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Antiques and Fine Art Auctions Blog

Skinner expert appraisers and auctioneers discuss antiques, fine art, and collectibles. Keep up on market trends and get collecting tips from antiques experts. Discover the stories behind the art and antiques Skinner offers at auction.

The Last Currency of The Republic of Texas

Prior to its annexation as the 28th state by the United States, The Republic of Texas was its own sovereign nation. Having fought for and gaining their independence from Mexico by 1836, the young republic found itself with significant financial/economic and political issues, leading to their eventual annexation in 1845. These nine tumultuous years in-between originated some of Texas’s rarest and most sought after currency.

The Panic of 1837 halted commerce to a standstill, sending Texas’s land prices and the value of its paper currency on a downward spiral. Texas treasury bills and promissory notes became so debased that they were trading at cents on the dollar, and in many instances, not accepted by merchants. Even the Texas government refused to accept its own paper money for payment on land taxes. Due to these significant financial woes, the Texan people re-elected Sam Houston for a second term with the hopes of salvaging their country.

On January 19, 1842, lawmakers passed an act creating the last currency issued by the Republic, the famous “Exchequer” series. Along with gold and silver, these notes were accepted at full face value for tax payments and the fulfillment of government debts. Between 1842-1843, the total production of circulating notes amounted to $150,490 in all denominations up to $100. With no new notes being printed, all but $13,208.29 of exchequer bills had been redeemed by 1852. These notes were closely controlled and diligently destroyed by the government when redeemed. The majority of outstanding “Exchequer” notes have likely been lost to time as current records estimate a total of 20-25 extant in all denominations in public and private hands. There are no known examples of $2, $3, $10, $20, $50, and $100. The 12 ½ cent note is most commonly seen in the series today because, as James Bevill states in The Paper Republic, they “may not have been worthwhile to be redeemed for full face value and some were set aside and saved.”

Skinner’s August Coins & Currency auction features a newly discovered 1843 12 ½ cent “Exchequer” note. This note features vignettes of an early steam locomotive and lady Liberty. This original, unadulterated bill exhibits bold design elements and crisp details. Authenticated and graded a Very Fine 25 by PCGS Currency, the note exhibits minor edge damage and a small tear to the central fold. The bill bears two signatures, that of James B. Shaw, Secretary of the Treasury, and the iconic general and first President of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston. This auction presents a rare opportunity for any collector of Texana and early Texas currency as the last 12 ½ cent note, or any other denomination of “Exchequer” notes to come up for auction, was in 2011.

Auction previews open on Tuesday, August 22 from 12-5PM and continue on Wednesday, August 23 from 12-8PM.

Follow the Money: Skinner’s Coins & Currency Auction Tenders a Wide Selection of Desirable, Affordable Examples of Numismatic Interest

1800 Perkins White Metal Washington Funeral Urn Medal, Baker-166C (Lot 1884, Estimate $800-1,200)

Coins are the most widely collected forms of currency and represent the largest number of lots in this online-only auction. Numerous examples of paper currency, tokens, medals and stamps are also included. Over 1,000 lots are being offered, spanning many centuries and a great diversity of countries and cultures. The auction opens on Thursday, August 17 at 10AM and begins closing on Friday, August 25 at 2PM.… Read More

Lecture | Modern Design by a Mid-Century New Englander

Modern Design by a Mid-Century New Englander

A Lecture by Lucretia Giese

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 23 | RECEPTION 5PM | LECTURE 6PM

RSVP ONLINE

This talk looks at some of the forces shaping mid-century modern design through the work of one mid-century New England practitioner, Henry B. Hoover.  Hoover is known today as an architect.  Less known is Hoover’s design work, which manifests itself in three ways.  As a residential architect, Hoover designed numerous houses in New England, including the first Modern house in Lincoln, MA, and pieces of furniture for his clients. … Read More

Functional, Fashionable, and Fun: Skinner’s 20th Century Design Auctions Offer a Rich Spectrum of Furniture, Art, and Ceramics

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) Ceramic Cavalier and Horse Pitcher (Lot 253, Estimate $4,000-6,000)

MARLBOROUGH, MASkinner presents two auctions that span modern design from its beginnings in art nouveau to pieces by artists and artisans still active today.

Jane Prentiss, Department Director, observes that both auctions celebrate the innovative use of materials and the adventurous concepts that characterize 20th century design.… Read More

The Tom and Adelle Hersh Collection of Mennonite Quilts of Waterloo County, Ontario

Mennonite ‘Steeplechase’ Quilt, St. Jacob’s, Waterloo Counter, Ontario, c. 1910 (Lot 544, Estimate $400-600)

Skinner is pleased to offer selections from the Tom and Adelle Hersh Collection of Mennonite Quilts from Waterloo County, Ontario. It is a collection that Canadian quilt historian, Carol Telfer, describes as “an important piece of western Ontario textile history.”  Most of the collection was assembled in the 1980’s, an era when many families were moving from the country to the city.… Read More

Fine Jewelry & Silver Consignment Days | New Hampshire & Cape Cod

Fine Jewelry & Silver Consignment Days

TUESDAY, AUGUST 15 | MANCHESTER, NH

TUESDAY, AUGUST 22 | FALMOUTH, MA

Skinner Auctions is inviting consignments for the fall 2017 Auctions. Meet with Fine Jewelry expert Kaitlin Shinnick and Fine Silver expert Stephanie Opolski at  for a complimentary auction evaluation and consignment of your Fine Jewelry &  Silver. Appointments required.

Request Appointment: jewelry@skinnerinc.com 617.874.4313… Read More

Lecture | Mocha & Other Slipwares – A History

Mocha & Other Slipwares – A History

A Lecture by Jonathan Rickard

SATURDAY, AUGUST 12 | RECEPTION 5PM | LECTURE 5:30PM

RSVP ONLINE

Jonathan Rickard has always collected. As a child it was soda bottle caps. Later, it was cast iron mechanical banks. At a Skinner auction in the late 1960s, he spotted some ceramic vessels that were called mochaware. His design studies at MassArt had introduced him to the theories of the Bauhaus movement and to the color theories of Josef Albers.… Read More

Americana Exceptionalism: Skinner’s August Americana Auctions Celebrate Over 200 Years of the Nation’s Ingenuity and Artistry

Red-painted and Decorated ‘Cohocksink Hose Company’ Parade Hat, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, c. 1856 (Lot 519, Estimate $8,000-12,000)

Skinner’s upcoming August Americana auctions are comprised of a varied and interesting array of early American furniture, paintings, needle works, objects of historical interest, and maritime pieces. Totaling over 1300 lots, each object displays some alluring characteristic that makes it best in its class, whether it’s an 18th century New York Windsor highchair with fine blue-green paint (Lot 377, Estimated between $20,000-25,000) or a late 19th century cap gun toy with a humorous message (Lot 1344, $800-1,200).… Read More

Estate of Guitarist J. Geils Featured in Skinner’s November Fine Musical Instruments Auction

J. Geils

BOSTON, MA – Over 150 lots of instruments and memorabilia from the Estate of John Warren Geils  Jr., guitarist and founder of the Grammy-nominated J. Geils Band, will highlight Skinner’s Fine Musical Instruments Auction on Sunday, November 19 in Boston. The auction will also feature vintage electric, acoustic and classical guitars, mandolins, trumpets, and classical stringed instruments and bows.

Highlights from Geils’ guitar collection include his Stromberg Master 400, D’Angelico Excel, several Gibson archtops, and Fender tweed amplifiers.  … Read More

Exceptional Carrara Marble Stations of the Cross Plaques

[DETAIL] Set of Fourteen Carrara Marble Stations of the Cross Plaques, probably Joseph Sibbel Studios (Lot 589, Estimate $20,000-40,000)

At over four feet in height each, the Fourteen Carrara Marble Stations of the Cross Plaques (Lot 589) to be auctioned in Skinner’s European Furniture & Decorative Arts Auction on July 14th, make a commanding statement as an ensemble. Heavily carved, the marbles are realistically modeled in high relief, depicting the series of events on the day of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, each inscribed with station number to the projecting base.… Read More

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