Brown’s 51st International Antique Tool Auction

William Patent "Universal Plane", Patented by Stephan Williams of Philadelphia in 1864

Brown’s 51st International Antique Tool Auction was held on October 28th, 2017, at the Radisson Hotel in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.  There was active bidding in the room as well as from absentee bidders.  The prices realized that are listed in this post include a 13% buyer’s premium. Prices shown below enclosed in square brackets are pre-auction estimates taken from the Brown auction catalog No. 51. The condition of all items was taken from the same auction catalog and neither the pre-auction estimates nor the condition of items reflect the author’s opinion unless so noted. All photographs are courtesy of Brown Auction Services.

Selected Auction Items

Lot 431. A Sandusky No. 141 Center Wheel Plow Reproduction (See Figure 1.)  Mint and beautifully made from solid rosewood with ivory tips, possibly made by Jim Leamy, and rated Mint with an estimate of [800-1500]. It sold to a floor bidder for $2,712.00.

Replica of a Rosewood Sandusky No. 141 Center wheel Plow Plane

Figure 1. Lot 431. Replica of a Rosewood Sandusky No. 141 Center wheel Plow Plane

Lot 720. The two miniature Infill Miter Planes made by Bill Carter of London and shown in Figure 2. Each of these beautiful little  planes is just 3 inches long and 5/16ths of an inch wide and are made of gunmetal with dovetailed steel soles. One has a boxwood infill and the other a rosewood infill. These were rated Fine and were estimated at [400-800] but surpassed that for a hammer price of $1695.00 to an absentee bidder.

Two Miniature Infill Planes Made by Bill Carter

Figure 2.  Lot 720, Two Miniature Infill Planes Made by Bill Carter

Lot 368. A William’s Patent Adjustable Sole Plane. A rare example of the design patented by Stephen Williams of Philadelphia, PA, in 1864, in which the body is made of eight sliding wooden blocks clamped together by a brass band which allows the sole to be adjusted to different shapes.  Other than some slight damage it was very clean and complete. Rated as Good+ with estimate of [3000-5000], it brought $3,390.00 from an absentee bidder (See Figure 3).

William Patent "Universal Plane", Patented by Stephan Williams of Philadelphia in 1864

Figure 3. Lot 368. William’s Patent “Universal Plane”, Patented by Stephan Williams of Philadelphia in 1864

Lot 530. Figure 4 shows  Shaw’s Patent Combination Brace Wrench. Similar to the Lowentraut combination tool patented by Samuel Johnson, this rare example of a combination brace wrench was patented by Elver Shaw on June 28, 1989.  It has a metal rather than rosewood grip and the patent date cast into the side. Some light pitting was noted, but the tool is complete and in good working condition. Rated Good+ with an estimate of [300-600] it sold for $1017.00 to a bidder in the room.

Combination Brace Wrench Patented by Elver H. Shaw on June 28, 1898

Figure 4. Lot 530. Combination Brace Wrench Patented by Elver H. Shaw on June 28, 1898

There was a wide selection of planes by 18th century American makers in this auction including several molding planes and a few plow planes. The top sellers of the group were a molding plane by N. Potter (Lot 591), with an astragal and cove form, which sold far beyond its [300-600] estimate for $4068.00 (see Figure 5)

18th Century Molding Plane by N. Potter

Figure 5. Lot 591, 18th Century Molding Plane by N. Potter

An ogee and astragal molding plane by F. Nicholson (Lot 393, shown in Figure 6) with his “Living in Wrentham” mark, was estimated at [1200-2000] and was hammered down at $3616.00.  Both of these planes were sold to the same lucky bidder in the room.

Francis Nicholson Eighteenth Century Molding Plane

Figure 6. Lot 393 A Francis Nicholson Eighteenth Century Molding Plane with His ‘Living in Wrentham” Mark on the Toe

The auction also featured two stunning modern infill planes made by Sauer & Steiner who build each plane by hand. They look almost too pretty to use.  Lot 117 was a K5 smoothing plane with a beautiful steel body and Desert Ironwood infill in Fine condition and estimated at [800-1600].  It sold for $1864.50 to an absentee bidder (See Figure 7).

Sauer & Steiner K5 Bench Plane

Figure 7. Lot 117, A Sauer & Steiner K5 Bench Plane

The other, Sauer & Steiner plane, Lot 411, shown in Figure 8 was a K18 jointer plane, also with a steel body and beautiful Desert Ironwood infill.  It was in Fine condition with an estimate of [2000-4000] and also sold to an absentee bidder for $3729.00.

Sauer & Steiner K18 Jointer

Figure 8. Lot 411, A Sauer & Steiner K18 Jointer Plane

Prototype tools are of great interest to many collectors, and this auction didn’t disappoint. There were three lots featuring tools patented by Justus A. Traut. Lot 371 was a prototype Clapboard Gauge invented by Justus Traut that became the Stanley No. 89 clapboard gauge.  Traut was granted patent No. 377,178 on January 31st, 1888 for this tool.  The  clapboard gauge was sold with the original patent papers as well. Estimated at [2000-4000] and in Fine condition this lot sold for $3614.00 (See Figure 9) .

Traut's Patent Clapboard Gauge with Patent Papers. Patent No. 337,178, January 31, 1888

Figure 9. Traut’s Patent Clapboard Gauge with Patent Papers. Patent No. 337,178, Granted on January 31, 1888

Lot 372 featured Traut’s prototype for a marking gauge along with the original patent papers as well as the document assigning the patent to the Stanley Rule & level Company.  Stanley never put this tool into production but Traut received patent No. 670,627 for this tool on March 26, 1901.  As can be seen in Figure 10, it was in Fine condition.  With a [2000-4000] estimate it sold to an absentee bidder for $4,407.00.

Prototype Marking Gauge with Patent Papers by Justus Traut. Patent No. 670,627, 3/26/2001

Figure 10.  Lot 372, a Prototype Marking Gauge by Justus Traut with Patent Papers and the Document Assigning the Patent to Stanley. Patent No. 670,627, Granted 3/26/2001

The last lot in in this group, Lot 373, was a try square prototype.  Traut received patent No. 266,556 on October 24, 1882 for this tool which was never put into production. This lot also included the original patent papers. Rated Fine with a [2000-4000] estimate, this lot also sold to an absentee bidder for the same price as the previous lot, $4,407.00 (see Figure 11).

Prototype Try Square with Patent Papers by Justus Traut. Patent No. 266,556, 10/24/1882

Figure 11. A Prototype Try Square with Patent Papers by Justus Traut. Patent No. 266,556, Granted 10/24/1882

Speaking of Stanley patents, Lot 174 (see Figure 12) featured a Type 1 “hooked” Millers Patent plane with a very well-done replacement tote. A very pretty plane, this one was in Good+ condition and estimated at [3000-5000] and brought a respectable $2,260.00 from a floor bidder.

A Type 1 No. 41 Miller's Patent Plow Plane

Figure 12. A Type 1 No. 41 Miller’s Patent Plow Plane

Lot 614 was a very rare Grantham’s Clynometer Folding Inclinometer. 10 inches long and made of two pieces of boxwood hinged at the end, with a brass level vial on top and removable scale on the side to hold it in position, this interesting inclinometer is marked with scales on the top surface as shown if Figure 13. Only one other example is known. This inclinometer was rated Good+ with a [700-1000] estimate and brought $1,045.25 from an absentee bidder.

Grantham's Clynometer - a Very Rare Folding Inclinometer

Figure 13. Grantham’s Clynometer – a Very Rare Folding Inclinometer

Lot 479 featured a very well-preserved American Style Goosewing Axe.  Likely originating from the Pennsylvania area, this 18-inch axe was in very nice condition with its original handle. Rated at Fine (see Figure 14), with an estimate of [300-600] it brought $508.50 from an absentee bidder.

American Style Goosewing Axe

Figure 14. Lot 479 An American Style Goosewing Axe

Several unique saws were featured in the auction. An Anderson Patent Saw, Lot 138, was patented by William Anderson in 1902. This double-sided saw is ground as a crosscut saw on one side and as a rip saw on the other side.  It also features a slot near the tip designed to allow the user to pivot the blade on a point to start the cut. The saw was in Fine condition with an estimate of [200-400] and sold for $452.00 to an absentee bidder (see Figure 15).

Double Sided Crosscut and Rip Saw Patented by in 1902 and Manufactured by William Anderson

Figure 15. Lot 138. A Double-Sided Crosscut and Rip Saw Patented in 1902 by William Anderson

Lot 416 featured a Richardson Patent Timber Saw which features a teardrop cutout in the middle of the blade that was designed to reduce friction. In Good condition with an estimate of [250-450], it brought $310.75, also from an absentee bidder (see Figure 16).

Richardson's Patent Timber Saw

Figure 16. Lot 416, Richardson’s Patent Timber Saw

Lot 426. This Shelton & Osborne Screw-arm Plow Plane was a stunning plane with a solid ebony body, wedge, and fence, with boxwood arms and nuts. In extremely good condition with a Fine rating, this uncommon Birmingham, CT, maker specialized in high-end plow planes and this one was no exception (see Figure 17). It surpassed its [400-800] estimate with a hammer of $1,525.50 from an absentee bidder.

Shelton & Osborne Plow Plane with an Ebony Body and Boxwood Arms and Nuts

Figure 17. Lot 426, A Shelton & Osborne Plow Plane with an Ebony Body and Boxwood Arms and Nuts

by Paul Van Pernis and Katyn Adams

Many thanks to the staff at Brown Tool Auctions for providing the pictures and their help in preparing this post.

5 Comments on “Brown’s 51st International Antique Tool Auction

  1. I have some vintage wood planes, the first one is a all wood Israel White with plough blade and wood screws. Nice early item 14″ length. I wanted to add some pictures for you experts to tell me what year it was made.

  2. My grandfather left me a truck load of very old tools. Mainly planes, plumb bobs, levels and saws. Some of the planes have names like Baldwin, Sorby. I noticed a really neat level that has lights in it that I have never seen before. The battery compartment takes batteries that I don’t recognize. I want these tools to go to someone that can appreciate what they are. Do you have any thoughts. Thank you

    • Hi John, It sounds like you’ve got some interesting tools. I would suggest you contact Martin Donnelly Auctions at 800-869-0695 or Fine Tool Journal Auctions at 800-248-8114. Both of these auction houses have several antique tool auctions each year. Through their auctions your grandfather’s tools will get into the hands of either collectors or users who will appreciate them. Thanks, Paul

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