Hutton Loots Cransmore – Part Two
“They’re not salts” said Hutton. “They’re GLASSES. That’s what she said they were.”
“They’re English salts.” I said. “By antiquarian tradition. The sock’s a nice touch.”
“She didn’t have any bubble wrap in a dresser drawer (to wrap his purchases). I didn’t get them in the sock until I had them in the front seat. Lucky I had the sock”.
“How much were the glasses?”
“How much did I pay? Six dollars.” (Silent pause). “HER PRICE!” (Meaning Helen established the prices).
“But only a hundred each maybe”.
Hutton’s salts are quickly explained best using Palmer’s GLASS IN EARLY AMERICA, a well written early American glass reference tome using the Winterthur collection. My photographs show the relevant salt plate page and much of the text. Palmer defines the salt-not salt quandary AND notes the abundant survival of examples that brings us Hutton’s “hundred each” wholesale market price. The total is that for early (1820) blown molded blue glass including color, pattern, pontil, perfect condition, bell tone ring and …appeal… one of these salts is a decorative bargain; a fine example of how “antiques” offer phenomenal quality value for very little money.
By conjecture, Helen would have bought these somewhere along the way in her decades of collecting, probably at an antiques show for probably around sixty dollars each. She probably bought both at the same time although possibly she “paired them up” herself. For Hutton to purloin these from her basement gathering is no surprise for after owning them “for a while” they were “put away down there”. As I said: “Nice”.
We had now completed the unloading of the station wagon. Usual etiquette allows prices to be asked and given as unloading takes place. In this case, with both Hutton and I being experienced dealers and that total load content being of little antiquarian enticement …to either of us for as we both engage near daily “loads like this”… we do not “see” and are not awe struck by “anything” and… we do not need to research anything because it is “not worth it” (it is just estate stuff). We BOTH know that, in total, including all and the salts too… it is a good quality lot that will sell well “wholesale” IF one does not “charge too much”.
“How much for all of it?” I ask. There are two factors at play. One is that this is the easiest way for the two of us to “buy & sell this”. Second is that it is the easiest way for Hutton to get a selling price; he knows what he paid, …tacks on his profit… and “done”. Anything else takes time and patience and… the “stuff” “isn’t that good”. IF Hutton had sold to “The Gallery”… BY THE (individual) PIECE, by individual price… including having to “pitch” or “puff” each thing to “I don’t know what it is” (and include a current market summary too) new to the trade “buyers”...: “Tedious” and THIS does not need to be discussed by us. Curiously, for example, the two salts being a “best” in the whole lot… would actually be a difficult sale to The Gallery because not only would they cost more money so cause “hesitation” but also would have to be “explained more” with this probably including having to “SHOW THEM IN THE BOOK” just like… I did here.
“(Dollar, dollar, dollars)” said Hutton who... probably had figured out that price on the drive over to my yard AND adjusted it (tweaked it) as we unloaded it based on “what I (Hutton) see” and “how he (me) acts” and “how I (Hutton) feel about that”.
“Are you keeping anything out?” I asked.
“What?” I said.
“A goblet.” Hutton said and then went to burrowing into the mound of packing material on the passenger’s side of the front seat from the driver’s side. He emerged with a Waffle and Thumbprint early American pressed glass goblet; perfect, ground pontil, best quality high clarity flint glass. Made by the New England Glass Company (Boston area), I include photographs of Ruth Webb Lee’s EAPG book and relevant text. Again I “show them the book”.
“That?” I said.
“They’re not around.” He said handing it to me. “And I like it. No one knows what it is anyway… for what I can get for it (sell it for).”“Ok.” I said meaning he could keep it. The goblet is beautiful. Wonderful old glass. But he’s right that… like the salts, the day to day commercial value does not equal the goblet’s quality. Lee, in EAPG speaks of both the quality and scarcity of the goblet.
“Anything else?” I queried again.
Hutton returned to his front seat burrowing and excavated an old, cracked, chipped and broken bowl. He handed it out to me. “This.” He said.
I inspected the bowl. It is an 1840-1860 Japanese porcelain serving bowl with red and blue hand painted floral decoration with applied gold highlights. Old, it has multiple hairline cracks, chips and two pieces broken out of the top rim that have been glued back in place. Although truly scarce and old, it is not “valuable” (worth any money) in this condition. I rolled the bowl in my hands, looked it over again. Understated, it is pleasing to the eye even in its damaged condition. “This too?”
“Yes.” Hutton replied.
“I like it.”
“After all of this?” I said waving my hand vaguely toward the current load of antiques but more generally referring to ALL of the endless parade of Hutton’s antiques that pass before my eyes. He looked at me, at the piled antiques and at the bowl.
“It’s a little different” Hutton said
“Different?” I said.
“It’s family. It was her great, great and greater grandfather’s; Captain Snow’s. Family. It’s the first I ever got from her. What do you think: She bought that bowl at an antiques show?”
He was right; she did not buy that bowl. THAT bowl… old Captain Snow bought in Asia and… brought home… on his ship.