Washington-Clay portrait flask bings $52,650 at Norman C. Heckler & Co. A historical portrait flask showing strong busts of George Washington and Henry Clay, made circa 1840-60 by Bridgeton Glass Works (N.J.), soared to $52,650 in an auction held by Norman C. Hekler & Co.
News-Antique.com - Feb 24,2012 - (WOODSTOCK, Conn.) – A rare and historical portrait flask showing strong busts of George Washington and Henry Clay, made circa 1840-1860 by Bridgeton Glass Works (N.J.), soared to $52,650 in the Internet and catalog auction of Session III of the Thomas McCandless lifetime bottle collection. The auction went online Jan. 18 and accepted its final bid on Feb. 1.
The portrait flask was the top lot in a session that grossed around $440,000. Combined, all three sessions (the first two were held this past fall) grossed a little over $1 million. “For a single bottle collection to top the $1 million mark is truly extraordinary,” said Norman Heckler, Sr., of Norman C. Heckler & Company, the Woodstock-based firm that conducted the auctions.
“Mr. McCandless’s lifetime collection represented one of the most diverse and colorful groupings of American bottles and glass to recently come to market,” Mr. Heckler remarked. “The rare and unique historical flasks exceeded pre-sale estimates, as well as our expectations. Early American and European black glass was another category that did unbelievably well.”
The Washington-Clay historical flask was the auction’s star lot, and for good reason. A common bottle in mold design, in an unlisted and extremely rare vibrant light yellowish color with a topaz tone, the flask’s bold portrait busts beautifully complemented its crisp lettering and perfect condition. The blown quart bottle with strong embossing was an exceptional example.
Only two lots of the 123 offered went unsold in an auction that had about 600 registered online bidders (who participated directly through the Norman C. Heckler & Company website, at www.hecklerauction.com). Phone and absentee bidding was also brisk. About one-third of the lots sold exceeded their high estimates.
“The bottle and glass market remains very strong within the context of a broader antique market that has softened over the past several years,” Norman Heckler, Jr., observed. “Glass as an antique collecting category has drawn interest from collectors who recognize the historical significance and beauty of antique bottles and glass. Many also feel, too, that it is a greatly undervalued category.”
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 17 percent buyer’s premium.
The aforementioned black glass was highlighted by a very early English shaft and globe wine bottle (circa 1630-1665) that fetched $12,870. “Like all the black glass, this bottle attracted strong attention from both American and international quarters,” Mr. Heckler said.
Two other black glass examples are worth noting. One was an early English wine bottle (1776), in the traditional form, a big bold bottle with a very large seal and in very fine condition. The “1776” date, which appeared on the bottle as well as in the seal, generated interest not only from American collectors but their English counterparts, too, owing to the historical significance.
The other black glass piece was another early English wine bottle in a cylindrical pancake form (circa 1680-1700), in wonderful condition. It changed hands for $6,435. The bottle boasted a dense yellow olive coloration with a