Spicer’s Tool Auction, Dec 3, 2011

I got up early this morning hoping to get myself a nice Christmas gift at the auction. While the auction was good, I really didn’t find much to get my tool fix, though I did walk away with some nice planes. Oh and an axe. I had to skedaddle after about lot 375 out of ~700 to get back to Norwich for my guitar lesson.

I won a few lots including a mortise axe made in my current city, Norwich CT. It is made by the Thames River Works and is described in the lot as ‘a rarity!’. While Norwich has a decidedly industrial past compared to today, it is most well know for its gunsmiths and not for its tool makers. I did a bit of poking around on the interwebz and I got a two hits when searching for “Thames River Works”–a book from 1880 “The Acts and Laws of State of Connecticut” which lists it as a company in Norwich, and another book published in 1884 “The Joint Stock Act of Connecticut passed January Session 1880” which also lists it as a company in Norwich. So not much to go on. ‘Rarity’ might be an understatement.

I also won on two Denison planes, both complex molding planes, one listed as J. Denison (1840-74) and the other J&L Denison Saybrook (1832-40), the latter looks to be in better shape.

I also won a very nice matched pair of size 18 hollow and round (1 1/4″ I believe), made by Lamb and Brownell, New Bedford MA. The only listing for this maker is from 1871. This is a pretty big hollow/round pair for cabinet work, but they were in such great shape, it was hard to pass up.

My final lot win was three different hollows, a #10 H Wells (1847-56), a #7 A. Kelly & Co. (~1856-60) hollow, and a #7 H. Barrus & Co (1854-59). I’m a little surprised there was no real interest from the crowd in these planes (I think only 1 other person bid), as the latter is listed as a *** plane–very rare, 50-100 examples known. I’d guess if it had a matching round it would have been worth more. Of course it could be the plane maker stunk and that is why it is so rare. But I didn’t really buy it for collector value as even though a #7 is an off-size, I hope to make a matching round for it myself.

And if you’ve never been to a Spicer’s tool auction, here a few pics of the layout. As you can see, there are a lot of tools up for auction.

Oh and in case you were looking for a nice coat or scarf rack, this would be choice. That is one big router plane.

I kept track of some of the selling prices of a few items so readers can get a sense of what the going rates are for these tools. Obviously it all depends on the interest of the crowd and sometimes just the rarity of the item (as opposed to the usefulness). Also I only kept track of metal hand planes, mostly Stanley since those are most available for people setting up a shop. I naively thought I might have a chance at the #9 cabinet makers block plane w/ the hot dog handle. But when the starting bid is your max price, you know pretty quick that plane is out of reach. I think I’d get a LN and save $925.

Tool Price
Stanley 289 $150
Stanley 140, pat no. 6-94 $90
Stanley 9 1/2, c. 1892, block plane $100
Stanley 144, 3/8″ corner rounding plane $110
2 Stanley corrugated sole planes, #4C, #4 1/2C $110
Stanley 39, 3/8″ dado $90
Stanley 39, 1″ dado $110
Stanley 603 Bedrock $160
Stanley 605 Bedrock $180
Stanley 605 Bedrock $90
Stanley #97 cabinet makers edge plane $225
Buck Bros 5″ drawknife, excellent shape $225
Stanley #1, c1923-35 $850
Stanley #9 cabinet makers block plane, w/hot dog handle $1300
Sargent #1067 double side match plane, 5/8″ stock $250
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