Historic Muhlenberg Property
"It’s amazing that these items descended in the family and are now staying together in a single collection."
- Lisa Minardi, author of Pastors & Patriots
An important private collection of Revolutionary War treasures, steeped in American history, was sold by Freeman’s at auction to a single bidder that desired to keep the Muhlenberg collection whole. From one of Pennsylvania’s most historical families, the collection realized an impressive $646,063.
“This collector is my hero!” Lisa Minardi, author of Pastors & Patriots, said after the sale. “It’s amazing that these items descended in the family and are now staying together in a single collection." The items at auction, from a descendent of Colonel Peter Muhlenberg, the Legendary Parson of the American Revolution, included an extensive manuscript archive representing the public and sometimes private lives of a leading Pennsylvania family; it also included a complete and extremely rare 18th century battle flag of the Eighth Virginia Regiment that realized an impressive $422,500 at auction. An auction record was set for a record kept by Col. Muhlenberg during the battles of Brandywine and Germantown.
Philadelphia Museum of Art Timepieces Collection
- Donna Corbin, The Louis C Madeira IV Associate Curator of European Decorative Arts
Donated and bequeathed to the Philadelphia Museum of Art from some of the most influential and important families in Philadelphia, this unique assortment of antique pocket and wristwatches was sold to benefit the museum. Included were pieces given by the Morris, Whitaker and Wister families in the 1900s or the Bloomfield Moore Collection in the late 1800s.
Property Deaccessioned by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association
“The objects in this sale have played a variety of roles in Mount Vernon’s long preservation history, and we are grateful for the role they have rendered in educating millions of visitors about George Washington and life in early America. All of these pieces tell the story of continued efforts by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association to present Washington’s residence in the most accurate fashion possible. While it was challenging to witness these pieces of history leave the estate, we look forward to the thought that they will no longer be in storage and will be brought to homes and collections where they can be enjoyed and appreciated.”
- Senior Vice President of Historic Preservation and Collections at Mount Vernon Carol Borchert Cado
Freeman’s proudly offered deaccessioned furnishings from the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association in its April 19, 2016 American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts auction. The 70 piece collection featured a variety of forms, including looking glasses, chests of drawers, bedsteads, tables, and stands made from New England to Virginia. Regency strapwork iron benches that were used in Mount Vernon’s gardens throughout the 20th century and a group of Colonial Revival comb-back Windsor armchairs that have graced the Mansion’s famous piazza since 1892 were also sold. The centerpiece of the collection was an especially fine pair of Chippendale mahogany tassel-back side chairs made in Philadelphia, PA, circa 1765. The chairs were originally owned by Justice Samuel Chase (1741-1811), a signer of the Declaration of Independence for Maryland and Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Property from the Collection of Henry C. Gibson & Family
“Mr. Gibson's acquisitions in China occurred at a time when that nation and its ruling dynasty were in decline and cultural treasures were available for purchase by Western collectors and enthusiasts. After many years of careful stewardship by the Gibson family, many of these works were repatriated to their home nation whose thriving economy and renewed passion for traditional arts is driving today’s strong Asian arts market.”
Asian Arts Department Head Richard Cervantes
The most enduring legacy of Henry C. Gibson (1830-1891) to the city of Philadelphia was his philanthropy and patronage of the arts. His collection of art at his Walnut Street townhouse—redesigned in 1870 by Frank Furness and George Hewitt—was one of the greatest assembled in America. It included Imperial Chinese porcelain and cloisonné enamel, superb European paintings and American sculpture, as well significant holdings of European furniture and works of art.
One of the highlights of the Gibson Collection was a large and very rare Imperial Ge-type moon flask from the Yongzheng Emperor’s reign. Originally estimate at $200,000-400,000, the competition for the piece was fierce and was finally won by a phone bidder for $903,750. This monumental flask embodies the refinement in ceramic craftsmanship of Qing imperial potters under the supervision of Tang Ying at Jingdezhen kiln during the early 18th-century. Its smooth, greenish-gray glaze and jinsi tiexian (gold thread and iron wire) craquelure highlights the finest imitation of the definitive Song dynasty Ge wares. The moon flask form, assimilated from "pilgrim bottles,” originates from the ancient Near East during the Iron Age, and ceramic replicas can be found in China dating back to the Han and Tang dynasties. The molded design of the Eight Trigrams testifies to Emperor Yongzheng's personal fondness of the Taoist traditions. Flasks of this shape and size are extremely rare, and only a few examples with this glaze have appeared at auction.
Property from the Reed & Barton Archives
“The Reed & Barton Progress Vase is a virtuosic piece of superb craftsmanship made to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the United States. We are delighted to bring this important piece of Massachusetts and national history into the MFA collectio.,”
Nonie Gadsden, the MFA’s Katharine Lane Weems Senior Curator of American Decorative Arts
One of the most recognizable names in the history of American silver, Reed & Barton produced some of the finest silver-plated and sterling silver wares of any American factory. Featuring original design drawings, master molds, and other items representative of the silver making process, this prestigious collection brought nearly $250,000, with a 96% sell-through rate. The standout piece of the group was the monumental Progress Vase, designed by W.C. Beattie. Substantial in size and ambitious in scope, the vase triumphed at its unveiling at the Centennial Exhibition in 1876.
Selected Contents of Vaux Hill: The Collection of Robert & Barbara Safford
"Chinese and Russian bidders dominate in sell-out sale of an opulent Pennsylvania collection."
- Antiques Trade Gazette
Atop a northern bank of the Schuylkill River sits Vaux Hill, a palatial manor with white columns surrounded by rolling grounds. The house was built on a site known as Fatland in 1776 by James Vaux, a wealthy Quaker from Philadelphia. George Washington stayed at the home during the Revolutionary War, as it was a strategic location for the Continental Army camped at Valley Forge. Over the years, the house changed hands from the Audubons to the Wetherills before Barbara and the late Robert Safford purchased it in 1991. “When we walked through the doors of Vaux Hill we could sense the history of the house, and it had a warm feeling about it. Then and there, we knew it was home,” said Mrs Safford. The couple furnished their home with impressive pieces over the next 20 years, collecting art and furniture fit, and sometimes made, for royalty. Inspired by travels to Europe and castles and stately homes they visited, they found themselves drawn to fine English and Continental antiques. Some collection highlights included decorative arts by the German and Russian royal porcelain manufactories, and a number of objects formerly in the Hanoverian royal collections. The Robert & Barbara Safford Collection garnered superb media attention, and exhibitions in London and our Philadelphia galleries opened with much fanfare. In addition, a short film was produced by Freeman’s and distributed to key prospects and via the web and social media outlets. Buyers from around the globe packed Freeman’s saleroom and bid for over five hours on 274 works spanning two centuries, achieving desirable sales results and setting a new auction record for a KPM clock. The Robert & Barbara Safford Collection was a “white glove” success, with 100% of works sold.
The Art Collection of Richard Scrushy
“First and foremost, we are delighted with the results. When we received the art, the provenance and history had been removed, and there was a great deal of work that was done to authenticate it. We could not have achieved a fraction of the prices had it not been for Freeman’s authenticating the pieces and guiding us through the process.”
- John Sommerville, Attorney for the Healthsouth shareholders
HealthSouth shareholders benefited from the auction of works from the collection of ousted health care executive Richard Scrushy. The art works were sold as a part of Freeman’s May 2011 Modern & Contemporary Art auction that overall achieved over $2,000,000. The collection itself was comprised of 16 works and realized $672,000, featuring modern masters like Picasso, Renoir and Chagall, as well as established contemporary artists, Patrick Hughes and Donald Roller Wilson. The auction was a resounding success: Picasso’s ‘Portrait de Femme de Profil’ sold for $97,000, impressively exceeding its estimated sale price of $50/80,000; Chagall’s “Lechelle au Ciel” realized $181,000, overcoming its estimate of $50/70,000; and Dali’s Paradiso realized $73,000, soaring past its estimated sale price of $40/60,000. “First and foremost, we are delighted with the results,” commented the attorney for the Healthsouth shareholders, John Sommerville. “When we received the art the provenance and history had been removed, and there was a great deal of work that was done to authenticate it. We could not have achieved a fraction of the prices had it not been for Freeman’s authenticating the pieces and guiding us through the process.”The proceeds of this enormously successful sale of works, such as a rare Picasso hand-rinsed and inked print benefitted Scrushy’s former company and its shareholders.
The Avon Collection of Photography
“The Avon art collection represents many impressive female artists and we are happy to partner with Freeman’s to share these significant pieces of work.”
- Sheri McCoy, Chief Executive Officer of Avon
Avon, the global cosmetics giant, nurtured a photography collection celebrating beauty through the eyes of female photographers. Avon, with its popular beauty products and history of empowering women by providing a means for financial independence, began compiling a photography collection in the late 1990s. Although relatively small (approximately 100 photographs in all) it contained significant pieces by some of the most important female artists of the 20th century and was displayed proudly in the corporate headquarters in New York. The collection was quickly recognized as an exemplary model of corporate citizenship and was exhibited at the International Center for Photography in 1997. “I was overjoyed to have the opportunity to offer such an illustrious collection at Freeman’s,” said Photographs & Photobooks department head Aimee Pflieger. “One of my favorite aspects about planning an auction is finding a way to engage a wide range of clientele, from the novice collector to the seasoned bidder with extensive knowledge and experience.” The collection included important pieces by photographers Cindy Sherman; Imogen Cunningham; Louise Dahl-Wolfe; Berenice Abbott; Carrie Mae Weems and Sally Mann. “Offering the photographs together as a single-owner sale meant that they were presented in context,” said Pflieger. “This provided Avon the chance to publicly present the collection which they had worked so hard to create, and in turn, it gave bidders a chance to take home artwork with a very special provenance.”
The Collection of Historic USS Constitution Colors of H. Richard Dietrich, Jr.
"Working with Freeman’s throughout this whole effort has been a pleasure. Freeman’s did a great job showcasing the inspiring story of the flags; their hard work was evident at every stage."
- H. Richard Dietrich, III
H. Richard Dietrich, Jr. was a great philanthropist and collector of his time, committed to the preservation of American art. His ambition to preserve American history through material culture, combined with Dietrich’s lifelong passion for the sea, secured the survival of historically significant naval flags from an iconic American ship, the USS Constitution; testaments to American pride, patriotism and preservation spanning six decades, they were in private hands for over 150 years. The collection included some of the earliest known, significant patterns of US naval flags. Two featured items included 31-star United States Ensign of the USS Constitution (1851-1858) and an early US Commodore’s Broad Pennant. The uniqueness and historical significance of the collection generated excitement and interest from new and veteran collectors, both nationally and internationally. A short-form film was produced by Freeman’s to share with clients and the collection received significant press in The New York Times and prominent American art and antiques magazines. Highlights from the collection travelled to invitation-only events from Annapolis to Newport and the flags came home to Freeman’s for the final public exhibition and champagne reception attended by the Dietrich family with opening remarks by H. Richard Dietrich, III. One-hundred percent of the USS Constitution Colors sold at auction; the 11flags and a cannonball established 12 records. “In my fifty years here at Freeman’s, this is one of the, if not the, most historic sale Freeman’s has ever hosted," shared Chairman Samuel M. "Beau" Freeman, II.
The Estate of Nancy du Pont Reynolds Cooch
"'Winter Corn Fields' by Andrew Wyeth, like much of the best art it succeeds in both being of its time as well as transcending it."
Vice Chairman Alasdair Nichol
At her Foxwood estate in Greenville, Delaware, Nancy du Pont Reynolds Cooch spent a long life creating fine sculpture, raising her children, entertaining friends, and pursuing her antique collecting interests, from early American glass flasks to rare French wine. Committed to her community, she found time to serve numerous children’s charities, museums, and institutions throughout the region. A childhood friend of Andrew Wyeth, Mrs. Cooch appointed her home with his paintings, and cherished his personalized Christmas cards to her family. An avid fisherman, equestrian and hunter, her Foxwood home reflected her many interests and hobbies, with shotgun shells tucked away discretely underneath a superlative collection of Delftware pottery, and prized fishing rods hung on walls like fine paintings. As a member of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin Clos de Vougeot in Bourgogne, she frequently entertained fellow wine lovers from the U.S and Europe, drawing from her impressive wine cellar. As an artist, Nancy du Pont Reynolds Cooch pioneered sculpting in the modern medium of Lucite, and also worked in bronze. Over her lifetime her works were exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC, the National Sculpture League in New York City, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in numerous regional venues.
Highlights from this fine estate include "Winter Corn Fields" by Andrew Wyeth, which brought $1,145,000, and the only known copy of a treatise on the first principles of democratic government, the Memoire pour les républiques équinoxiale by Pierre Samuel duPont de Nemours, which sold for $26,250.
The Forbes Family Collection of Walter Steumpfig Paintings
"Whether landscape, still life or figural, Stuempfig’s work evokes a sense of loneliness a moody atmosphere not unlike that of the paintings of his fellow Pennsylvania Academician of the previous century, Thomas Eakins."
- Christopher Forbes, Vice Chairman, Forbes Inc.
Collected by art enthusiast and business man Malcolm Forbes, and then later added to by his family, Freeman’s offered 59 paintings by artist Walter Steumpfig from the collection of the Forbes family. The collection was sold as a part of Freeman’s inaugural American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists sale in a standing-room-only setting. In his landscapes, still lives and figural works, Steumpfig evokes a sense of loneliness. A native of Philadelphia and an instructor at the illustrious Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, this outstanding collection brought national attention to a local artist. Several of the paintings were acquired by the Woodmere Art Museum.
The George D. Horst Collection of Fine Art
"This type of collection is an auctioneer’s perfect storm. The paintings are in excellent condition with a great provenance and have been hanging undisturbed in Horst’s gallery for decades. As we say in the UK, ‘it’s been preserved in aspic.'"
- Freeman's Vice Chairman Alasdair Nichol
The painting collection amassed by Pennsylvania businessman George D. Horst hung in a custom built gallery on his estate, unseen by the public for nearly a century. An immigrant from Germany, the American and European paintings in the collection reflect Horst’s dual identity. A major source of American art for Horst was the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the oldest art school and museum in the US. Known for producing many talented and influential American artists, PAFA’s annual exhibitions provided students and graduates with the opportunity to present the best examples of their work, which in turn, drew collectors like Horst. Daniel Garber’s painting entitled “Glen Cuttaloosa” was acquired by Horst during the 1926 exhibition, one year after it was completed. Horst was also partial to Pennsylvania Impressionists such as Fred Wagner, Edward Willis Redfield, and William Lathrop as well as American artists known as “The Ten” such as Childe Hassam and Frank Weston Benson. Among the European painters in the collection, well-known predecessors of Impressionism like Barbizon artists Eugène Boudin and Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, as well as Henri Harpignies, Charles-François Daubigny and Diaz de la Pena were represented. A short-form film was produced by Freeman’s to share with clients and the collection received significant press in The New York Times and prominent American art and European Art magazines. Highlights from the collection travelled to London and Washington, DC for invitation-only events before the full collection was on view at Freeman's Philadelphia headquarters. The auction of The Horst Collection resulted in a 'white glove' sale, with 20 auction records set for the artists represented.
The Labow/Seacat Paperweight Collection
"This sale illustrates the strength of unique, single owner collections in the current antiques and collectibles marketplace. Buyers will still get excited for new material from private sources"
- Douglas Girton
The genesis for this impressive collection of paperweights was the gift of a single paperweight to Mel Seacat in the late 1960s from the sister of his companion Jack Labow. Mr. Seacat was so taken with the beauty of the object presented, he and Mr. Labow spent the next thiry years compiling a collection of paperweights that eventually numbered over six hundred pieces. The collection included noted makers like Baccarat and St. Louis, as well as works by contemporary glass artists like Paul Stankard, Chris Buzzini, and Jim Donofrio.
Of particular interest to collectors who attened the sale were the 60 pieces by contemporary New Jersey glassmaker Paul Stankard, whose 'Botanical Upright Cube with Root People,' the top lot of the day.
The Lehman Brothers & Neuburger Berman Corporate Art Collections
"Freeman's has been an excellent choice for the Lehman art and has generated results that have consistently exceeded expectations."
- Bill Gordon, senior director at Alvarez & Marsal, New York
Lehman Brothers history of collecting art can be traced back to Robert Lehman, whose collection was donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and who installed the Lehman Wing. Freeman’s collection ranged from a large selection of modern and contemporary paintings, prints and drawings, to a smaller group of American and fine European art works; items that once graced the Lehman Brothers’ boardrooms and offices in New York, Boston and Delaware. An opportunity to purchase works from one of the most substantial corporate art collections assembled in the country, the auction drew over 2,000 bidders, resulting in a 100% sold ‘white-glove’ sale that highlighted artists from Roy Lichtenstein and Louis Lozowick to Robert Indiana and Robert Rauschenberg. The success awarded Freeman’s consignments from Lehman Brothers and Neuberger Berman. In 2003, Lehman Brothers acquired Neuberger Berman, and, as a result, integrated the firms’ two corporate art collections. The Neuberger Berman Collection at Freeman’s consisted of over 250 works of art from the London, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco offices. Among these were examples by leading artists of the 20th century, including Robert Mangold, Alex Katz, Sol Lewitt, and Judy Pfaff, as well as examples by artists whose works have become more internationally acclaimed over the last decade, such as Elliot Puckette, Vernon Fisher and Joyce Pensato. Both sales achieved a total that more than doubled the pre-sale estimate.
The Mary Middleton Calhoun Carbaugh Collection of Fine Jewelry
“The giving and receiving of jewelry in our family was special, and it created fond memories for us. These memories are a blessing. Our hope is that the charitable trust, created in memory of our mother, will a blessing for others and reach the needs in our communities and beyond”
- Miller Carbaugh, daughter of Mary Middleton Calhoun Carbaugh
Mary Middleton Calhoun and John Edward Carbaugh met working in the office of Senator Jesse Helms and built a life focused on family and public service. Mary loved jewellery, and her husband, John, delighted in presenting her with fine gems; Inaugural balls and glittering Washington parties were occasions for Mary to wear her collection of patriotic red, white, and blue gems. Mrs Carbaugh’s daughters recalled their mother appreciating jewellery of the highest quality and craftsmanship. True to this family’s patriotism, the collection boasted many great American jewellery makers: diamond-accented brooches by Tiffany & Co.; gold necklaces and bracelets by Black, Starr & Frost and Hammerman Brothers; a tourmaline and pearl pin by Marcus & Co.; and enamel earrings from David Webb. Proceeds from the auction benefitted the Mary Middleton Calhoun Carbaugh Charitable Trust. Freeman’s shared this distinct jewellery collection with an international audience via a travelling exhibition, and through cross-marketing with lifestyle magazines, and corporate partners, as well as Freeman’s own Modern & Contemporary Art department. Previews and private events were held in London, Washington, D.C., Manhattan and Philadelphia’s Main Line. In Washington, D.C., U.S. Trust co-sponsored the evening viewing and the reception in Manhattan featured the enlightening and witty lecture “The British Crown Jewels” by Curt di Camillo, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Society of Jewellery Historians.
The Mi Chou Gallery Collection
"The Mi Chou Gallery created an important 'beach head' in America by introducing classical and contemporary Chinese art and its talented artists - its historic significance cannot be underestimated in today's art market."
- Freeman's Asian Arts department head Richard Cervantes
Sixty years after the famous Mi Chou Gallery opened its doors, Freeman’s offered works from their outstanding collection spanning over two hundred years of Chinese art. Featuring works in ink by Chen Chi-Kwan, an artist whose celebrated career made its start at Mi Chou, the pieces in this collection illustrated the rich cultural and artistic history of the gallery.
The paintings in this Madison Avenue collection brought much interest and competitive bidding. Seven contemporary works combining traditional Chinese painting with uniquely Western perspectives by Chen Qikuan from the collection achieved a combined $359,750. Other paintings by Chen Qikuan achieved impressive results; “Moonlight at Jade Tower” dated 1961 ($99,750); “School of Shrimps” dated 1964 ($75,000); “Moonlight Through Bamboo” dated1962 ($68,750); and “Remnant Lake” (Lake Towanda, Japan) dated 1960 ($68,750) soared past their initial estimates of $7,000-10,000 to achieve impressive results.
The Mount Saint Alphonsus Seminary Library
"It was our privilege to offer this previously all-but hidden American collection of early European printed books and manuscripts so richly illuminating our 15th and 16th century heritage."
- Freeman's Books, Maps & Manuscripts department head David Bloom
Mount Saint Alphonsus, a former Redemptorist seminary, and, subsequently, a retreat in New York State, closed its campus in 2012. Freeman’s was selected to sell over 4,000 volumes from the seminary’s library, a hidden treasure trove of early European printed books and manuscripts.
The collection for sale at Freeman’s included 180 15th & 16th century printings, including an edition from 1500 of Saint Bridget’s Revelations in German, with colored woodcuts attributed to Albrecht Dürer, printed by Anton Koberger. Featuring topics from Astrology and Astronomy to Mineralogy, and a “rather disturbing” lot entitled “The hammer of the witches.” Freeman’s book specialist and department head David Bloom said before the sales began; “It is our privilege to offer this previously all but hidden American collection of early European printed books and manuscripts so richly illuminating our 15th and 16th century heritage.” The sale of collection contents, which spanned into 2013, was valued at $700,000 before auction. Amongst a few interesting early items in the collection: an astronomy and astrology book from 1555, “On Judging the Stars”; a rare mineralogy book, “De Mineralibus Libri Quinque,” dating from 1519; and, dating from 1474, a copy of Ludolphus de Saxonia, Vita Christi [Life of Christ].
The Stevenson Easby Collection
“It’s wonderful to present these significant objects. These items belonged to extraordinary citizens of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and America, and soon that legacy will be inherited by the new buyer.”
- Freeman's Senior Vice President Lynda Cain
A legacy of American history told in a remarkable collection of 18th century antiques, the Stevenson Easby collection from a Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia estate realized impressive results at auction. Collector George Gordon Meade Easby was the descendant of many of Philadelphia’s most powerful merchant families, including several signers of the Declaration of Independence. The collection included a rare pair of Classical gilded cornucopia wall brackets; Federal carved mahogany chairs attributed to Ephraim Haines or Henry Connelly, as well as a variety of Philadelphia silver, Chinese export porcelain, rare books and manuscripts. A highlight at Freeman’s April 2010 American Furniture, Decorative & Folk Art Auction was the selling of a carved mahogany embossed leather Campeche chair from the estate, dating from the early 19th century; 15 phone bidders and many in house bidders competed for the chair before it was sold for $70,000. Also successfully sold from the estate were a set of six walnut Chippendale side chairs that realized $121,000.
The Wolman Collection of Classical Scores
"It's like a time machine."
- David Wolman
The impressive classical-music collection of David Wolman was comprised over a decade's work, comprised of more than 450 scores, manuscripts, books and illustrations. The collection included an edition of Mozart's very early "Four Sonatas for the Harpsichord with Accompaniment for a Violin." Mozart composed these sonatas when he was just seven. His father published the works himself in Paris in 1764 and soon thereafter prepared an edition for sale in London using the same plates. Handwritten corrections in Wolman's copy, apparently by Leopold Mozart, correspond to revisions in the Paris issue. Wolman's collection also included first edition scores of Beethoven's Fouth, Fifth and Sixth Symphonies and well as a previously undiscovered work by Sir Arthur Sullivan.