DENVER, Pa .– On January 16, Morphy Auctions will launch its 2020 list of premier gallery events with the sale of 220 lots from an extraordinary Pennsylvania collection. Dubbed “The Susquehanna Collection,” the unique assemblage of furniture, decorative and fine art, Kentucky long guns, powder horns and accessories was artfully amassed by a private collector on a period of 40 years. Its contents are a testament to the pride and incomparable level of craftsmanship that characterizes 18th and 19th century firearms, furniture and everyday objects produced in the low-lying settlements along the Susquehanna River, in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York.
“There is no equal for the quality of the arts and crafts that have emerged in the Susquehanna area,” said Morphy Auctions president Dan Morphy. “From gunsmiths to cabinet makers, the bar was set very high. They used uncompromising Old World standards and techniques as the basis for their uniquely American designs. This collection is a timeless showcase of what these talented artists and artisans have produced, as well as other family treasures imported from Europe.
One would have to search long and hard to find 18th century flintlock pistols more beautiful or of more illustrious provenance than a particular pair to be auctioned by Morphy’s. Manufactured circa 1770-1780, the silver mounted pistols are signed “Swietzer” and are attributed to a locksmith from Lancaster, Pa., Who died in 1788 but appeared on the local tax rolls as early as 1760. The pistols were previously in John’s collections. S. duMont and Joe Kindig Jr, and have been featured in several publications. In addition, they have been exhibited by the York (Pa.) Historical Society. With a large archive of supporting ephemera, the firearms are estimated at between $ 50,000 and $ 100,000.
Another exceptional pair of flintlock pistols are from the American Revolutionary War period, each weapon dated and marked for its original owner, “Robert Roberts 1775”. Roberts served in the militia and participated in several engagements in Maryland, as well as the Battles of Brandywine and Germantown in Pennsylvania. Although owned by RH Coleman, president of Remington Arms Co., the pistols were featured in the July 1972 issue of The American rifleman. Accompanied by abundant documentation, photos, letters from previous owners and sales receipts dating as far back as 1950, the coveted guns are estimated at between $ 50,000 and $ 100,000.
Perhaps the best long arm in the collection, an exceptional Kentucky flintlock rifle with the Pennsylvania State Seal on its patch box is attributed to Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876), who has been described by connoisseurs weapons as being in a class of its own. Kuntz was born in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania and trained in Allentown. While the Susquehanna Collection rifle was made during Kuntz’s time in Philadelphia, its design exhibits many of Lehigh’s characteristics. “This rifle is without a doubt one of the best Kuntz ever made. There will definitely be competition for this one, ”Morphy noted. The presale estimate is $ 40,000 to $ 60,000.
Frietrich Leppert’s Germanic folk art is abundantly displayed on a 1782 New York powder horn with detailed images of a man smoking a long pipe, a Georgian house, flora and foliage; and an inscription in German which translates into a soldier’s prayer before battle. The names of Leppert and another militiaman named “Schreibber” appear on the horn. The Tryon County, NY Revolutionary War List confirms that both were members of the Camp Bell regiment and taken prisoners of war. An example of a well-documented book, the horn is sold at auction with an estimate of $ 25,000 to $ 50,000.
During the American Colonial period, the hallmark of an upscale residence in Pennsylvania would have been interior decor featuring Philadelphia mahogany furniture, like the elegant Queen Anne dressing table from around 1750 valued at between $ 30,000 and $ 50,000. The cabriole legs are richly carved with a motif of shells and bellflowers, a work attributed to Samuel Harding’s shop. The secondary woods are poplar and cedar, and all brasses appear to be original. Another superb Philadelphia production, a Chippendale mahogany game table with turret corners and ball legs and claws dates from around 1770-1775. A very rare survivor of exceptional form, he could reach $ 20,000 to $ 40,000 at auction. Both tables have a provenance that includes Joe Kindig Antiques, a legendary multigenerational company specializing in central Pennsylvania established in 1934.
An extremely rare neoclassical brass and gilt bronze mantel clock would have been highly prized in any early 19th century American home. Made by Dubuc (Paris) for the American market, it figuratively represents George Washington standing next to a monument topped by an American eagle. Under the signed enamel dial of the clock, the caption reads: “Washington first at war, first at peace, first in the hearts of its compatriots”. Many surviving examples of this particular model go unsigned, which makes the one offered by Morphy’s even more desirable. Estimate: $ 40,000- $ 80,000
In addition to the 18th and 19th century objects in the collection, there are important earlier pieces, including a beautiful and rare Maximilian armor from the early 16th century. It is similar to an example that appears in Weapons and Men: Arms and Armor at the Metropolitan 1912-2012 (published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art) and has a long line of distinguished provenance. In the early 1920s, the costume was assembled by Dr Bashford Dean, first president of the Arms & Armor Society and first curator of the Arms & Armor Gallery at the Met. Dr. Dean used period elements in the assembly of the armor, including components from the collections of Carl, Prince of Prussia; and the Radziwill princes, Nieswiez Castle, Lithuania. Both imposing and extremely attractive, the 75-inch armored suit is expected to fetch $ 75,000 to $ 150,000 at auction.
The auction for Morphy’s Susquehanna Collection on January 16, 2020 will begin at 10 a.m. EST at the company’s gallery in Denver, PA. All forms of auction will be available, including live via the Internet through Morphy Live. Questions: call 877-968-8880 or email [email protected] In line: www.morphyauctions.com.