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Thomas Butterworth, Andrew Wyeth Works Highlight Converse Auction

by WorthPoint Staff (10/06/09).

A half-dozen collographs (prints on paper) by Andrew Wyeth are expected to be a highlight at the upcoming Oct. 21 auction to be hosted by Gordon S. Converse & Co.

A half-dozen collographs (prints on paper) by Andrew Wyeth are expected to be a highlight at the upcoming Oct. 21 auction to be hosted by Gordon S. Converse & Co.

WAYNE, Pa. – Some 200 lots of fine art, period American furniture, decorative accessories—including a pair of oils by Thomas Butterworth and a half-dozen collographs by Andrew Wyeth—will be sold in a two-session auction scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 21 here in Wayne.

“Bidders will appreciate the genuine antiques, not reproductions, in this auction,” said Gordon Converse, of the Strafford, Pa.-based Gordon S. Converse & Co., which is facilitating the auction. “But, unlike with auctions at firms like Sotheby’s and Christie’s, the merchandise in this sale will be affordable.” Online bidding will be facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.com. Phone and absentee bids will also be accepted.

Framed oil painting by British artist Thomas Buttersworth.

Framed oil painting by British artist Thomas Buttersworth.

The sale will be held at the Italian-American Club in Wayne, a suburb of Philadelphia located a half-hour due west of the city. The building is located at 301 West Wayne Ave. The first session, dubbed a “Discovery Auction,” will feature items drawn from local estates in a variety of categories. Following a brief intermission, the second session will begin, at around 6 p.m.

“That will be a gallery sale, for lack of a better term,” Converse said of the second session. “It’s when the bulk of the items will come up for bid and should provide a climactic end to a very busy day.”

Certain to pique bidder interest will be the wide selection of fine art offerings in the sale, to include original oil paintings, some nice prints and other works of art, much of it by noted, listed artists. Headlining the category will be a pair of framed oils by Butterworth (U.K., 1768-after 1828). The early 19th century works depict the frigates Glasgow and Albion. Each could realize $3,000 to $5,000.

Also sold will be about a half-dozen collographs (prints on paper, similar to serigraphs), by the renowned Wyeth (1917-2009). The prints show the Scandinavian model Helga, who posed nude for a series. The signed, numbered, limited-edition prints to be sold are from that series. They have also been studio-framed by the Brandywine Museum. Each print should fetch $1,000 to $1,500.

Detail of framed equestrian print by the British artist Charles “Snaffles” Johnson Payne.

Detail of framed equestrian print by the British artist Charles “Snaffles” Johnson Payne.

The artist Charles Johnson Payne (U.K., 1884-1967), who sported the nickname “Snaffles” was one of Great Britain’s best known and most loved sporting artists, as be built an element of humor into his work, and many of his prints featured clever inscriptions. Two of his equestrian prints (both framed) will be sold (est. $200-$400 each), and another 10 equestrian prints will also cross the block.

Bidders who appreciate both art and early American history will be intrigued by the pair of high quality portraits of Aaron Foster and his wife, in identical frames. Foster was born in Danvers, Mass., and there is a link between him and the Folger family (renowned whalers and coffee merchants). John Folger, a direct descendant of Aaron Foster, was Benjamin Franklin’s maternal grandfather.

More than 30 period American furniture pieces will come under the gavel, most of them from a prominent estate in St. Michaels, Md., and some of it centennial furniture (circa 1876 to around 1900). Included will be half-dozen gaming tables, one of them a rare, three-tiered example made in the early 20th century. Also sold will be a six-foot-tall, Chippendale-style mirror with all carved gilt wood, in gold.

Of the decorative accessories, one piece that stands out for its rarity is a silk 18th century “marriage” pillow, decorated with tulips and hearts and made by the bride-to-be (as was custom) in 1772, The pillow, decorated with pins and with tassels at each corner, is small—just six and a half inches by four and a half inches. It has the initials of the couple (“EH” and “HJ”) and is rare because silk rarely survives this long. “This item is so rare and unusual,” Converse said, “I have no idea what estimated value to assign it.”

Other lots expected to get paddles wagging include a vintage 19th century Uncle Sam cast-iron mechanical bank, recent but high-quality and stylish lamps, grandfather clocks, some household goods and other items. All lots sold will be subject to a standard buyer’s premium of 15 percent.

For more information, visit the Gordon S. Converse & Co. Web site, call at (610) 722-9004, e-mail to Gordon@ConverseClocks.com. Converse also has a Web site devoted to antique and collectible clocks.

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