Fall’s bounty at Pittsburgh auction houses extends to sales
Local auction houses serve up a bounty of sales with offerings that include rare coins and currency, as well as art from the founder and master of the Scalp Level school of painting.
Smith’s Antique & Auction Services
Jerry Smith promises bidders a powerful selection of antiques, coins and currency during his next pair of sales Nov. 22 and 23. With one of the largest sales in the company’s history, Smith says the two-day event provides a nice warm-up for a pre-Christmas sale in mid- December.
On Nov. 22, Smith encourages buyers to put their money where their hearts are when a large collection of old U.S. currency comes up for bid. Expect to pay top dollar for rare paper, such as an 1880 $10 note and a $20 bill from the First National Bank of Patton, Cambria County. And when it comes to funny money, the sale includes more than 50 pieces of Confederate bills and other obsolete currency.
There’s plenty of jingle in the coin compartment, where more than 250 lots of rare quarters, dollars and other denominations of small change may fetch big hammer prices. As is the custom at Smith’s, Morgan dollars stand out among coins that include an 1893 U.S. Queen Isabella quarter and a rare 1881 $1 U.S. gold coin.
The focus shifts to antiques and collectibles during the Nov. 23 sale. A large group of military gear includes Civil War medals, swords and a letter signed by Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman. From more recent conflicts, there is a smattering of paraphernalia from World War II German troops and police.
Other offerings include political campaign buttons, more than a dozen antique long guns, a trio of samurai swords, fishing tackle and lures, Native American pottery and arrowheads, fine glass from Steuben and other noted manufacturers and many pieces of porcelain and pottery.
The sales will be at the Gilpin Township Fire Hall, Route 66 Firehall Road near Leechburg. Doors open at 9 a.m. Nov. 22 for a preview before the 11 a.m. sale. The preview for the Nov. 23 will start at 11 a.m. with a noon start for the sale.
BHD owner Brian Detch operates an Internet sale running through Nov. 20. With four estates contributing to the lineup of goods, the selections ran the gamut from early 19th-century furniture to more contemporary holiday decorations.
Many of the sale highlights hail from an older Evans City home that Detch says dates to the Colonial era. From that estate, bidders can compete for an early 1800s settle that has been painted over the years but remains in good condition, a tiny copper teakettle, a French curio cabinet, a tooled silver scrapbook cover and several pieces of Staffordshire.
Other items include a complete set of World War I images, a set of prints detailing early single-propeller bi-planes and a sizable collection of decorative paintings. A small collection of quilts is a timely addition to the sale, as is the sampling of Christmas decorations. Shutterbugs will focus on an old Rolleiflex and other cameras. Rounding out the sale are a collection of pocketknives, ceramics, glassware, gold and silver coins, china, vintage women’s clothing, toys and furniture for nearly every room of a home.
Details: 724-275-7190 or bhdauctions.net.
Constantine & Pletcher
With his annual “November to Remember” sale Nov. 29, owner Dan Pletcher stays busy cataloging the goods that will appear in the 2015 version of this annual blockbuster event.
A bevy of clocks include several French Empire mantel clocks, a Vienna Regulator, a Seth Thomas Sonora mantel clock with eight chiming bells and several other models.
Bronze shows up in all shapes and sizes during the auction with more than 20 pieces ranging from large recasts of famous Remington statues to petite French works re-creating the Statue of Liberty and tiny Scottie dogs. Also in the art category, bidders will find oil-on-canvas landscapes from several noted American and European artists and Italian watercolors. Moving a bit farther east, the woodblock prints of Yoshikuni Biho add an exotic appeal.
A collection of hand-painted porcelain plaques from noted manufactures such as KPM, RPM and Limoges dazzles with landscapes, portraits, war scenes, animals likenesses and even images of the American Wild West. On a smaller scale, a sampling of miniature early 19th-century hand-painted porcelain completes the section.
The jewelry and silver selections list ladies 14-karat diamond rings, bracelets and necklaces. For more practical purposes, go for sterling-silver serving pieces and flatware. A 100-piece silver ingot set from the Franklin Mint may be the best investment of the entire sale. Originally sold for $14,000, the set carries a scrap value of around $7,000 these days.
The preview runs from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 29, followed by the sale, at the Harmar House, 1321 Freeport Road, Cheswick. Details: 724-275-7190
Royal York Auction Galleries
Over the years, Bettelou Sorci honed her interior design talents at Kaufmann’s Downtown store and her own shop, the Guiding Light, as it moved from Shadyside to East Liberty to Oakmont.
After years of collecting sculptures, paintings, furniture and other rarities, Sorci will put select pieces on sale Nov. 22 at the Royal York. A large group of French-style furniture and many pieces of art on the block are from the Sorci collection. In addition, the Sorci goods include a Handel lamp and Tiffany candelabra.
The estate of W. Paul Spencer packs an added punch to the sale with a generous offering of high-end art glass and several paintings, including a landscape by George Hetzel.
Sale previews are from 5 to 8 p.m. Nov. 20 and 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 21. The Nov. 22 sale starts at 9 a.m. — all at the Royal York showroom, 5925 Baum Blvd., East Liberty.
John Altdorfer is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.