It was all about Indiana at the April 10th Art and Antiques/Discovery auction at Dan Ripley’s Antique Helper in Indianapolis, Indiana. From Old Hickory furniture to Muncie Art Pottery, some of the biggest attractions in this sale were crafted by Hoosier hands. A beautiful spring day did nothing to deter enthusiastic bidders on this sunny Sunday; drawing a record in-house crowd, this sale also garnered international attention via eBay live, telephone and absentee bids, all of whom helped boost sales above the day’s projected high estimate.


A dozen lots of vintage Old Hickory furniture drew a group of collectors passionate about this rustic furniture manufactured in Martinsville. All pieces sold well, ending within, and often above estimate. A daybed, 16” high x 75” long x 67” deep, closed above high estimate at $675, but other items fared even better. A set of two porch bouncy chairs on cantilever metal bases sailed past high estimate of $700, selling for $925, and a lounge settee/day bed exceeded the same high estimate, to close at an impressive $1,450.


A large collection of art pottery, including 58 lots of Muncie Pottery, sold consistently well, with several exceeding high estimate. Most notably, a Muncie Art Pottery wall pocket, shape #266, glazed in gloss brown over brown nearly tripled high estimate of $150, selling for $400. A pair of Muncie Art pottery ash trays, shape #213, with matte green drip over rose glaze also exceeded high estimate of $150, selling for an impressive $425; a pair of Ruba Rombic candle holders, designed by Reuben Haley, shape #305, exceeded high estimate of $250, closing at $475, and a Ruba Rombic vase, also designed by Reuben Haley, shape #310 closed at $425. A Ruba Rombic lamp base with a high estimate of $300 more than doubled that amount, closing for $625, but it was a rare candle wall sconce with a tri-color matte green and blue drip over rose glaze that stole the show, exceeding high estimate of $200 and selling for $950.


Garnering national attention and a bevy of telephone and eBay bids from a host of dentists and collectors, a large collection of vintage dental-related items, including supplies, advertising and equipment, was offered as 26 separate lots, all exceeding high estimate. Of special note was a lot of five antique dental glass medicine and tooth powder bottles (est. $50-$100), selling for $500. A lot of 15 early 1900s through 1940s dental product lithographed tins, equipped with an estimate of $100-$200, easily surpassed expectations, closing at a solid $650, to an enthusiastic telephone bidder.


Pottery, Old Hickory and Dental Supplies aside, there were also plenty of treasures to be had for every kind of collector. Among the treasures was an 18th Century edition of “The Adventures of Captain Gulliver in a Voyage to the Islands of Lilliput and Brobdingnag,” by Jonathon Swift, abridged from “The Works of Celebrated Dean Swift” and printed in New York by W. Durrell, signed by the owner in the front, and dated 1793. Despite approximately 50 missing pages and the last 26 pages out of order, this book exceeded high estimate of $200, selling for $350 to a happy East Coast book collector.

A dozen Semi-Antique Oriental estate rugs and runners sold with strong results as well, frequently exceeding high estimate. A 4.5’ x 9.4’ rug with blue field and red border exceeded high estimate of $800, selling for $1,250, while a semi-antique hand made rug runner, approximately 3’ x 14’ sold for $1,050.

Art offered in this auction included an oil painting by Miles Jefferson Early (American, 1886-?), “Reflections (Fox River),” dated 1954, selling for $650, and an 1892 canvas by Eduardo Galli (Italian, b. 1854) closed at $1,500, to a New York collector. But, a 16” x 20” oil on canvas by well known Texas landscape painter Rolla Sims Taylor (American, 1872-1970) fared even better: “Texas Bluebells,” closed just above high estimate at $2,200.


Antique Helper was pleased to host the auction debut of yet another previously unknown Indiana artist with the sale of works by Zeno Hodge (b. 1896). Living and dying in Rushville, Indiana, Hodge studied at the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis ca. 1917-1918, under the instruction of Hoosier Group artists William Forsythe and Otto Stark, as well as Indiana artist Clifton Wheeler. Hodge was also a graduate of the Correspondence Institute of America and was married to Mary L. Veatch, a graduate of Valparaiso University and an art teacher in Knightstown, Indiana. Five water color paintings from Hodge’s estate were offered, selling with favorable results. Of special note was “Wedding Portrait,” executed in the manner of Harrison Fisher, selling for $325. Another well-executed painting, a water color portrait of Indiana artist Olive Rush, closed at high estimate of $200. But, according to Dan Ripley, while this sale represented a fine introduction to Hodge’s work, the bulk of his oeuvre will be presented in future auctions.


Non-eBay discovery items kept live auction attendees bidding until sunset. Offerings included Fenton glass, large lots of costume jewelry, Royal Doulton figures, and several lots of antique sterling silverware. There was strong competition for some items, including a lot of 33 pieces of John and Pricilla Westmoreland silver, selling for $190, and a bag of Francis silverware selling for $250. A large quilt with butterflies sold for $120, while a red and white quilt with border sold for $225, and a handful of pottery was offered, including a 1915 Charles Todd Rookwood vase, slightly damaged, but still managing $115.