One of the nice things about auctions, particularly those held in the suburbs when the summer lull begins, is that they offer items you are unlikely to encounter at conventional retail outlets. Two sales this weekend will offer examples of such unconventional items, including folk art and tramp art, Navajo crafts, and a classic Les Paul electric guitar signed (and played) by Paul himself.
The Les Paul guitar will be among the more than 700 lots offered by Briggs Auction at its special estate antique sale beginning at 5 p.m. today at the gallery, 1347 Naamans Creek Rd., Garnet Valley. In the early 1950s, Paul and his then-wife Mary Ford popularized the electrically amplified guitar with such hits as "How High the Moon," and so-called Les Paul guitars were manufactured around the years 1952 to 1958, according to Briggs president John Turner.
The guitar in today's sale was a 1956 "gold top" model that was consigned by a private guitar collector. Along with the guitar is a custom Sapelli glass-front display case made from wood from the African Congo, an autographed 1956 pick guard, an autographed 1950s pack of Gibson strings in a new, unopened box, an autographed copy of the Gibson Vintage Gold Top Guitar Book, and a "best of" Les Paul and Mary Ford CD.
Turner says a guitar such as this one could be expected to bring $20,000 to $25,000. This evening's sale also features almost a dozen lots of Navajo crafts including blankets and pottery, and an unusual carved wooden pedestal piece with a Moorish figure holding grapes in one hand and a fruit plate in the other that should bring about $1,500.
More conventional items include a dozen sporting prints by the Philadelphia artist A.B. Frost that should bring about $500 each; an oil-on-canvas depiction of a grouse in flight by George Browne; a John Ward tall case clock with painted dial; a number of pieces of Kittinger reproduction furniture; and more furniture locally made by Feldenkreis, notably an early 1900s cupboard, a chest of drawers and a dining room table with six chairs. Turner says the Feldenkreis pieces should bring three-figure to low four-figure prices.
Preview is from 9 a.m. to sale time today. For further information call 610-485-0412 or go to www.briggsauction.com.
Wiederseim Antique Auction. The tramp art and folk art - and more Navajo items - will be included in Wiederseim Associates Inc.'s antique auction beginning at 9 a.m. tomorrow at Griffith Hall, Ludwig's Corner Firehouse in Glenmoore.
The sale's two pieces of tramp art, which might be considered a sub-category of folk art and is marked by its relative simplicity, are a carved multi-compartment picture frame and a 50-inch-high corner shelf, each with a presale estimate in the low three-figure range.
The folk art includes a model of the Lincoln Hotel in Pottstown, 58 inches high by 63 inches wide and 213 inches deep, that was made around 1900 and sometimes used as a Christmas display. It has a presale estimate of $600 to $900.
Navajo items include a 6-foot-6-inch-by-3-foot-6-inch blanket with geometric patterns and sawtooth border that has a presale estimate of $400 to $500.
To be sure, the bulk of the auction's 400 lots are more mainstream, including paintings, furniture and accessories, silver, clocks and watches, and vintage weapons. Of the 125 paintings, about 80 are from a single Georgia consigner, according to Ted Wiederseim, including an oil-on-canvas portrait of the American inventor Samuel Colt ($1,000 to $1,500).
Other paintings include a gold-framed miniature watercolor portrait by George Engleheart (1752-1829) of the Countess of Derby with a presale estimate of $4,000 to $5,000; an oil-on-canvas portrait, attributed to George Caleb Bingham, of Appoline Alexander Blair, wife of Union Army Gen. Francis Preston Blair Jr. of Kentucky that should bring $2,000 to $4,000; an oil on canvas landscape of a tree-lined stream in winter signed "John R. Peirce 40" - probably of the French Creek near his home in Kimberton - with a presale estimate of $2,500 to $3,500; and two landscapes - possibly Susquehanna River scenes - by Edmund Darch Lewis, who is better known for his Hudson River works. They have presale estimates in the $2,000 to $3,000 range.
The top item of furniture is a Federal inlaid mahogany sideboard, made around 1790, with a "D"-shaped top, original brasses, square tapered legs with banded cuffs and a presale estimate of $10,000 to $12,000. Silver items include a George II teapot-on-stand with engraved armorial crest and bearing the maker's marks of "Edw. Vincent" that has a presale estimate of $5,000 to $7,000.
Another silver item attracting attention is an English cased presentation pocket watch. Made by Sam Buckley & Co. of London and engraved on the back "Presented by the Government of Canada to Mr. John R. Stiles, Light Keeper at Grindstone Island in Recognition of His Humane and Gallant Exertions in the Rescue of the Crew of the Brigantine 'Annie Bogart' of Digby, N.S. on the 22nd, December 1881."
It has a presale estimate of $3,000 to $4,000, according to the online auction catalog accessible at www.wiederseim.com.
Also attracting attention is an English Victorian dollhouse, "Netta Villa 1899," with original paint decoration and some accessories that was purchased in Edinburgh, Scotland around 1990. Its catalog presale estimate is $600 to $800 but Wiederseim is confident it could go considerably higher.
Preview is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 7 a.m. to sale time tomorrow at the sale site on Route 100 about a mile north of its intersection with Route 401. For more information, call 610-827-1910.
Jewelry at Freeman's. Beginning at noon Monday, Freeman's will offer almost 300 lots of jewelry and watches at its gallery at 1808 Chestnut St. The sale's opening highlight is a set of crystal minaudière purses by Judith Leiber, including Fabergé-style eggs, a Buddha figure, a sleeping cat, clutch-style boxes and evening purses. Consigned by a private New York collector, the grouping has a presale estimate of $25,000 to $30,000.
Preview is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and noon to 5 p.m. tomorrow. For more information, call 215-563-9275 or go to www.freemansauction.com.