Beauty and craftsmanship are the watchwords in Morphy’s June 25 General Antiques & Pottery auction

June 8th, 2011 by

Circa-1795 Eli Terry tall case clock is first of its type to be offered for sale in a century


Circa-1795 Eli Terry tall case clock, one of only three whose movement and case were both crafted by Terry himself, est. $20,000-$30,000. Morphy Auctions image.

DENVER, Pa. – Just as there are comfort foods, there are also comfort objects – decorative antiques whose beauty and superior craftsmanship render them icons of stability in an era of plastic and impersonal mass production. Early American clocks, artist-decorated pottery and hand-filigreed antique jewelry are comfort objects, and all may be found in abundance at Morphy’s June 25 General Antiques auction.


The 500-lot auction includes more than 40 tall case and mantel clocks, with the star lot being a circa-1795 Eli Terry production. “Eli Terry (Connecticut, 1772-1852) was the father of American clock making,” said Morphy Auctions’ owner, Dan Morphy. “The tall-case clock in our sale is extraordinary because it is the third of only three such clocks for which Eli Terry made both the movement and the case. The other two clocks are in museums. The one consigned to our sale is the only one of its type to be offered for public sale in more than a century.” In 2010, one of the other two Eli Terry clocks was appraised for a museum on PBS Television’s Antiques Roadshow and was valued at $25,000, minimum.


The 93-inch-tall Eli Terry clock in Morphy’s upcoming sale features a handsome mahogany case with excellent original finial and possibly original finish. It has a wooden movement with calendar, sweep-second hands and original tin can weights, and is in overall excellent condition. Accompanied by extensive written and photographic documentation, this recently discovered clock is expected to make $25,000-$60,000 at auction.


The clock section also includes a rare, primitive-style Flemish tall case clock, est. $4,000-$6,000; and an American Chippendale cherrywood tall case clock, est. $4,000-$8,000. A collection of desirable skeleton clocks joins the larger timekeepers, with highlights being a 2-train example with cable-driven fusee, est. $1,200-$1,800; a miniature “great wheel,” est. $600-$1,200; and a French miniature “post” clock, est. $900-$1,500.


The overwhelming success of Morphy’s Feb. 26 Fine Jewelry sale led to the consignment of 100 luxe pieces from two separate collections. A chic 14K white gold ring with a 3-carat center diamond is estimated at $15,000-$25,000; while a filigreed 18K gold, diamond and sapphire ring weighs in with a $10,000-$15,000 estimate. Also featuring very fine filigree work, a ladies’ hand-made 18K cast-gold coin holder could realize $4,000-$6,000.


More than 200 lots of pottery will be auctioned, including a single-owner 20-piece collection of George Ohr designs consigned by friends of the Ohr family. A 3¾-inch bowl with crimped edges, a 3-inch dark metallic bowl and an unglazed bowl finished in bright colors are among the top lots. Each is signed and carries a presale estimate of $600-$1,200.


Rookwood iris-glaze vase, 1902, decorated by A.R. Valentien, full signature, 15 inches tall, est. $17,000-$22,000. Morphy Auctions image.

An exceptional 15-inch iris-glaze Rookwood vase with a depiction of geese in flight leads the Rookwood category. A masterwork hand painted in 1902 by Rookwood’s renowned art director A.R. Valentien, the vase bears Valentien’s full signature and could finish in the $17,000-$22,000 range. Other notable Rookwood lots include a 13½-inch Sara Sax avian and floral design executed in 1916, est. $6,000-$7,000; and an 11-inch scenic vellum vase by Ed Diers, $2,000-$2,500.


Several other premier potteries are represented in the sale. A Teco Arts & Crafts green matte glaze vase stands 12 inches tall and is estimated at $2,200-$2,500. An 11-inch Grueby bulbous vase could reach $1,500-$2,000; as could a 28-inch Roseville Bonita jardinière and pedestal. A coveted Newcomb College Pottery 11-inch bud vase in blue tones is stamped “AFS” for student artist Anna Frances Simpson, and is assigned a presale estimate of $6,000-$8,000.


A stunning 10½-inch art glass vase with silver overlay, possibly of Austrian origin, is entered in the sale with a $6,000-$9,000 estimate. Another glass highlight is the set of six signed Tiffany Studios gold-colored tumblers, $1,000-$1,500.


The primitive charm of stoneware is on display with a collection of more than 30 chicken feeders. Each of the blue or yellow stone feeders is attractively decorated, many adorned with cheerful images of hens or chicks.


Other decorative-art standouts include a 37-inch-tall Ming Dynasty polychrome-painted Buddha, $2,000-$4,000; and a magnificently carved ivory Asian urn, 24 inches tall with teak base. The urn is from a long-held single-owner collection that also includes two 11-inch ivory tusks carved with images of men and women at work. The tusks – likely Chinese artworks – are offered as a single lot with a presale estimate of $3,000-$5,000.


From a British collector comes an array of more than 30 biscuit and sweets tins, including several sought-after forms. A 1915 Robertson Bros. (Canada) bas-relief golf bag tin that once held chocolates is decorated with images of a man and woman golfer in vintage attire. It is estimated at $1,200-$1,500. Biscuit tin highlights include a 1913 Huntley & Palmers “King Wenceslas,” $1,000-$1,500; a Crawford’s “Fairy Tree” with Mabel Lucie Attwell design, $600-$900; and Huntley & Palmer’s “Plates” and “Shell” tins, each estimated at $600-$800.


All items in the June 25, 2011 auction are currently on display and available to preview at Morphy’s gallery. All forms of bidding will be available, including live at the gallery, phone, absentee, and live via the Internet through Morphy Live or For further information on any lot in the sale, call 717-335-3435 or email View the fully illustrated catalog and all other auction information online