Thursday, November 12, 2015

Glass from the Liverant Collection

GII-2 three-mold geometric inkwell, Coventry Glass Works.
The late Phil Liverant of Colchester, Connecticut was a respected collector of New England antiques of all kinds. Among other things, he had an impressive stash of early glass, composed in large part of Connecticut or probably Connecticut pieces. Late in October, on a stormy but unseasonably warm night, the first of three estate sales from the Liverant collection was held, possibly including the best of the bottles. A virtual who's who of New England glass collectors was in attendance, so there weren't any great bargains to be had; one described the bidding situation as "challenging." However, it was a pleasure just to see and handle some of the rarer items.

Coventry and Pitkin Glass Works flasks. GII-70 and GII-71 eagles, GVIII-18 and GVIII-5 sunbursts, two GIII-4 cornucopia/urns.
 Some excellent figured flasks were on offer, most in superb condition and a few with much stronger impressions than are usual for their molds. The pint Coventry eagle, for example, is a common bottle, but most specimens are so "whittled" that the eagles look like they've been dipped in batter and deep-fried. The mold impression here, though, is really crisp and detailed. The best of the flasks was the GVIII-5 Pitkin sunburst, in a clear olive green color and also with a very clean mold impression. McKearin and Wilson list this flask as common, but it seems to actually be fairly rare. There was some chatter during the preview about a foreign substance, possibly epoxy, on the lip that showed up under ultraviolet light, but this looked like a superficial spill of something to me, not a repair. Apparently, other bidders came to the same conclusion, and the bottle sold for over $3000.

Free blown globular bottles, less than two inches to about four inches high.
The October Liverant sale included four miniature globular bottles. One tiny bottle, less than two inches tall, is an especially rare thing. It was sold as part of the lot of three pictured above, and the grouping went for over $3000, despite including one bottle with a severely damaged lip, which would have been of very little value to a collector on its own. The attribution of free blown glass is an inherently dubious business, but these small bottles in light yellow olive colors, from an older eastern Connecticut collection, probably have a better chance than most of tracing back to Pitkin, Mather, Glastenbury or Coventry.

Open pontil of miniature globular bottle, ~1.8 inches tall. 

Pattern molded Pitkin-type salt cellar, two inches in diameter, dark olive-green.
One more object was the subject of intense interest from the antique glass crowd at the auction: a small salt cellar with faint Pitkin-type pattern molded ribbing, swirled to the left. This sort of blown glass is extremely rare; one long-time collector said that he had tried but failed to purchase this salt cellar from Phil Liverant years ago. It finally sold for about $2500, which was less than some people had predicted.

Pontiled base of the Pitkin-type salt cellar.