Variety will dominate three auctions next week in spirit, and in one case, in name: Pook & Pook's Variety Sale in Downingtown, which will feature five collections, notably Native American implements consigned by a local historical society.
The 75 lots of Native Americana, mostly from Pennsylvania, will be among the 700 lots in the second session, beginning at 9 a.m. next Friday at the gallery, 463 E. Lancaster Ave. Most lots consist of quantities of pottery, stone tools, and weapons; they are expected to sell for $100 to $400, according to informal presale estimates at the online catalog, accessible at www.pookandpook.com.
But the Native Americana is almost lost amid the abundance and diversity of other items in the sale, most of which are projected to sell for modest three-figure prices. The second session will offer 19 lots of garden urns and a lead birdbath; a half-dozen violins, including a maple Remy whose back is decorated with a painted mythological scene that should bring $1,000 to $2,000; and two German painted wooden Noah's arks with animals - one expected to sell for $300 to $500, the other, with 55 animals, to bring $400 to $700.
Noah's arks with accompanying animals were popular with Pennsylvania German children in the 18th and 19th centuries since they were toys that could be played with on the Sabbath.
The 650 lots in the first session, beginning at 1 p.m. Thursday, are equally diverse - as are the prices they are expected to bring. They include a carved poodle utensil rack ($25 to $50); a copper weather vane in the shape of a saw ($50 to $100); a mahogany bombe lingerie chest ($200 to $400); a carved and painted carousel horse ($800 to $1,200); a New England Queen Anne maple highboy made around 1765 ($1,000 to $2,000); and a Chinese carved painting table ($8,000 to $12,000).
Basquiat at Briggs Briggs Auction Inc. will also be conducting an unusually diverse sale beginning at 5 p.m. next Friday at its gallery in Garnet Valley, where the 700 lots to go on the block include a George III wine cooler, an Andre Harvey bronze, and two Jean-Michel Basquiat radiographs.
The wine cooler, made in 1805 in London by William Frisbee, is among the 100 lots of silver in the sale, much of which comes from the estate of Emalea Warner Trentman of Greenville, Del. Briggs president John Turner expects it to sell for $10,000 to $15,000, as should a set of six salt dishes made by Paul Storr.
The Andre Harvey bronze, made in 1994 and titled Spring Ballet, is a 49-inch leaping frog from the estate of John P. Swan that Turner expects to sell for $10,000 to $20,000. The two radiographs, expected to sell for around $5,000 to $10,00, are semiabstract drawings that Basquiat, a contemporary of Andy Warhol, did in 1978 with what Turner described as a kind of colored pencil.
The auction also features a framed George Washington letter, dated 1778, written from Valley Forge and sent to a Capt. Littell and signed "G. Washington, Commr." It instructs Littell to "extend your picket across the bridge, with a patrol on the Norristown Road as far as the King of Prussia Tavern, with orders to bring in all strangers unable to give a good account of themselves, also persons found loitering near the lines, such arrests to be immediately reported to Genl. Varnum."
Great estates at Rago's The Rago Arts & Auction Center's "great estates" sale next Friday in Lambertville will offer items ranging from Biedermeier furniture to a Babe Ruth baseball. The 450-lot sale at the gallery, 333 N. Main St., will be more affordable than many Rago events, with only a Herter Brothers mahogany glass-door cabinet and a late-19th-century Steinway grand piano expected to bring five-figure prices ($10,000 to $15,000 each), according to the auction catalog.
Some of the most striking pieces will sell in the three-figure range, such as a 20th-century Mettlach stein depicting David and Goliath with a presale estimate of $500 to $700, and an intriguing oil-on-canvas illustration of a party scene done in 1937 by Ralph Pallen Coleman ($600 to $900).
The four lots of Biedermeier (a 19th-century German furniture style that points toward Jugendstil), including a pair of settees and an abattant reminiscent of a butler's desk, have presale estimates ranging from $800 to $3,000. The Babe Ruth baseball, autographed by the Yankees' star during a radio interview in the 1930s, has a presale estimate of $4,000 to $6,000.
Beginning at 10 a.m. next Friday, Rago will also conduct a nearly 900-lot discovery auction at its annex at 204 N. Union St. featuring modern and contemporary art and furniture; English period and country furniture; Asian, Native American, and ethnographic designs and 19th- and 20th-century fine art. All will be sold without reserve, although a non-illustrated catalog does indicate anticipated prices.
Town and Country at Kamelot Beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, Kamelot Auctions will offer nearly 700 lots of furniture, architectural elements, and garden and decorative items at its annual town and country sale at the gallery in the 4700 Wissahickon Ave. complex.
According to Jeff Kamal, the top item is a Royal Copenhagen "Princess and the Pea" porcelain bonbonniere, one of only nine made by Royal Copenhagen since 1911; it has a presale estimate of $10,000 to $20,000. It, plus some of the garden items, comes from the estate of the late William L. Van Alen Jr.