PRICES FOR American art and antiques are rising quickly.An auction of largely Americana at C.G. Sloan & Co. in Washington last weekend brought $850,000.
At the auction, Clem Conger, chairman of the State Department's Diplomatic Reception Rooms antique collection, paid $18,000 for a Philadelphia Chippendale mahogany chest of drawers, circa 1770, attributed to Jonathan Gostelowe, descended through the Powell family of Philadelphia. Gail Daly, registrar of the collection, said after the current remodeling of the entry hall is finished, the chest may be used there.
A pair of early 19th-century portraits by Henry Inman, of Col. and Mrs. Nicholas (nee Margaret Stuyvesant) Fish, was bought for $10,200, almost five times the expected price. The pair is rumored to be heading for a New York museum.
The nautical jugs from the Sussel collection set new records, according to Donald Webster of Sloan's. Two went for $4,500 each -- both Staffordshire jugs, circa 1815, depicting victories by Commodores Perry and MacDonough. Several other jugs brought $1,500 and $2,000. As president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, "tried his best to buy the Sussel Collection of Naval Jugs," according to J. William Middendorf, one of Sloan's owners.
A well-known portrait by Charles Willson Peale of Capt. James Josiah of the Continental Navy, from the Arthur J. Sussel American Naval Collection, was withdrawn from sale after it did not reach its reserve price (the bottom price the sellers will accept), about $175,000. A 1955 painting by Charles Burchfield "Passing Shadow" also was withdrawn when it didn't reach its $17,000 reserve.
This weekend, another Washington auction house, Adam A. Weschler & Son, is conducting a catalog sale including a rare American Chippendale mahogany tea table, attributed to John Goddard of Newport, R.I., circa 1760-1770 and a Thomas Hill (American 1829-1908) painting of Bridal Veil Falls.
This month's Sotheby Parke Bernet Americana auction brought sales of $2 million and set new records in several categories. Antiques buffs see the sale as trend setting.
The record price of $18,000, $3,000 over the high estimate, for an American ceramic piece was registered by a glazed pottery lion made by John Bell of Waynesboro, Pa. The three other Bell lions are in museums.
A silver teapot, made by Peter Van Dyck of New York, circa 1720-40, was sold for $47,000 to set a record for silver or ceramic teapots.
A Chippendale carved and inlaid walnut and cherrywood secretary /bookcase, made by John Shearer of Martinsburg, W. Va., circa 1801, one of only four known pieces by Shearer, sold for $40,000 to the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts in Winston-Salem, N.C. The piece set a record for a Southern antique.
A Chippendale carved mahogany block-front chest of drawers, made in Massachusetts about 1760-80, sold for a record $57,500. A Queen Anne carved walnut armchair, attributed to William Savery of Philadelphia, circa 1740, went for $40,000.
Items whose value is historical rather than intrinsic sold in[Word Illegible] tion included Abraham Lincoln's gold-mounted ebony walking stick, $9,000, and a shawl said to have covered Lincoln's coffin, $17,000, both to a Texas collector; several silver pieces, including a George III soup ladle, which belonged to President Thomas Jefferson, sold to Monticello for $6,100.
The White House lost the chance to buy a long-sought presidential portrait when New York's Rinhart Gallery outbid it at $15,000 for President William Henry Harrison's portrait. According to Sotheby's, the painting by James Reid Lambdin in 1835, had long been presumed to exist, but only recently turned up. A number of folk art items from the collection of Willam E. Wiltshire III of Richmond went for good prices. A show of the Wiltshire folk paintings is on view here at the Phillips Gallery.