Auctions: Dolls and majolica fill Alderfer's plate

20091030_inq_auct30-c
A rare Minton majolica game tureen in the form of a tree stump has a presale estimate of $30,000 to $35,000 in Alderfer's sale tomorrow. More than 1,000 pieces of majolica will be up for bid.

Alderfer Auction and Appraisal in Hatfield will be one busy gallery over the next few days with two distinct sales.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the gallery will conduct its two-day fall doll auction, featuring dolls and parts from the Richard Wright antiques store in Birchrunville.

And tomorrow, Alderfer will host Indiana auctioneer Michael Strawser's Fall 2009 Majolica Auction featuring more than 1,000 pieces of such well-known brands as Wedgwood, George Jones, and Minton. Parts of the sale will be conducted live on www.artfact.com.

Formally introduced at London's 1851 Crystal Palace exhibition, majolica was developed by the potter Herbert Minton and his chemist Leon Arnoux, who fired soft, porous earthenware pieces at low temperatures to a "biscuit stage, then painted on design elements and fired them again," according to a history published on the collectibles Web site essortment.com.

Minton introduced his wares here in 1876 at Philadelphia's Centennial Exhibition, the Web site says.

These days, majolica pieces usually sell at auction for three-figure prices, but a few in tomorrow's sale, which begins at 9 a.m. at the Alderfer Auction Center, 501 Fairgrounds Rd., are expected to sell in the mid-four-figure range - and in one case, considerably higher.

A pair of Minton cobalt vases decorated with foxglove flowers and leaves should bring $4,000 to $6,000, according to a partial listing available at www.artfact.com. A rare Hugo Lonitz stag table centerpiece with two matching pots has a presale estimate of $5,000 to $7,500.

And an extremely rare Minton game tureen in the form of a tree stump with mushrooms and ivy on the cover has a presale estimate of $30,000 to $35,000. It has a reserve of $15,000.

The auction also features more than 180 oyster plates not only in majolica but also in porcelain, sterling, and glass with a variety of presale estimates. They range from a French six-well plate with a green basket ground, expected to bring a modest $25 to $50, to a rare Etruscan plate with a presale estimate of $3,000 to $5,000 - and a local provenance.

On the back the plate is signed "GSH," indicating it was made by Griffin, Smith & Hill, a Phoenixville company active in the 1880s that came up with the Etruscan design, characterized by a clear, transparent pastel glaze.

Preview is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 7:30 a.m. to sale time tomorrow. For more information, call Strawser at 260-854-2859.

The top items in Alderfer's fall doll auction will be offered at the second session, beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday. That is when approximately 30 dolls will also be offered live on Artfact, beginning at noon.

They include a half dozen from Wright's store, notably a French L'Entrepide walking doll, registered on Feb. 4, 1893, by Roullet & Decamps. It has a presale estimate of $2,000 to $3,000, according to Alderfer's doll consultant Roxanne LeMay Morison, a longtime friend of the late antiques dealer.

Another top item in the Artfact session is the opening one: an 18-inch, 1930s Kathe Kruse boy doll with two Bavarian outfits, one consisting of a pair of lederhosen and a piped jacket, the other a more formal Trachtenanzug suit. It has a presale estimate of $1,000 to $2,000.

It is one of 11 Kruses in the sale, but the only one in the Artfact session, Morison said this week. The others will be among the more than 600 non-Artfact lots to be sold Thursday.

Four other dolls in the Artfact session are the creations of Upstate New York doll maker R. John Wright.

Perhaps the most unusual of them is a 20-inch Little Red Riding Hood model made between 1988 and 1991 and distinguished not only by its costume but also by the color of its wig. "It's the only one we know of that has red hair," notes Morison, who says it was given as a Christmas present to a company employee. It has a presale estimate of $750 to $1,000.

Other unusual models include a 33-inch 19th-century American folk art rag doll, also from Richard Wright's store ($500 to $600), and a Ralph Lauren Russian "polo bear" in original box ($200 to $300).

Wednesday's session, beginning at noon, will as usual be devoted to less valuable dolls and accessories. The more than 600 lots include clothing; wigs; dollhouse furniture; books such as The Collector's Encyclopedia of Dolls; and miscellaneous items, notably a German puppet-show lot with a folding wooden theater with backdrops and a set of puppets including a policeman, a maid, a hobo, a jester, a young man, and a scary man.

Previews are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Thursday. For more information, call 215-393-3023.

 


Contact David Iams at daiams@comcast.net.