Pennsylvania Compass Artist boxes to beat $20,000 estimate?

Two painted dome lid boxes by the shadowy Compass Artist of Pennsylvania will be among the highlights of a sale of Pennsylvania German folk art taking place in the state on October 27.

Compass artistry, so called because of its use of a mathematical compass for producing decoration, was hugely popular in Europe during the 18th and 19th century.

Compass Artist box
The identity of the Pennsylvania Compass Artist remains a mystery

The Lancaster County-based artist, whose identity remains unknown, is thought to have produced around 60 pieces circa 1800, the majority of which were dome topped boxes.

Both boxes, bearing floral designs, are painted in the most common colour, Prussian blue, a factor that will limit their value somewhat.

However, we believe the $20,000 estimate for the pair is on the low side, considering a similar single box sold for $42,000 with the same auction house in 2009.

A further test of the market will come on October 6, when a low grade example auctions with a $1,000 starting bid.

The boxes are one of several superb items from the collection of Paul and Rita Flack set to go under the hammer at the auction.

The sale will also feature a 1799 watercolour and ink by Karl Munch, signed and dated by the artist. Featuring his typical wreaths and floral baskets, it has a $35,000 high estimate.

Meanwhile an Oley, Berks County dower chest will appear with a $35,000 high valuation.

"Numerous objects came from local families, who Paul had been acquainted with for many years," says the auction house.

"Always involved in the historic community, the Flacks contributed significantly to local exhibits, lectures, and various publications."

View Paul Fraser Collectibles' antique furniture for sale here.

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