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Freeman's sale demonstrates successes in American material
Ralph Cahoon (1910-1982), Washed Ashore. Sold for $32,760. Seaside scene achieves almost three times its pre-sale high estimate.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- Freeman’s announced the results of its April 27 American Furniture, Folk and Decorative Arts auction, which confirms Freeman’s place as a market leader for objects significant to American history. The 287-lot auction achieved an 82% sell-through rate. The auction’s top lot, Washed Ashore by Ralph Cahoon (1910-1982), a playful Massachusetts beach scene, sold for $32,760.

“From the marble bust of George Washington to the Philadelphia Mourning items and Elm Treaty box, the results of this auction clearly show that Freeman’s excels in the realm of historical material,” said Lynda Cain, Head of the American Furniture, Folk and Decorative Arts department. “History sells, and it’s something we do exceptionally well.”

The auction kicked off with the sale of a small marble bust of General George Washington (1732-1799) (Lot 1) selling for $8,820, which exceeded its pre-sale estimate of $2,000-3,000. Befitting the country’s oldest auction house, Freeman’s facilitated the sale of a patch box made from William Penn’s “Treaty Elm”—of particular significance to Philadelphia and the country’s founding—for $4,410 (Lot 9, estimate: $800-1,200).

Throughout the auction, fine examples of period furniture inspired lively bidding from phone and online bidders, pushing prices above their pre-sale estimates. Two handsome Queen Anne mahogany tea tables performed above estimate: a mid-18th century Irish piece sold for $6,930 (Lot 16, estimate: $2,000-3,000), and another, circa 1760, sold for $4,095 (Lot 41, estimate: $800-1,200).

Online and phone bidders showed strong interest in Chinese Export goods included in Tuesday’s auction, including a large Chinese Export black lacquered cabinet that achieved $11,340 (Lot 110, estimate: $3,000-5,000). A series of porcelain lots sold well above their pre-sale high estimates, including a group of eleven assorted Chinese Export porcelain Rose Medallion and Rose Mandarin tablewares (Lot 103, sold for $3,276), an assorted group of eight Chinese Export porcelain figural and Famille Verte plates/dishes (Lot 104, sold for $4,725), and an assorted group of eight Chinese Export porcelain tablewares (Lot 108, sold for $2,772). Building on the momentum of the stellar results achieved in our Asian Arts auction earlier this month, Freeman’s continues to demonstrate its status as a premier auction destination for Chinese porcelain and furniture—in this case, 18th and 19th century material made almost exclusively for the American market.

Though the auction featured strong sales for large, stately canvases and furniture works, several lots of portrait miniatures also performed particularly well. One standout example is a rare pair of portrait miniatures depicting William Compton and Mary Evans Compton by William Owen, which may be the only known example of Owen’s work (Lot 155, sold for $2,772). These diminutive portraits showcase the best of 18th and 19th century English, American, Scottish, and Indian Trade School craftsmanship, and include portraits of children set in both gilded locket cases, as in Lot 151 (sold for $2,016), and freestanding frames, as in Lot 163 (sold for $1,008).

An occupational porcelain shaving mug belonging to Len Zengel (Lot 208) exceeded its pre-sale estimate of $1,200-1,500 to achieve $5,355; carved decoys—including a miniature carved and painted Wild Turkey, North Scituate, RI (Lot 216, sold for $4,725)—performed well; a collection of American Indian beaded hide and cloth accessory items from the mid-19th/early 20th century sold for $18,900 (Lot 285, estimate: $4,000-6,000).

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