top of page

Bunch Auctions Annual Spring Sale Nets Over $400,000

Bunch Auctions Annual Spring Sale Highlight: Silas Weir Lewis supercargo logs from Philadelphia to China

Chadds Ford, PA—Bunch Auctions held its annual Spring Catalog Sale over two days on April 25-26. Between the two sessions, the sale grossed over $400,000.

The first day featured over 300 lots of fine art and works on paper. The day opened with a number of works by Bucks County Impressionist Helena Beacham. The painter’s patient observance of her sitters and subjects creates a prevailing sense of solitude, which contrasts her bold, Fauvist use of color. Her typical subjects include mothers and children, as well as animals; themes she revisits across a variety of mediums—oil paintings, watercolors, sculptures, and graphite sketches. More pieces from this dynamic artist will be featured in the June Catalog sale. The Beacham estate works were immediately followed by important works from the collection of Anna Brelsford McCoy. The group was primarily composed of watercolors of landscapes and people dear to the Wyeth family, including scenes of Chadds Ford, Maine, and New Mexico. Other local artist were featured from this collection as well, including Jon Redmond and Mary Page Evans.

The art sale heated up as it transitioned to 19th century landscapes and portraiture. The auctioneer adeptly managed the competitive and eager bidding between floor, online, and phone bidders. American artists were particularly in demand, including Henry Spread ($1,600), Howard Russell Butler ($1,400), and Edward Charles Volkert ($2,100). This streak concluded with a dramatic sunset scene by California Impressionist George Demont Otis, which grossed $4,250. Portraits including a fine self-portrait by the Scottish painter Sir David Wilkie ($900), and of a Russian duke ($3,250) were also eagerly sought after by collectors. The sale progressed with more modern works by illustrators such as Henry James Soulen ($6,500) as well as a fine collection of works on paper including signed pieces by Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dali, and Alexander Calder.

The second day of the sale proved to be a marathon; lasting nearly 9 hours and presenting 690 lots of fine decorative arts, collectibles, and books. The eclectic sale presented some of the finest examples of the consistent, quality consignments Bunch Auctions receives. The room was abuzz with previewers and eager buyers when the first lot went up at 11 AM; robust bidding on over 60 antique and modern carpets proved to be a strong start to the sale. Silver was the next major category and prices were bolstered by the heated competition in the room. However, the market proved its continued devotion to name brand designers and retailers, including Cartier, Tiffany, Wallace, Baily, Banks & Biddle.

Early Philadelphia design stole the show in the furniture category, which spanned styles and origins. A shaving mirror with the original John Elliott label brought $750; complementing a rail back Windsor ($1500). The Federal and Sheraton aesthetic was also favored by buyers. Asian furniture far exceeded its presale estimates and generated consistent bidding on all platforms. Korean tonsus and Chinese medicine cabinets brought as much as $7,000. Rounding out the category was the most anticipated lot of the day; a painted Dentzel carousel rooster. The piece merited such attention for its rarity, condition, and precedence at auction. Interested buyers brought the final hammer to $75,000.

Decorative arts, including glass and porcelain followed. There were a few surprises, such as an early mechanical cat toy that sold for $2,000 {est. 4/800} and a pair of olive green glass bottles for $1,200 {est. 3/500}. The category was punctuated with runs of early baseball collectibles, primarily comprised of 1920s and 1950s era baseball cards, but also featured two New York Yankees signed balls—a 1960 team signed and a 1953 spring training ball.

Many of the early American pieces came from the prestigious collection of Irwin & Anita Schorsch from their residence at Hidden Glenn Farm. Items from the estate spanned many categories including fraktur, samplers, miniatures, furniture, and lighting. Buyers were eager to own objects with this distinguished provenance. Some of the sale highlights from the Schorsch estate included a Pennsylvania redware dog ($2,100), an early Zsolnay iridescent pottery duck sculpture ($1,700), and a circa 1770-80 Chinoiserie decorated English tall case clock with movement by James Cotton ($1,800)

The sale also showcased a large collection of fine novels and reference books primarily from a Main Line estate. Buyers revealed their interest in the sundry titles and themes. The category opened with a rare publication of the Album Pintoresco de la Isla de Cuba, ($1,900). Some of the most sought after lots included German-language references on Chinese decorative arts. The true highlight was the archive of Silas Weir Lewis, a Philadelphia merchant of the early 19th century, including his accounts and logs as supercargo on several voyages between Philadelphia and Canton. These fascinating primary documents detail the vital trade of tea, silk, and cochineal with China in early American history. The significance of these primary experiences was not lost on historians, dealers, and enthusiasts. An online bidder opened the lot at over twice its high estimate and after persistent bidding, it hammered down at $25,000. Other lots of S. Lewis Weir included his early cyphering books as well as diaries and consular documents from his extensive world travels.

Completing the day was the Asian decorative arts category, spanning porcelain, pottery, jade, embroideries, and Japanese woodblock prints. This final run witnessed primarily online participation. Early successes included a cloisonné censer ($4,750) and a gilt bronze and cloisonné elephant with stand ($8,500). Later in the sale featured a pair of rarely seen Nanking pattern fruit coolers ($4,750) and a Tang-style sanchi glaze temple lion which brought $1,600.

Bunch Auctions invites you to a complete, fully illustrated catalog with sales results on their newly released website at


Media Alert: A complete, fully illustrated catalog with sales results is available to view at

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Pinterest Social Icon
  • Yelp Social Icon
bottom of page