Case closed! Simon Willard tall clock ticks to $63,250 in Morphy's Nov. 22 Americana auction Morphy Auctions' Nov. 22 sale of the Arthur Richmond Americana collection grossed $495,000, with a Simon Willard tall clock finishing in the top slot at $63,250.
News-Antique.com - Jan 04,2009 - DENVER, Pa. - Unfavorable fourth-quarter news from the financial sector produced some choppy waters for the auction trade, but Morphy Auctions' Nov. 22 sale of the Arthur Richmond Americana collection maintained a steady course to finish at $495,000, inclusive of 15 percent buyer's premium. “Even in a good market, I don't think the sale would have done much more,” said Morphy's chief operating officer, Dan Morphy. “Mr. Richmond came in to the gallery and shook hands with all of our staff, and told them it was a job well done.”
The 534-lot, single-consignor event featured a 39-year collection of early clocks, mirrors, needlework and blacksmith-forged ironware as well as a selection of American paintings from Arthur Richmond's historic 1780 residence in Purcellville, Virginia.
Many outstanding clocks were offered, from banjos, shelf and mantel styles to regulators and tall clocks. The auction's top lot was a circa-1785 Massachusetts Federal tall clock by Simon Willard. In a figured-mahogany Roxbury case with 8-day time-and-strike brass movement, it retained its original Simon Willard label and also included a dated 1829 note hand-signed by the famed clocksmith. Estimated at $40,000-$60,000, it sold to a bidder in the room for $63,250.
A circa-1800 Federal shelf clock by Aaron Willard, in a mahogany case with pierced fretwork, decorative inlays and flaring French feet, achieved the second-highest price of the day: $23,000. Another Federal shelf clock of the same period by the same clockmaker featured wavy metal hands and a painted iron dial signed Aaron Willard Boston. It landed within estimate at $11,500.
Smaller-scale Southern furniture, such as sugar chests and bottle chests, has never gone out of style with collectors. A beautiful late-18th-century Southern Chippendale mahogany cellarette from the Richmond home had been entered in the sale with a $2,000-$4,000 estimate. It more than doubled expectations to settle at $8,625.
The fine-art category was highlighted by a specialty grouping of George Washington portraits and other Washington-related antiques. A 44-inch-tall, 19th-century cast-plaster bust of America's first President was presented on a white marble and ormolu-decorated pedestal. Against an estimate of $1,500-$2,000, it sold to an Internet bidder for $4,600. A French papier-mâché snuffbox with Washington's half-length painted image [ex Lammot du Pont Copeland Collection] moved on to a new owner for $3,450.
Washington paintings, as a whole, performed on or near par. The widely publicized 19th-century oil-on-canvas portrait of Washington wearing a crimson jacket missed its $12,000 low estimate when it realized $10,350; but a full-length 36.3-inch by 25-inch “Lansdowne” portrait attributed to Jane Stuart (American, 1812-1888) achieved expectations at $7,475.
Antique textiles were led by an 18th-century English Queen Anne mahogany table-top firescreen. Standing 23 inches tall, it displayed a framed multicolor crewelwork design of flowers and leaves on a tripod base. It handily surpassed its $1,000-$1,500 estimate to stitch up a winning bid of $4,887.50.
Morphy noted that the Internet played a significant role in the day's results. “There was a lot of online bidding,” he said. “That, together with the strong crowd in-house, resulted in