Just three weeks after the clocks had sprung forward leaving the world a bit groggy but also eager to dive into everything that comes with Spring, Pook & Pook held its first Native American Auction of 2020! While quite a bit has changed in the antique and auction world over the past few weeks, Pook & Pook was as excited as ever to keep the momentum of the spring auction season by offering 362 lots of art, jewelry, pottery, textiles, clothing, weapons, and more. The auction began at 11AM on April 3rd, giving everyone on the West Coast time to climb out of bed and onto their favorite bidding platform. This turned out to be a good strategy since two thirds of the bidders attending the cyber space auction were from west of the Mississippi. As is usual with Pook & Pook’s Online Only sales, there was a variety of offerings sure to suit a plethora of tastes and budgets in the field of ethnographic collecting.
The Friday sale kicked off with a selection of Native American jewelry. A sizeable group consisting of turquoise adorned objects, silver pieces, rings, necklaces, bracelets, belts, and more. Several of the items came from the Collection of Linda & Dennis Moyer of Zionsville, Pennsylvania. While there were numerous surprises amongst the jewelry lots, one in particular stood out. Three vintage southwestern Native American Indian sterling and turquoise bracelets came in well above their $200-300 estimate and realized $1,375. The sale continued with a variety of pottery pieces from all over the Americas. This category was led by a Pueblo jar that brought ten times the high estimate. The 10” jar with polychrome decoration, which also came from The Collection of Linda & Dennis Moyer, brought $4,188. A Zuni Indian pottery vessel, with a classic "deer in his house" motif brought an impressive $3,375. A Margaret Tafoya Santa Clara blackware bowl was fought over by two persistent bidders until finally selling for $850. A large assortment of baskets, beaded bags, Native American clothing, and weapons followed. Textiles included Navajo rugs, Mexican serapes, throws, blankets, clothing, etc. A Navajo third phase chief’s blanket easily covered the $800-1,200 estimate selling for $5,250. A Germantown Navajo textile measuring a whopping 91" x 51" brought $4,188. Other exciting finds in the sale included a Midwestern Native American Indian catlinite smoking pipe measuring 25” long with a stylized bear effigy and conical bowl that brought $2,625 and a Punuk Eskimo fossilized bone figure of a man that brought well over its high estimate coming in at $3,250.
Scattered throughout the sale were consignments from several large estates and private collections. One of the larger estates included in the sale was that of Carleton Thomas. A long-time Philadelphia, Pennsylvania resident, Carleton Thomas (?-1980) had a life-long love of Native American Indian culture. His collection, which was noted on each of the lots, represented various cultures and was likely part of a self-imposed lifelong search of his own suspected ancestry. Unfortunately, Carleton’s mother passed away when he was young, taking with her the secret of his unknown father's identity. In 1917 he joined the United States Army and served in the 4th Division (Ivy Leaf). His Native American Indian collection became a beloved part of family life, especially for his grandchildren, who spent Sunday afternoons visiting their grandfather's "museum”. Objects from this collection were exhibited at West Chester University's Francis Harvey Green Library and the Old Library Building, as well as The Delaware Museum of Natural History. There were a number of stand-outs from this assemblage during the auction. A sheaf of twenty Plains Indian arrows with iron tips struck the bull’s-eye, selling for $4,375, after competitive American and European bidders fought it out. It took a final bid of $2,875 to buy a 22” high Northwest Coast carved and painted totem pole from Thomas’s collection. A Sioux doll with a horse hair wig, which was once displayed at the Delaware Museum of Natural History, danced away to the tune of $1,875. There were two Sioux beaded vests from the collection that wore bidders out by doubling their high estimates, selling for $1,750 and $1,688 respectfully. An impressive Apache awl case was a pleasant surprise, selling for $1,563, and an exceptional pair of Sioux beaded child’s ceremonial moccasins topped out at $1,500, well over the $300-500 estimate. The highpoint of this collection, and the sale, however, was surely the Northwest Coast Indian carved and painted wolf's head, with applied ears, possibly a section of a "frontlet" type headdress, which well exceeded expectations realizing $8,875.
By Pook & Pook, Inc
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