Belter furniture to be featured at Hal Hunt sale, Feb. 21

Published: Thu Jan 15 2009

An important collection of over 35 pieces of John Henry Belter furniture, to include an exceedingly rare pierce-carved laminated bed (one of only two known), will be sold by Hal Hunt Auctions on Saturday, Feb. 21, beginning at 10 a.m. A preview will be held Friday, Feb. 20, from 10-6. The only other known example of the bed is on display at The Brooklyn Museum in New York.

The Belter pieces ??" all circa 1850s ??" are from the estate of Gerald Lawhorn, who recently passed away in Georgia, where he lived at his magnificent home, called Cypress Pond Plantation. “Mr. Lawhorn was a very discerning collector,” said Hal Hunt. “This is a rare opportunity for the established collector, as well as the savvy beginner, to bid on some truly wonderful Belter pieces and other items.”

The pierce-carved laminated bed is stamped (or embossed) in six places, with a patent date. It is also labeled on the inside and signed John Henry Belter. There is a matching dresser, also stamped and signed by Belter. The bed is pictured in the book, American Furniture of the 19th Century, 1840s-1880s. Other pieces from Mr. Lawhorn's vast collection are also pictured in the book. All of them will be sold.

Additional Belter furniture pieces in Mr. Lawhorn's collection include the following:

A 10-piece “Milwaukee” pattern parlor suite, very rare.
Pierce-carved center tables.
A “Rosalie” pattern center table with matching etageres.
Another etagere.
A “Tutthill King” pattern sofa and side chair.
A “Fountain Elms” pattern recamier (fainting couch).
A pierce-carved server.
A dressing vanity with matching cheval mirror.
An armoire.
A marble-top center table.
About six slipper chairs.

The sale will also feature an extremely rare multi-form card table (also featured in the above-named book), with a turtle-top center. The table divides into two console tables that flip open to reveal another pair of tables, for playing cards. The Rococo-carved piece was made by Charles A. Boudoine, New York cabinetmaker. Another star lot is a 9-foot-tall Thomas Brooks cylinder roll secretary desk.

J. & J.W. Meeks will be well represented at the auction. Examples include a pierced-carved sideboard, extremely rare; an 8-piece “Hawkins” pattern parlor suite; and a rosewood cylinder secretary desk. Also expected to get paddles wagging will be a Mitchells & Rammelsberg half teaster bed; a McCracken 4-poster bed; and a rosewood Steinway & Sons grand piano (circa 1850s) in fine condition.

Sevres fans won't be disappointed. Offerings will include a matching pedestal and urn, 6 feet tall; a 3-piece clock set; and Sevres and bronze centerpieces. Also featured will be over 12 gasolier chandeliers (at least one made by Cornelius & Baker). And doll fans will feast on a nice collection of 35 German-made dolls (1880-1920), some quite large (3 feet tall), and all intact and in good condition.

Interested in lamps? Slated to cross the block will be a Tiffany lamp in the “Acorn” pattern; 16 lamps from a variety of coveted makers, such as Wilkinson, Chicago Mosaic, Jefferson, Pittsburgh and Pairpoint; and 15 Sumbro solar lamps (circa late 1800s), originally gas, but since electrified. Also set to come under the gavel will be a dozen Pier mirrors, gilded gold leaf, ranging in height from 10-12 feet.

A collection of ten music boxes includes a Regina 20-inch changer, in mint original condition and in an oak case with griffins; an extremely rare Regina music box in a Vernie Martin case, all hand-painted and decorated; and a rare Edison Opera mahogany cylinder player with wooden horn. Antique oil paintings will include signed works by A. Dunnington, Giovanni Grignaschi, Peter Leily and others.

Returning to furniture, bidders will be treated to a 15-1/2-foot rosewood dining table with 14 matching rosewood chairs; a 60-inch oak winged griffin dining table with six original leaves and eight matching oak dining chairs (2 arms, 6 sides); an 11-piece carved Horner dining suite with cherubs and full-bodied women; and a lovely Pottier & Stymus rosewood credenza with Sevres porcelain plaques.

Black Forest pieces will include a monumental walnut cabinet, 10 feet tall and heavily carved, with boars, deer and game; and a hall tree. Not to be overlooked will be a gorgeous Mitchells & Rammelsberg pierce-carved cheval mirror, about eight feet tall; a Lyon Heely harp; two Old Paris porcelain vases; and an oak columned fireplace mantel (8 feet tall, 10-inch columns down the front).

Do clocks ring your chimes? Check out the group of Ansonia statue clocks; the 3-piece Tiffany & Co. Vernie Martin clock set, signed and hand-painted; not one, but two extremely rare oak hall seats with grandfather clocks built into the middle; and a 9-tube inlaid case grandfather clock. And what better spot to put a fine clock than the 11-foot-tall oak fireplace mantel with full-bodied cherubs?

Rounding out the roster of anticipated top lots: a 60-inch mahogany “S” roll-top desk with matching Globe Wernike six-stack bookcases with labels on each; and an oak roll-top desk with matching Globe Wernike bookkcases. Many of the items described in this story, and other lots, too, have been posted on the Hal Hunt Auctions website. To view them, log on to

Hal Hunt Auctions is accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, estate or collection, you can call them at (205) 333-2517, or e-mail them at For more information about Hal Hunt Auctions and its calendar of upcoming sales, log on to

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Contact Name: Ken Hall
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: (770) 974-6495