Samuel Gottschall and his brothers, Jacob and Martin, all the sons of an 18th-century Mennonite bishop, were schoolmasters but also experts in the fraktur field, according to Willard McKay, who catalogued the sale for the auction company. ``They usually sold the fraktur birth certificates,'' McKay said yesterday, ``but gave out others as awards to favored students.''
Their significance as folk art today is reflected in the use of a Gott-schall fraktur as the poster for the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Pennsylvania German exhibition a decade or so ago. The one to be sold at the Thursday auction, which begins at 9 a.m. at the Alderfer Auction Center, 501 Fairgrounds Rd., Hatfield, was probably done for a favored niece or nephew, since Samuel never married, and descended in the family to the present consignor.
Approximately 8 by 12 inches, it depicts two standing women in blue-green dresses and four hearts, the largest of which contains a sonnetlike poem comparing youth to the month of May and its inevitable transition to autumn and old age.
Hardly a novel sentiment, but in this case a valuable one.
Five-figure prices are also expected for some of the paintings, including a Florida scene by Ben Austrian pictured in the American Art Analog, a matched pair of lanscapes by Edmund Darch Lewis, and an early Fern I. Coppedge depicting a creek and a distant farm. Other local artists in the sale include Walter Baum, Christopher Shearer, Antonio Martino, and Ranulph Bye.
Also of interest are a half-dozen or more works by the Bucks County illustrator Charles Hargens, including a cowboy in a nightshirt. There also are two pencil-sketch groups by Milton Caniff, creator of Terry and the Pirates.
The sale also features good Oriental carpets and decorative objects. There is some furniture, including an early 19th-century decorated tall-case clock from Northampton County.
Inspection is from 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the auction center. For more information, call 215-393-3000.
COLLECTIBLES AND QUILTS. The Penn View Christian School will wind up its spring auction today with two special sessions at the school's Christopher Dock campus, 1000 Forty-Foot Rd., Lansdale. The 11 a.m. session will feature a large collection of limited-edition model trucks, including more than 50 Winross trucks representing local businesses such as Herr's and Wampler/Longacre foods.
At 1 p.m., more than 40 quilts, many of them locally made, will be offered. The session today will begin at 9 a.m. with a general auction sale. For more information, call 215-723-1196.