare and painted Wythe County, Va., blanket chest, crafted around 1800 and in a remarkable state of preservation, sold for $99,000 in a sale of Southern furniture, pottery and folk art held May 12 by Case Antiques. The sale was held at the Knoxville Convention & Exhibition Center in Knoxville, Tenn. Prices quoted include a 10% buyer's premium.
The chest was the top lot in the sale. It boasted three painted panels, with dahlia flower and urn designs, plus two decorated circles on the top. This “dahlia” chest belongs to the earliest and most intricately decorated chests from the Wythe County group and descended through the Dutton family of Wythe County, Va.
“I thought the chest would be a strong draw, and it was,” said John Case of Case Antiques. “Strong, fresh-to-the-market merchandise will always do well, especially in a nationally advertised, cataloged auction.” Mr. Case said new records were set for rare forms of Southern furniture and pottery. “The surprise was also seeing how well some of the art pieces performed,” he observed.
But there were areas of concern and even missed opportunities, Mr. Case pointed out. “Aggressive estimates and reserves on some items dampened bidding,” he said. “It had a psychological effect we didn't anticipate, since some of the items not reaching reserves sold later in the sale, or after the sale. We would also like to have seen increased attendance from the immediate regional market.”
Overall, he concluded, “We were very fortunate to have strong support from the Southeast, as well as the presence of folks outside the area. The results of this sale, in my estimation, demonstrate bidder selectiveness regarding Southern antiques. Some Southern furniture and pottery did very well, even exceeding estimates, while other Southern pieces of comparable quality were slightly soft.”
The sale drew a little over 200 registered online bidders. “While online bidding was a small minority in terms of total sales, it was an important factor in driving healthy bidding on the floor,” Mr. Case said. “Absentee and phone bidders factored heavily into the day's gross. It was a spirited sale, from start to finish.”
In other highlights:
A fine and highly decorated redware pitcher attributed to the Cain pottery family of Sullivan County, Tenn., achieved $22,550. It was an auction record for a “Great Road” pottery form. The example exhibited elaborate use of manganese and yellow slip to decorate the exterior body of the pitcher; manganese ran in the interior. There were also inscribed sine waves around the midsection.
A classical bronze console table by Oscar Bruno Bach (1884-1957) rose to $29,700, a new auction record for a table by Bach. The signed piece had a matching bronze mirror with classical scenes. Mr. Bach was considered one of the most technically proficient metalworkers of the early 20th century.