Carl auction items draw crowd

February 21, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

SHADY GROVE, Pa. - Harry Karns had his eye on the century-old, walnut hanging store cabinet with original finish ever since he saw it advertised in Antiques Magazine.

Karns saw the Pratts Veterinary Remedies cabinet in person for the first time around 7 a.m. Thursday when he drove from his home in Bedford, Pa., and arrived at the Matthew S. Hurley Legacy Center auction house in Shady Grove, Pa.

It didn't go on the block until after 6 p.m. Karns waited all day.

The cabinet was one of hundreds of items on sale Thursday that Hurley was selling for Katherine Carl and her late husband, Edward Carl.


Some of the items came from the pharmacy that the Carl family ran for nearly two centuries until it closed in 1974. Edward Carl ran the business from 1935 until it closed.

The pharmacy opened in 1825 on South Carlisle Street. In 1916, it moved to East Baltimore Street, where it operated until it closed.

The Carl sale was promoted in trade publications and newspapers. It promised to be one of the most attended local auctions this year. By 6 p.m., more than 600 people had picked up bid cards. Bidders came from as far away as Tennessee, Hurley said. Some were bidding by phone, e-mail and on the Internet.

Among items drawing buyer interest, besides the Pratts cabinet, were an early 19th-century grandfather clock built by John Little, a local silversmith and cabinet maker; pottery by John Bell, an 18th- and 19th-century Waynesboro, Pa., potter whose pieces often bring thousands of dollars; and an early 19th-century Empire sideboard that Hurley touted as having a connection to the Snow Hill Cloister, a closed society outside Waynesboro known for its furniture making.

The sideboard, which was not part of the Carl estate, sold for $7,300. A red 1964 Cadillac convertible, also not part of the estate, was bought for $7,500. Hurley said he sold Katherine Carl's 1965 Cadillac convertible in December for $17,000. It had 31,000 miles on the odometer, he said.

There was also plenty of glass, silver, bottles, advertising and promotional memorabilia, quilts and ephemera, plus Katherine Carl's collection of books, many of which were published in the area.

Karns, 64, paid $4,600 for the Pratts cabinet.

Sam Little, 52, of Frederick, Md., dropped out at $4,500.

"I knew it was a rare one and I just wanted it," Karns said. "I've been going to sales for 20 years and I've only seen two sold. This is a nice piece."

"It's very desirable," Little said. "How do you put a price on something like that?"

Little, who owns Little's Antiques and Reproductions in Frederick, said he did not bid on the cabinet to resell in his shop. "That price is a collector's price, not a wholesale price," he said.

Hurley said afterward that he was surprised the cabinet brought $4,600.

"I figured it would go for around $2,200," he said.

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