Philadelphia-area auctions offer the bizarre and the distinctive

Kamelot's auction catalog characterizes this antique horn-and-brass dresser, smoke or pen stand as "bizarre." With it will be sold several other items.
Kamelot's auction catalog characterizes this antique horn-and-brass dresser, smoke or pen stand as "bizarre." With it will be sold several other items.
Posted: June 09, 2012

In the online catalog for its "town and country" sale Saturday, Kamelot Auctions candidly describes one of the 800 lots to be offered as "bizarre." While not going to that extreme in their sales descriptions, at least three other auction houses will offer items over the next few days that could be called "distinctive."

Kamelot’s explicitly bizarre item is "an antique horn-and-brass dresser, smoke or pen stand," about 11 by 13 inches, with what appears to be a small mirror hung between the two horns. With a presale price estimate of $200 to $400, it is one of the auction’s most affordable items.

Several other cheaper lots in the sale, starting at 10 a.m. at the gallery in the 4700 Wissahickon Ave. business complex, could also rate the term. One consists of 58 small silver-plate salt cellars in the shape of baby cradles trimmed in pink to denote girls and another lot of 45 similar salts trimmed with blue for boys, each with a presale estimate of $200 to $300.

A set of four fur patchwork stools has a presale estimate of $200 to $400. And a vintage Asian burlap prison suit consisting of a jacket, pants, and cap for convict "25" should bring $100 to $300.

To be sure, the sale primarily offers the 20th-century furniture and design, lighting, and architectural items for which Kamelot is noted, beginning with 100 lots of art deco furniture, followed by 1950s styles, including Jansen and other well-known designer names.

Among them: a circa 1940 bowfront French armoire with mother-of-pearl inlays and bronze-mounted columns ($1,500 to $3,000); a 1930 art deco chrome bed ($400 to $600); a step-shaped art deco bookcase ($500 to $4,800); an art nouveau-style newel post lamp with a stained glass fishbowl shade ($400 to $800); and an early, circa 1952, Eames storage unit (one of three to be offered) with sliding doors, open shelves, and 11 drawers ($8,000 to $12,000).

Garden statuary, also a Kamelot fixture, includes a bronze of two children playing with a ladder ($600 to $900) and a pair of Centennial Philadelphia Robert Wood cast iron life-size standing lions that were originally in front of the old Broadwood Hotel, later the Philadelphia Athletic Club. They have a presale estimate of $15,000 to $25,000.

The auction’s top presale estimate is for one of the pieces of artwork — Quiet Village, an oil-on-masonite panel done around 1961 by Anna "Grandma" Moses, which is expected to bring $50,000 to $70,000.

Previews: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. For further information, call 215-438-6990. To view the catalog, go to

Vuitton luggage in Glenmoore.   Also on Saturday in the suburbs, Wiederseim Associates will offer antique and decorative furniture, accessories, silver, paintings, prints, clocks, and coins beginning at 9 a.m. at the Ludwig’s Corner firehouse, 1325 N. Pottstown Pike, Glenmoore. Among distinctive items in the sale are a half-dozen lots of Vuitton luggage, including suitcases and a garment bag, most of which have presale estimates of $1,000 to $1,500. Vuitton luggage is very much in demand these days, Ted Wiederseim said this week.

Other distinctive items include a bronze statue of a recumbent cow titled Mrs. Gratz, by the contemporary local sculptor J. Clayton Bright ($1,000 to $1,500), and a number of paintings. Three watercolor-on ivory portraits of three members of the McIlvaine family, William, Mary, and Margaret Shippen McIlvaine, have presale estimates of $2,000 to $2,500 each; an oil-on-canvas portrait of a gentleman by Francis Martin Drexel (1792-1863), who was not only a painter but also the founder of the Drexel & Co. brokerage house here, should bring $2,000 to $3,000.

The auction also includes gold coins, mostly $20 pieces; military medals; and a limited-edition commemorative sword for Queen Elizabeth II’s 1977 silver jubilee ($700 to $900).

Previews: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. to sale time Saturday. For further information, call 610-827-1910 or go to

Art at Alderfer’s.   Beginning at noon Thursday at its gallery in Hatfield, Alderfer Auction & Appraisal will offer more than 350 lots of fine and decorative arts online at They include an N.C. Wyeth pencil drawing, Last of the Mohicans, and two Andrew Wyeth pen and ink works on paper, Revolutionary War General and Scrooge, with presale estimates of $8,000 to $10,000 for the three. Also included is a limited-edition book, Andrew Wyeth, by Richard Meryman, with an original watercolor by Wyeth of Kerner Farm, which should bring $40,000 to $60,000.

Clouds of Evening, 1926, by George W. Sotter, has a presale estimate of $60,000 to $80,000; a Le Merle-Charpentier & Co. figural mantel clock should bring $20,000 to $30,000; and Le Coq, a bronze sculpture by Emile Gilioli, has a presale estimate of $5,000 to $10,000.

The sale also has items bordering on the bizarre. Artwork includes four Magiscope statues made by Feliciano Bejar out of steel, cut crystal, and automotive parts that distort the views behind them, with each expected to bring around $2,000. For would-be fortune tellers, there are a porcelain phrenology head ($400 to $600) and a porcelain palm-reading guide ($100 to $300).

By the way, beginning at 6 p.m. Friday and resuming at 9 a.m. Saturday, Alderfer will offer the 700-lot Americana collection of the late Charles H. Hoeflich at a sale to benefit area charities.

Previews: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday for the Hoeflich sale. Previews for Alderfer’s art sale are 8 a.m. to noon Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday at the gallery at 501 Fairgrounds Rd. For further information, call 215-393-3023.

Also on Thursday, beginning at 10 a.m. at the gallery at 2501 E. Ontario St., Barry S. Slosberg will hold its last Quality Auction before its summer break. Among the 700 lots will be items from the estate of Richard Baxter Moore, who with his father, Lewis Tanner Moore (both related to Henry Ossawa Tanner), ran a family law practice that catered to the African American business community. The distinctive piece there is a finely carved late-19th-century partner’s desk that was the office centerpiece.

Previews: noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m. to sale time Thursday. For further information, call 215-425-7030 or go to

Contact David Iams at

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