The Jim Norman Annual Veteran’s Day Auction was held in the small northern Alabama town of Hartselle, Alabama. You wouldn’t expect to find such an extensive offering of outstanding porcelain and cut glass in this small town. But this auction house has been in business for over forty-two years, and is well known for offering the contents of fine estates from throughout the southeast. This auction featured the estate of Ewell and Jackie Garrett of Sapulpa, Oklahoma who had originally lived in this area. An interesting side note, the majority of this fine collection had been purchased at previous Jim Norman auctions. Their estate featured huge collections of Nippon, Moriage, Limoges, and cut glass which they had acquired over a forty year period. Also included were some fine pieces of Victorian and walnut furniture, as well as several wonderful clocks. The crowd was not as large as the Labor Day Auction, but it attracted buyers from as far away as California and New York, with no internet or phone bids accepted.
Mrs. Garrett loved chocolate sets and over forty sets were offered. The most unusual set also had a luncheon set with it. But what made the set so unique was each cup was attached to its saucer and also had a lid. I had never seen cups with their individual lids. The set brought $1550. There was no buyers premium, which is quite unusual today. That is especially true for an auction of this quality. The remainder of the chocolate sets which came in every color and decoration imaginable, brought prices ranging from $90 to $650. I got tickled when one of the last sets went up, Jim Norman said, this isn’t the same quality as the other sets, being semi porcelain instead of porcelain, “I don’t know if you can even get an opening bid on this one.” Also, later in the auction when the bidding had reached $2500 on a Victorian bookcase, he stopped the bidding and said, “You’ve bid enough on this $2,000 bookcase.” He did the same thing on another piece later. He has done this at some of his other auctions. I appreciate auctioneers who go out of their way to run an honest auction and try to point out every flaw and warn you not to bid if you don’t know what you are bidding on.
A Tiffany Bracket Clock realized the highest hammer price of the day, $5,500. The clock measuring 20” by 16” was made in 1882 and was made “by” Tiffany, rather than “for” Tiffany. A French Dore Bronze clock signed, Paris, France and Deniere measuring 24” high and 18”wide brought $2500. An unusual key wind pocket watch with Reuge musical automation, “The Fountain” in presentation box brought $1050. An identical watch sold on eBay the day before for $2805.
Mrs. Garrett must have been very fond of roses because many of the Nippon pieces featured roses. The number of Nippon pieces was too numerous to count. A beautiful footed Nippon bowl, featuring what else, roses with gold trim brought $3,500. Norman sold the piece to the Garrett’s in 1971 for $375. Several times during the auction it was mentioned that in this depressed economy, antiques could be a better investment than what the banks are paying you. A beautiful 12” Nippon vase, again decorated with roses and gold trim went for $900, the same as a large, 11” Limoges jardinière. The many other pieces of Nippon brought on the low end of $125 up to $600.
Highlighting the selection of Victorian furniture was a rosewood cylinder roll top desk from a New York maker. It had two mirrored doors above the roll top and a secret compartment on top. It had its original finish, c1850 and the hammer price was $4250. A two piece walnut bedroom set with a 104” tall bed and matching marble top dresser brought only $2,000. There was a very unique 91” tall hat rack with a base of four carved dolphins and each of the six carved hooks were large goose necks that had a final bid of $3,000. A pair of twentieth century matching corner cabinets brought $3,500. A fabulous set of eight Dutch marquetry inlay chairs brought $1,800 late in the auction. There were several outstanding Victorian walnut marble top tables. The most expensive was made by Brooks and came in at $2000. An oversized Victorian rosewood sofa with recent upholstery sold for $2,500 and a large walnut upholstered arm chair made $950. Norman originally sold the chair to the Garretts in the 70’s for $900.
There were well over fifty pieces of Nippon Moriage pieces offered in this sale. Prices ranged from $500 on the high end for a two handled vase to $75 on the low end for a couple of small pieces. Norman said the Garretts literally had full walls of built in cabinets to display these enormous collections of porcelain and glass. There were several pieces of outstanding brilliant cut glass, some with sterling rims and bases. There were several pairs of cut glass lusters, one set featuring Moser tops brought $800. A brilliant cut glass 12” fruit bowl on a base sold for $750. A pair of three tiered cut glass candlesticks with prisms brought $850. An unusual eggnog ladle with a cut glass handle went for $105.
There were several other outstanding pieces in this auction, really too many to mention. I loved the two matching 13” Belleek vases with a highly collectible black mark that brought $500. A working Swiss bird cage music box with two birds had a hammer price of $375. A large mid Victorian carved footstool with horse hoof feet sold for $800. And finally a beautiful 24” wall mirror with gold leaf over wood frame sold for $600.
The auction ran longer than expected with such a large selection of smalls. There were many items that did not sell even after they gave everyone a chance to bring up any items that had not sold. So there is a good start on their next auction with no scheduled date.