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News Article  
Victorian urn attracts $4,500 at Fennville estate
By Barb Van Loo

FENNVILLE, Mich. — A short drive along Lake Michigan and then down a long shaded driveway, one arrives at the Smith residence. The ornate black iron fence around the swimming pool, the large cement pieces strategically placed throughout the grounds give a hint that this had been the site of many social activities. Now, their desirable furniture, artwork, glassware and a myriad of other items would be on their ways to new environments.

The Fennville, Mich., home was the site of a two-day estate auction by Phil Hahn of Hahn Auctioneers Inc.

Many people who attended set their sights on a striking cast iron three-piece Victorian urn that had its place just outside the swimming pool. This desirable piece sold for $4,500. If this piece was too large for your place, there were several smaller urns. The final selling prices for these ranged from $150 to $295.

Other decorative pieces for one’s yard or garden included a cement statue of a lady that sold for $450; a sundial that earned $85; and many other smaller planters, benches, as well as animal and human statues.

It was evident that the owner of the estate also placed desirable pieces of art inside and outside the house. One of the pieces was a Victorian painting by Arthur Spear with the portrait of a reclining woman on the reverse side. Spear (1879-1959) began drawing before he could read, so it was evident at a very early age that art would be the focus of his life. He attended the Washington Art Students League and then the Art Students League in New York. Later he went to Paris where he studied with Jean Paul Laurens at the Julien Academy. He gave up painting in 1944, gave away his supplies, and destroyed many of the painting that he had on hand. His painting sold at this auction for $4,000.

Other art pieces to cross the block included Femme au Chapeau, a watercolor by Henri Lebasque that earned $1,000; Les Heures De Jour, a lithograph by Alphonse Mucha that saw $550; and Street Scene, an oil-on-canvas by George Kabriel Severius, aka George Malva, that sold for $450.

A lithograph of Sarah Bernhardt from the turn of the century by Paul Berton sold for $1,200; an oil-on-canvas depicting a young lad herding cattle earned $600; and a poster by Reginald Percy Gossop, Guide to Winter Sales Underground, crossed the block for $1,000.

There was a large quantity of furniture to entice the attendees – everything from casual to formal pieces. A burled walnut curved corner étagère with four shelves found many interested parties and sold for $1,250; a two-piece tiger maple corner cabinet crossed the block for $2,500; and a Baker New Century dining table with leaves and six chairs crossed the block for $350.

A brass-face American 1920s oak cabinet tall face clock with pendulum and chimes will be in a new location after crossing the block for $250; a showcase on a base, complete with key, sold for $540; and an old jelly cabinet earned $150.

There were also furniture items designed especially for kids. Among them, a child’s three-drawer dresser with a mirror sold for $75; and a little one’s needlepoint chair earned $150.

There were several pieces of wicker furniture including white, green, and a dark tan. Among these pieces were chairs, a settee, a desk, and tables. Selling prices ranged from $15 for the one of the dark pieces to $130 for the white wicker table with four chairs.

In addition to the aforementioned tall face clock, there were several others, some of which were advertising clocks. Among these a Dr. Pepper advertising clock earned $200; a Falstaff clock saw $70; and a Gruen Watches advertising clock crossed the block for $100.

There was a significant number of lamps to entice the crowd. A hanging lamp with an embossed leaf motif and five fluted shades attributed to Steuben found the most interest and crossed the block for $1,750. Another hanging lamp, this one brass with five marked Quezel pulled feather shades sold for $700; a stained leaded glass hanging lamp earned $400; and a brass hanging lamp with four Steuben calcite shades and four glass light orifices saw a final bid of $400.

A Handel lamp from the 1920s era in the Water Lily pattern sold for $650; a Tiffany-style stained glass leaded table lamp with a floral design and a 21-inch shade earned a final bid of $1,000; and a Lamb and Green-style lamp with a caramel slag shade sold for $225.

Reliquaries are items not seen often at an auction. A reliquary is a receptacle for relics, especially relics of saints – pieces of bone, clothing, etc. An oval case pendant with a one-saint reliquary sold for $175; an oval Vatican-sealed reliquary in a gutta percha case with seven saints saw $250; and a second framed reliquary earned $300.

Shadow play or shadow puppetry is an ancient form of storytelling and entertainment. The puppets are cut-out figures and are held between a light source and a screen. A talented puppeteer can create various effects and can make the figures appear to walk, dance, fight, etc. There were three of these from which to choose, and they crossed the block for $150 to $250 each.

Other items of interest to the bidders included two pairs of Staffordshire dogs that sold for $140 and $160; a sampler from 1841 by Jesse Love Naas that earned $275; and a Japanese silk embroidery piece with American flags that saw a final bid of $500.

A pair of 54-inch Victorian plant stands saw a final bid of $200; a pair of cast iron Art Deco bookends earned $300; a cast iron Art Nouveau mirror saw $175; and a poster depicting Navy Pier for the Chicago International Art Exposition held May 8-13, 1986, went to a new owner for $200.

Pieces to add to the décor of one’s home included a small urn in a Deco base that sold for $300; a pedestal that earned $325; a bust that also saw $325; and a statue of a girl reading a book that sold for $150.

There were several birds of various kinds, most of which were encased in domes. Selling prices for these ranged from $75 for a seagull to $225 for a raven.

A set of sterling silver flatware, service for 12, by Gorham in the Versailles pattern and presented in an oak case sold for $2,000; and a sterling silver Tiffany & Co. dish crossed the block for $135.

There were several pieces of jewelry that were sold in lots. The most desirable of these was a lot containing hair jewelry in lockets and rings, and it drew a final bid of $1,800.

Other items that found interest were an early 1900s marionette that sold for $250; a framed religious beaded needlework tapestry that saw $400; and a weathervane with a rooster that saw $110.

A Rookwood hobnail vase from 1926 found an admirer and a final bid of $400; a Coca-Cola Luncheonette sign sold for $400; and a Rexall Drugs Welcome sign saw $225.

In addition to items cited, there were many additional paintings, many decorative pieces including vases, kids’ items including dolls and other toys, and many additional posters. There were also many pieces of equipment for the yard and garden. It was truly an auction where there was something for everyone’s taste.

For additional information, contact the auction company at (574) 773-4184 or visit them at