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Good Knight! Amelia Jeffers Triumphs With Single-Owner Collection

Published on Antiques and the Arts Weekly – January 16, 2024

Review by Madelia Hickman Ring

Photos Courtesy Amelia Jeffers Auctioneer & Appraiser

The top lot of the two-day event at $60,000 was this Native American cigar store trade figure that sold to an in-house bidder. It stood 80 inches tall and retained old paint that showed original colors underneath ($20/35,000).

DELAWARE, OHIO — At Antiques and The Arts Weekly, we love it when small fledgling auction houses not only land important collections but when they do well with them. It would be wrong to call Amelia Jeffers an auction novice — she’s been in the auction business for nearly 25 years — but it was only recently she hung up her own shingle. And so, we were particularly pleased that when Jeffers presented 872 lots from the collection of Bruce and Vivalyn Knight on January 4-5, she attracted a packed house at Garth’s Barn, sold more than 99 percent of the lots, and raked in a total of $1.15 million.

The third highest price was $46,500, for this late Nineteenth Century carved and painted Native American cigar store figure that had old paint over original colors. A buyer in the room won it ($25/40,000).

“It was amazing!” she said two days after stepping down from the podium. “While there were a lot of bidders there who had never bought from me personally, many of them had been clients at Garth’s in previous years so it was wonderful to have them back in the room. The Knights had been longtime clients of Garth’s; I remember taking bids from Bruce, who was always very enthusiastic. I don’t think I ever stepped off the podium without him having a kind word for me. Vivalyn, who is still alive, came to our preview and told me she was very happy with the job we’d done.”

Two carved and painted Native American trade figures were among the highlights going into the sale and neither failed to disappoint. One example that depicted a woman in a dress holding cigars, tobacco leaves and a rose was attributed to Samuel Robb and had been in the Ohio collection of Jane Murphy. It was the top lot of the day, won by an in-house bidder for $60,000, exceeding presale expectations. The second trade figure depicted a man wearing a tunic, sash and fringed leggings and carrying cigars and tobacco leaves. Though this example was not attributed to a particular carver, it had provenance to Olde Hope Antiques and sold to another bidder in the room for $45,600.

This Native American iron, silver and brass trade axe pipe slashed into its $2,5/3,500 estimate to achieve the sale’s second highest price of $49,200. Measuring more than 18 inches long it dated to the Eighteenth Century and was purportedly once owned by Tecumseh.

A Native American inlaid trade ax pipe believed to have belonged to Tecumseh was cataloged as probably Eighteenth Century and featured a forged iron head with German silver and brass inlay on a curly maple handle. It had an extensive provenance and also found a new home with a buyer who came to the sale and paid $49,200 for it.

Tall case clocks enjoyed more than a moment in the sale and featured seven examples for bidders to chase. Ticking off the highest price of the category with a result that nailed the high estimate was a Pennsylvania walnut clock, dated 1806, that made $30,000. It was followed in the category by an early Nineteenth Century tiger maple example by Easton, Penn., clockmaker Isaac Grotz (1777-1835). Previous owners of the clock included two named Ohio collectors; an online buyer prevailed against all other bidders at $10,000.

Bringing $27,600 and selling just below expectations was this late Eighteenth or early Nineteenth Century stepback cupboard by Montgomery County, Ohio, cabinetmaker Christian Shively Jr. A refinished surface, replaced hardware and some repairs and replacements elements may have impacted the price ($30/50,000).

An exceptional cherrywood stepback cupboard that was made in Montgomery County, Ohio, by Christian Shively Jr had been featured in the February 1984 issue of Ohio Antique Review. Estimated at $30/50,000, it sold to an in-house bidder for $27,600.

Richard Whitford’s painting of three Shropshire sheep was titled “First Prize & Silver Medal, London, Xmas, 1862,” oil on canvas, 1863, 34½ by 39¾ inches, brought $17,500 from an online buyer ($8/12,000).

The Knights were apparent fans of the British livestock painter Richard Whitford (1854-1887) as their collection featured three paintings by the artist. A painting of three prized Shropshire sheep that had been illustrated in Steven G. Hall and Joliet Clutton-Brock’s Two Hundred Years of British Farm Livestock (1991) sold to an online bidder for $17,500. Prized bulls were the subjects of the other two paintings; both had been acquired at a sale in 2003. An online bidder purchased one of them for $11,250; the other was titled “Lord of the Harem” and sold more modestly, for $4,125.

Jeffers’ next sale at Garth’s Barn will take place in March, dates TBA.

Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For more information, or 740-362-4771.

This American walnut and tiger maple tall case clock from Pennsylvania was dated 1806 and sold to a buyer in the room for $30,000, the lot’s high estimate. It had provenance to the Chillicothe, Ohio, collection of Dard Hunter ($20/30,000).
This first half Nineteenth Century tiger maple clock was made by Isaac Grotz and sold to an online buyer for $10,000. It had previously sold at Garth’s in 1999 and included in its provenance the Ohio collections of Babe Caine and Don and Jean Stuck ($3/5,500).
Attributed to Richard Whitford, this portrait of a prize bull, oil on canvas, 24¾ by 28¾ inches, found a new home with an online buyer for $11,250 ($1/1,500).


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