Monday, October 26, 2015

Heckler's Autumn Auctions

Norman C. Heckler & Co., October 2015.
The Norman C. Heckler & Co. auction house recently held one of their very occasional invitation-only live auctions. It was a beautiful autumn day for it, a bit on the cool side but with plenty of sun. It was peak fall foliage season for the sugar maples around the historic farm where Heckler's is located.

Norman Heckler Sr. lays down the law on auction rules.
The turnout at the auction was pretty high, with maybe 60-70 bidders. I'm not sure what the criteria for getting an invitation were, but I suspect it was more or less "had registered for a live auction within the past couple of years." The format was similar to other live auctions I've attended, with about 130 lots, ranging from giant table lots of flea market fodder to single bottles. Most lots probably went for a couple of hundred dollars, with one large group of 19th century soda bottles fetching about $1700. 

GII-62 Willington Glass Co. eagle, pint flask.
The selection of old Connecticut glass was a bit limited compared to typical Heckler sales. There were several different Willington eagle flasks, including the nice GII-62 above, which was tempting. The Pitkin-type flask below was an odd one, described as Midwestern by the auctioneers because of the color and relatively rounded, broad shoulders. The overall tall, skinny oval form is a little suggestive of New England Pitkins, however, with Midwestern examples tending to be closer to round. It's also worth noting that there is good evidence from glass works excavations and the distribution of 20th century bottle finds that what collectors call "Midwestern Pitkins" actually were made at very early Mid-Atlantic factories. In any case, this was a lovely old bottle that went for not much money, because of a faint crack in the lip.

Pitkin-type flask, 32 ribs, swirled to the right, pint size, 6 3/4 inches tall.
Heckler's absentee auction preview shed.
Heckler's also had their November absentee auction up for preview. This will be one of their "select" auctions, with bottles that are nice, but generally not quite as fancy as would wind up in a "premier" auction. There were some good items from Connecticut glass houses, as well as some Connecticut/New England items that are difficult to pin down to a specific origin, like a pair of small Pitkin-type flasks, one with very well-defined ribbing and one with very soft, fuzzy pattern-molding. There is an especially large selection of Coventry Glass Works flasks with bolder impressions than are usually seen from their respective molds.

GII-70 Coventry Glass Works eagle pint, in the upcoming autumn absentee auction, as are all the other bottles pictured in the rest of this post.
GI-85 "LaFayette/Covetry/C-T"; liberty cap pint flask.
GV-6 "Success to the Rail Road" Coventry pint flask.
GV-10 "Railroad Lowell" Coventry half-pint flask.
Reversed "Patent" electrical insulator, probably Willington Glass Co.