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.
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.
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).
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.
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)
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.
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).
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.
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) .
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
7 thoughts on “Brown’s 51st International Antique Tool Auction”
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.
Israel White’s planes were probably made between 1831 and 1845. It is hard to pin then down exactly because he also made planes for his father, and his widow made planes under his name. firstname.lastname@example.org
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
I have tinworkin tools I need to sell.
I would suggest you contact Martin Donnelly who does antique tool auctions. He can be contacted at email@example.com or at 1-800-869-0695, or Jim Gehring at Brown Tool Auctions. You can contact Jim at FineToolJ@gmailcom or 1-800-248-8114. Bill McMillen is a master tinsmith and he may also be of some help. You can contact Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org Good luck!
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