Auction Report: Washington Flask Takes Top Lot at Glassware Auction

This flask, showing a bust of George Washington, sold for $60,840 in Norman C. Heckler & Company’s recent glassware auction.

WOODSTOCK, Conn. — A big, beautiful and colorful portrait flask showing George Washington and a classical bust—possibly that of the noted 19th-century American orator Henry Clay—soared to $60,840 to take top honors in an Internet and catalog auction held by Norman C. Heckler & Company. The sale opened on Jan. 27 and closed Feb. 6.

The quart flask boasted a rare “screaming” yellow color, with a sheared mouth and pontil scar. It was made circa 1840 to 1860 by the Baltimore Glass Works and was the top lot of the 162 lots of vintage bottles that came up for bid. The auction attracted just over 1,000 bidders, mostly from the U.S. but also Canada, England and Australia.

“This was a very strong, successful sale, and I attribute that to the tremendous diversity we had, both in terms of categories and colors,” said Norm Heckler of Norman C. Heckler & Company.

Sold were bottles, historical flasks, medicines, early glass, wine bottles and pattern-molded and free-blown glass from several collections, including those of Gary Hatstat, Dr. Gary and Arlette Johnson, Kristopher Kernozicky, Valerie Mikalonis, Hiram Norcross, Robert W. Skinner, Jr., Bernie Roberts.

The majority of bids came from the Internet, with 1,015 registered bidders posting more than 42,000 views, but some phone and absentee bids were also recorded.

This Pitkin-type flask, circa 1822 to 1829, sold at auction for $$19,890.

This sapphire-blue Washington flask, with a frigate portrait, traded hands for $18,720.

Following are additional highlights from the auction (all prices quoted include a 17 percent buyer’s premium):

• A pair of portrait flasks showing George Washington and Zachary Taylor, both made by the Dyottville Glass Works of Philadelphia sold for $14,040 and $10,530.
• A sapphire blue quart Washington flask with a sailing frigate portrait made by Albany Glass Works, circa 1847 to 1850, finished at $18,720. Also, a Pitkin type flask, colored a brilliant clear medium-lavender amethyst, made circa 1822 to 1829, gaveled for $19,890.
• A Type 1 free-blown lily-pad compote on a solid standard with applied circular base, aquamarine, possibly made by Redford Glass Works, circa 1840 sold at $11,115, and a medium cobalt-blue scroll flask, probably made by the Louisville Glass Works, circa 1845 to 1860, came in at $10,350.
• An Art Glass pitcher, made circa 1888 to 1895 in a Royal Flemish fish design with multi-color decoration by the Mt. Washington Glass Company of New Bedford, Mass., changed hands for $9,360, and a deep yellow-olive, cylindrical medicine bottle made by a Stoddard glasshouse commanded $8,775.

A Royal Flemish Art Glass pitcher, circa 1888 to 1895 from the Mt. Washington Glass Company, gaveled at $9,360.

This medicine bottle from a Stoddard glass house brought in a high bid of $8,775.

• A sealed English wine bottle, marked “Robt. Fulton, 1775”, in excellent shape with fine original surface, rose to $7,605, and a rectangular-shaped bitters bottle, marked “Dr. Stephen Jewett’s / Celebrated Health / Restoring Bitters,” Rindge, N.H., in brilliant light-to-medium yellow-olive with beveled corners, hit $5,265.
• An early drinking vessel from Europe, circa 1750 to 1850, conical in form and colored a brilliant sapphire blue with white fern-like loopings, in fine condition, climbed to $3,510, and an American “Highland Bitters and Scotch Tonic” figural bitters bottle, barrel-form, made circa 1850 to 1870, medium amber in color, hammered for $3,218.

According to Heckler, Opportunity Auctions will be held in May and September, with a major catalog auction slated for October. The firm will conduct six live monthly auctions from April through October that will feature 100 or more lots each. For more information, visit the Norman C. Heckler & Company website.

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