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Vintage Washington portrait flask (circa 1845-1860) demands $28,080 in Norman C. Heckler auction
A vintage American Calabash flask showing a tree-in-leaf bust portrait of George Washington (circa 1845-1860) soared to $28,080 to take top lot honors in a mostly online auction held Sept. 1-14 by Norman C. Heckler & Co. (www.hecklerauction.com).
“Color is king today, and this Calabash bottle had a striking cobalt blue coloration, together with a fantastic mold impression,”
The auction’s second top lot – which also boasted rare color, exceptional condition and great embossing – was a peacock blue “Corn for the World” historical quart flask, made by the Baltimore Glass Works circa 1860-1870 ($19,890). The bottle had an applied flat collared mouth and smooth base. It was visually arresting, with a Baltimore monument and husked ear of corn.
The sale was conducted mostly online, with 320 bidders competing via the Internet (on the Norman C. Heckler & Co. website, at www.hecklerauction.com)
“The select Americana items represented in this auction (the 93rd for the firm) all did exceedingly well,” remarked Norman C. Heckler, Jr. “The folk art items, and specifically the game boards, far exceeded the pre-sale estimates. Redware and Stoneware pieces, too, were very strong, great decorative items from early manufacturers. Overall it was just a successful auction.”
Following are additional highlights from the sale. All prices quoted include a 17 percent buyer’s premium.
The aforementioned game boards included a fine pair of American paint-decorated examples, rendered in multiple colors. One that measured 16 ½ inches by 16 ½ inches went for $4,680, while the other, measuring 18 ½ inches by 18 inches, finished at $4,387 (it might have fetched more, but for a loss of wood trim border on one side). Both were made circa 19th century.
Period American furniture featured a diminutive wood-painted decorated blanket chest, made in New England in the 19th century and colored an old bright bayberry blue, 21 inches tall and with dovetail construction ($2,925); and a small wooden watchmaker’s (or seed) chest, also 19th century, with 55 dovetailed segmented drawers and diminutive turned pull knobs ($2,691).
Other Americana included a Sicilian glass (or “lava” glass) art glass vase, made circa 1878-1880 by the Washington Glass Company in New Bedford, Mass., black and with pink, green and blue highlights, 6 inches tall ($3,218); and a Redware handled jug marked “John Bell, Waynesboro” (Pa., circa 1860), 12 inches tall and having brown and tan mottled glazes ($2,223).
Returning to early glass, bottles and flasks, a rectangular, light yellow amber “Dr. Stephen Jewett’s Celebrated Health” bitters bottle, probably from the Stoddard glass house (Stoddard, N.H., circa 1840-1860) soared to $5,265; and a small Pitkin type flask, probably made by Pitkin Glass Works (Manchester, Conn., circa 1783-1830), in great condition, made $3,218.
Medicines featured a “Phelps / Arcanum” bottle (Worcester, Mass., circa 1840-1860), cylindrical, with indented panels and a brilliant bubbly yellowish olive color ($3,510); and a “Rushton & Aspinall” (‘No. 86 William St. & 110 Broadway, New York’) medicine bottle, probably made by Willington Glass Works in West Willington, Conn., circa 1830-1850 ($4,973).
Rounding out the sale’s top lots was a cylindrical Pitkin type inkwell, ribbed and swirled to the left, with 36 ribs, and probably made by the Pitkin Glass Works (Manchester, Conn., circa 1773-1830), with a deep yellowish green coloration and small, standing 1 ½ inches tall ($1,989).
Norman C. Heckler & Co. has just concluded the first two sessions of a three-session sale dedicated to the lifetime single-owner bottle and flask collection of Tom McCandless. Over the course of 40 years, Mr. McCandless accumulated the very best of flasks, bitters, whiskeys, medicines, milks, sodas, fruit jars, pickles and more, which he kept at his New Jersey home.
Session III (122 lots) will go online Jan. 18, 2012 and conclude Feb. 1, 2012. After that, Norman C. Heckler & Co. will have another auction with a strong antiques and Americana component, slated for Mar. 1, 2012. Watch the website for details: www.hecklerauction.com.
Norman C. Heckler & Company was founded in 1987 as a full-service auction and appraisal firm. Today it is the foremost auction house for antique glass. In October 2010, the firm set a record for an antique glass bottle at auction when a General Jackson eagle portrait flask sold for $176,670. In addition to glass Heckler’s also offers early American antique objects.
Norman C. Heckler & Company is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To inquire about consigning a single piece or an entire collection, you may call them at (860) 974-1634; or, you can e-mail them at email@example.com. To learn more about the company’s upcoming calendar of auction events, please log on to www.hecklerauction.com.
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Ken Hall writes pre-sale and post-sale press releases for auction houses, for a fee. He writes, submits and tracks stories for clients. Submissions are published in trade magazines, posted on industry websites and appear in local newspapers.