On May 1 and 2, Leigh Keno held his Inaugural Auction in the beautiful city of Stamford Connecticut in the Grand Ballroom at the Marriott Hotel and Spa. It took three session to hammer down 659 lots that were sold which included a 19 percent buyer's premium. Leigh Keno had the help of Michael Grogan of Grogan and Co. in auctioneering. The first session began with 178 lots from the collection of H. Robert Leese, a long time dealer and collector who was formerly the owner of the New Oxford Antique Center, manager of the One Day Antique Show in New Oxford, and President of the Pennsylvania Antique Dealer's Association. His collection which spanned forty years included grain painted furniture, tin lanterns, redware, folk art, fraktur, stoneware, iron work, mochaware, and spatterware. With only three lots passed, the other lots sold achieving $187,650 some of the highlights of the collection were a Mount Pleasant, Adams County nine pane grain painted corner cupboard, mid 19th century with an estimate of $8,000-$12,000 brought $10,710 which includes a 19% buyer's premium. A rare manganese decorated glazed redware figural jug possibly from Virginia, 1880 surpassed its estimate of $2,000-$3,000 by realizing $8,330. An otter effigy likely Iroquois purchased on a trip to Ohio in 1963 brought $9,520. A rare small painted and decorated trinket box attributed to Jonas or Jacob Weber (1772-1865), Lancaster County Pennsylvania, dated 1852 realized $7735. The top spatterware lot was a five color rainbow spatterware plate with festoon pattern brought $8,330. A red painted and blue decorated toleware tray found in the Hershey, Pennsylvania area, early 19th century and signed on back "John Fleck/Samuel Conrad/May 1829 with an estimate of $4,000-$8000 sold for $6,545. Bob purchased two polychrome painted and decorated covered treen apothecary urns on a trip to Centre County in 1965. They were probably made in Lancaster County in the 19th century and realized $5,950 Iron work has always been a favorite item to collect for Bob. One of the highlights was a brass inlaid and decorated wrought iron fork from Allentown with name and date, possible "Cadarhna Cunniusen 1786" with an estimate of $2,000-$4,000 sold for $3808. A rare whimsical wrought iron double spatula and fork stamped by John Westman, PA, dated 1823 with an estimate of $2,000-$3,000 sold for $2,856. Except for rare pieces, the redware market was soft for this auction. Frakturs have not sold as well as they once did. A Daniel Peterman York County fraktur in 2002 sold for $8250. Bob's Peterman fraktur sold only for half its value at $3,808. Bob was also hoping for a better price for the grain painted corner cupboard than what was realized. The first session also included property from various Pennsylvania owners. The second session which began at 2pm featured coins, jewelry, silver and furniture from the collection of Dr. and Mrs. Oscar Hollander, Clouds Hill Victorian Museum, and the Beekman-Sanders family. With the descendants of the Beekman-Sanders family in the audience, a record price was realized for a piece of New York furniture, a New York mahogany chest of drawers with an estimate of $200,000-$600,000 brought $1,428,000. The James Beekman Chippendale Chest of Drawers was attributed to the shop of Thomas Brookman with lavish carvings completed by Henry Hardcastle who has documented work at the Philipse Manor in Yonkers New York. The Beekman chest was owned by James Beekman (1732-1807) who was a successful dry goods merchant. It is one of the most important examples of New York colonial furniture to come on the market. Also in the audience were the grandchildren of Hall Park McCullough (1872-1966) to view the items being sold from his collection. Hall Park McCullough whose father,John, was the governor of Vermont, collected American furniture, pewter, portraits of George Washington, manuscripts, china, and books of the late 19th century and early 20th century. The portraits and watercolors in the sale represented part of his collection of important figures of American colonial and Revolutionary War periods. A set of four watercolors depicting the Battles of Lexington and Concord done by St. John Honeywood (1763-1798) in 1777-1778 from the McCullough collection with an estimate of $50,000-$100,000 brought $53,550. The watercolors are one of only two sets of Honeywood's Lexington-Concord in existence. He based them upon the four engravings done by Amos Doolittle published in 1775. Offered in the McCullough Collection were pencil sketches done by John Trumbull (1756-1843), son of Governor Jonathan Trumbull of Connecticut and American artist during the Revolutionary War. A graphite on paper of General Glover inscribed and dated "B. Gen Glover/Marblehead Nov, 13th 1794" with an estimate of $10,000-$20,000 sold for $89,250. John Glover was a Brigadier General in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Trumbull used this sketch as a study for his painting "The Surrender of General Burgoyne at Saratoga, October 16, 1777" and "The Capture of the Hessians at Trenton, December 26, 1776." A selection of Colonial items were offered in the sale by Clouds Hill Victorian Museum to preserve the house and benefit the mission of the museum. Clouds Hill is one of the finest Victorian house on the Atlantic. The top lot sold was the pair of American Silver Rococo Butterboats made by Paul Revere Jr, circa 1783, one of less than a dozen known. Butterboats were meant to hold melted butter and graced the tables of only the elite colonial families. The butterboats with an estimate of $50,000-$100,000 realized an impressive $190,400. Other lots were a Diminutive Chippendale Carved Mahogany Drop Leaf Table attributed to John Goddard (1723-1785) with an estimate of $15,000-$30,000 which realized $35,700 and a Federal Inlaid and Veneered Mahogany Secretary Book case with an estimate of $5,000-$10,000 which realized $29,570. The third session which began at 12pm on Sunday consisted of items belonging to Leigh Keno, Dr. Hollander, Hall Park McCullough, Clouds Hill, Beekman-Sanders Family, and other private collections from Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Florida, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and California. The second highest price in the sale was of a portrait of Anna Brodhead Oliver painted by Gansevoort Limner, Kingston, N.Y. Gansevoort Limner was active from 1730-1745 in the Dutch settle lands along the Hudson River from New York to Troy. He and several other portrait painters were known as the Patroon Painters. The portrait of Anna Brodhead Oliver with an estimate of $40,000-$80,000 sold to David Schorsch of Woodbury, Connecticut for $1,118,600. The oil on canvas painting descended into the family of the sitter. Another wonderful folk art portrait painting offered was a pair of double portraits attributed to Sturtevant J. Hamblin (1817 - 1884), Boston, Massachusetts, circa 1840. With an estimate of $40,000-$80,000 the portrait realized $154,700. Another painting by Hamblin, Portrait of Three Brown Family Children With Boat, Hoop, and Cat with an estimate of $40,000-$80,000 sold for $71,400. There were several William Matthew Prior (1806-1873) painting offered including a rare self portrait completed when Prior was nineteen. The self portrait sold below the estimate of $50,000-$100,000 at $47,600. Two portraits surpassed their estimate, one of a Portrait of a Girl Holding Flowers, oil on panel with an estimate of $5,000-$8,000 realized $19,040 and the other of a Pair of Portraits: Brother and Sister in Red Dress, oil on academy board, New England, circa 1830-1850 with an estimate of $15,000-$30,000 realized $35,700. A nest of eight Nantucket baskets circa 1880 from an American Private Collector and stamped each individually with R. Folger with an estimate of $40,000-$80,000 brought $101,150. A large Iroquois two-handled burlwood bowl, 18th century with an estimate of $10,000-$30,000 brought $23,800. The total of the sale sold was $5,818,460 with 87 percent of the lots sold. The people at Keno Auctions were very professional and wonderful to deal with, including the checkout by Sarah Sperling. What made the auction special is the close knit relationship that the Keno family has with one another. Mitch, Leigh's brother and Ron, Leigh's father work for Keno Auctions. It was enjoyable to listen to Ron reminisce about the 32 years he spent as a structural ironworker when he wasn't teaching or about the German motorcycle he bought at a car show in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Leigh's brother was at the show for two days to show his support and to also bid as well. The next sale will be held possible in September with an Americana auction in January 2011.
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