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Regina music box spins an $8,500 bid at Stony Ridge auction
By Susan Emerson Nutter

LEMOYNE, Ohio — Stony Ridge Auction’s May 19 sale truly had something for everyone.

Of the furniture offered a fantastic pie safe was put up for grabs and the lucky winning bidder took home a beauty. The circa 1850 safe had great hand-punched, full floral tin panels; unusual as no mullions were between the panels. Instead they fit together to form one long panel per side and per door. It was believed the pie safe was made by the Fleming K. Rich Shop (1806-1861) of Wythe County, Va.

Made of cherry (with yellow pine and poplar as secondary woods), this pie safe had an old dry red-wash surface, two dovetailed drawers over two doors with the case sides being fitted with a fine, full-length single stem flower with multiple blooms punched tin decoration.

Stony Ridge owner, Jane Wilson, felt all these attributes pointed to it being a Rich Shop piece. “The Rich Shop typically produced pie safe cupboards with two-drawers over two-doors, tins punched from the inside out, turned legs, and with no mullions between the tins.” Further research read, “A prosperous furniture empire was born in 1830 when Fleming Kean Rich and Thomas Moyer united their talents as cabinetmakers and businessmen. In the late 1820s, Fleming Rich moved to Wytheville, married Ann Catherine Moyers, and worked in his father-in-law’s cabinetmaking shop. The firm of Moyers and Rich expanded their trade to include manufacture of pie safes, beds, wardrobes, sofas, signboards, and coffins.” This pie safe sold for $2,150.

A 5-cent, coin-operated Regina floor model automatic disc changer music box with 12 Regina discs sold for $8,500. This double comb, model #35, Corona, was made by The Regina Music Box Co. in Rahway, N.J., at the turn of the 20th century, and its attached interior label listing patent dates had its last patent date as May 20, 1902, 700,511.

Often referred to as being a parlor model because of the curved glass in the door, this oak beauty had been owned by the same family for more than 65 years, and as expected, was extremely well cared for and in excellent working order as its sale price indicates.

Another interesting item was a 29 inches high by 57 inches long and 21 inches deep, East Coast handhewn trencher used for maple sugaring. It sold with its original fitted stand for $475. And then there was the Colonial era bronze black powder thunder mug or signal cannon at 6 inches high that realized $425.

What is a thunder mug, you ask? Good question. A bit of online research unearthed the following from which states (summarized here) - “Thunder mugs derive their name from their typical “mug” shape. Many had handles, but not all. These have been used for centuries by black powder manufacturers for testing black powder formulas. Since their creation, they have been adapted to several other uses, to include signaling devices, firework launchers and smoke stack cleaners, just to name a few. Examples of early thunder mugs have been found in several countries. They are made from cast iron or brass, and most have a small lip at the bottom base, just below the touch-hole. This is where a small amount of powder was placed so as to ignite the powder in the chamber. Sizes vary, however typical mugs are from 5 to 12 inches tall.

“Signal cannons/thunder mugs were used by ships coming into harbor, which would signal the authorities in the port to come and inspect the ship before it offloaded goods and crew. They were especially useful during the time of the black plague, when incoming ships had to be screened for the disease before crew could go ashore. Because signal cannons lacked fuses, they were lit using long poles with wicks on the end.”

An item that saw a great deal of interest before hitting the auction block according to Wilson was the first lot of the day; an American folk art silhouette miniature portrait by the Puffy Sleeve artist. Though unsigned the silhouette had characteristics associated with this artist; the body was not in proportion to the head, and the sitter held an article in her hand; this being a hanky. Won with a bid of $500, this silhouette also featured a hollow cut head and a watercolor painted gown.

And keeping with highlighting the wonderful variety of items sold this day, the circa 1850 large (40 inches long by 25 inches high) carved, stenciled, and painted wooden tricycle was surely a winner. Retaining its original red color as well as its wooden rims, steel banded spoke wheels, original fabric cover seat, and original crank pedal; this trike sold for $2,550.

“The auction did much better than we expected which was just wonderful,” Wilson said. “It’s always a bonus when you help great things find new homes.” And Stony Ridge has been doing this for a quarter of a century as they are celebrating their 25th year in the business in 2019. Another neat side note about this organization is their auction house.

“Ten years ago we bought a great building; a school which had been built in 1926, and moved our business here,” Wilson explains. “My husband and our sons all went to school in this same building which makes it even more special that it now houses our family’s business.”

Contact: (419) 297-9045

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