Skinner Inc.

Auctioneers and Appraisers of Objects of Value

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.

Skinner, Inc. Announces Two-Day Auction of American Furniture & Decorative Arts

Bronze Posnet, Newport, Rhode Island, c. 1710 (Lot 51, Estimate   $8,000-$12,000)

Bronze Posnet, Newport, Rhode Island, c. 1710 (Lot 51, Estimate $8,000-$12,000)

Featuring the Howard Roth Collection of Early American Iron

BOSTON, MA – July 25, 2014 – An excellent selection of American folk art and furniture will be offered at Skinner, Inc.’s two-day auction of American Furniture & Decorative Arts. On August 9th, Skinner is pleased to present The Howard Roth Collection of Early American Iron, Part I, featuring fine and rare examples of early American metalwork. The sale continues on August 10th with an eclectic array of furniture from the late 17th century through the mid-19th century, in addition to a wonderful selection of paintings, weathervanes, folk art carvings, trade signs and more – a feast for history buffs and collectors alike.

The Howard Roth Collection of Early American Iron, Part I

Skinner is pleased to offer the Howard Roth Collection in its entirety in two parts, presented in August and in October. Part I consists of approximately 300 examples from this important collection. Howard Roth pursued his passion for over four decades, seeking and obtaining exceptional examples of American iron. With his enthusiasm for the material, perseverance, and competitive spirit, Howard rarely let a great piece of American iron get away. The result of such single-mindedness is what you see today—the finest and most comprehensive collection of mostly 18th and early 19th century New England hearth equipment. The collection includes ornate toasters, rare bronze posnets, broilers, kettles, cooking pots, food choppers, and andirons; many of the pieces bear maker’s signatures and dates. The earliest example is a copper and wood bed warmer with an engraved codfish, dated 1701 (Lot 219, estimated between $800 to $1,200).

Wrought Iron Rotary Toaster, America, late 18th/early 19th   century (Lot 37, Estimate $2,500-$3,500)

Wrought Iron Rotary Toaster, America, late 18th/early 19th century (Lot 37, Estimate $2,500-$3,500)

According to Stephen Fletcher, Director of American Furniture and Decorative Arts at Skinner, “Although these objects are utilitarian in nature, they are also beautiful and sculptural, and demonstrate that pieces of iron can be extraordinary works of art.”

Highlights include a very scarce bronze posnet from Newport, RI, dated 1710 (Lot 51, $8,000 and $12,000). A heart motif decorating a selection of objects will catch the interest of collections. The motif is repeated in the complex design of a wrought iron rotary toaster (Lot 37, $2,500 to $3,500).

To learn more about the craft of ironwork, join us for a gallery talk on Friday, August 8th at 6PM in Marlborough. Skinner welcomes Derek Heidemann, owner of Resurrection Iron Works in Millbury, Massachusetts. Derek has reproduced the rotary toaster, and will be taking us through the process of its making. RSVP to 508-970-3240 or

1935 Buick Series 60 Sport Coupe, VIN #2982874 (Lot 300, Estimate $15,000 - $20,000)

1935 Buick Series 60 Sport Coupe, VIN #2982874 (Lot 300, Estimate $15,000 – $20,000)

1935 Buick Series 60 Sport Coupe

Skinner kicks off day two of the auction with a fun and stylish 1935 Buick Series 60 Sport Coupe (Lot 300, $15,000 to $20,000). Garaged for over 20 years, this pre-war automobile has a black-painted exterior and customary rumble seat. The car’s sheet metal and wood are in very good condition – making this vehicle a potentially exciting restoration project for any classic car enthusiast.

American Furniture

A beautiful piece leads a selection of painted furniture: a robin’s egg blue-painted pine corner cupboard in as-found condition (Lot 308, $20,000 to $30,000). The cupboard, which dates from the 18th century, is most likely from New Hampshire. The piece has an intriguing history, which author Thatcher Freund chronicled in Time and the Objects of our Desire, published in New England Monthly, May 1989.

Blue-painted Pine Corner Cupboard, probably New Hampshire, mid-  18th century (Lot 308, Estimate $20,000-$30,000)

Blue-painted Pine Corner Cupboard, probably New Hampshire, mid- 18th century (Lot 308, Estimate $20,000-$30,000)

As Stephen Fletcher explains, original condition and surface on an American antique is both valuable and desirable. “The history of a piece is written on its surface. The patina or colors are the result of centuries of use, and I am not alone among collectors who love to see a piece that has remained intact for such a long time,” says Fletcher.

Fine examples of American furniture also include a beautifully proportioned Queen Anne cherry tea table from Connecticut, with a molded tray top table, shaped valenced skirt, and cabriole legs (Lot 350, $50,000 to $75,000).

Folk Art & American Antiques

Folk art, game boards, paintings, weathervanes and more abound in this section, many from a large, private Wisconsin collection. A polychrome carved Indian princess tobacconist figure by Samuel Robb of New York (Lot 506, estimate $40,000 to $60,000) is just one of a group of important and unusual figures from this collection. Other examples include a black dandy, Columbia, and Puck. An unusual painted wood folding sidewalk sign from Reedsburg, Wisconsin (Lot 691, $4,000 to $6,000), advertises cigars and tobacco.

Polychrome Carved Indian Princess Tobacconist Figure, Samuel   Robb, New York, late 19th century (Lot 506, Estimate $40,000-  $60,000)

Polychrome Carved Indian Princess Tobacconist Figure, Samuel Robb, New York, late 19th century (Lot 506, Estimate $40,000- $60,000)

Racehorses were the rock stars of the 19th century, and the excitement of racing is clearly demonstrated in an elaborately detailed Gorham silver racing trophy (Lot 500, $15,000 to $25,000). The Bard, a star racehorse owned by Mr. A. J. Cassatt, won the trophy in 1887 in the St. James Hotel race. In the New York Times, The Bard was referred to as “America’s greatest racehorse.”

Noteworthy paintings include a portrait of the Schooner Herald of New York, by William Pierce Stubbs (Lot 617, $6,000 to $8,000), and four exquisite miniature profile portraits attributed to “Mr. Boyd” (Lot 401, $8,000 to $12,000).

Other auction highlights include a colorful collection of American game boards from as early as the late 18th century. A painted wood baseball diamond dart board from the early 20th century (Lot 790, $400 to $600) is a rare find. Weathervanes abound in a variety of forms, from racehorses to roosters, cows, eagles, fish and ships.

Americana – Online Auction

Collectors can also bid on over 400 lots at their convenience during Skinner’s Americana – Online auction, taking place August 4 through August 11. Skinner specialists have hand-picked a selection of American furniture, decorative arts, and folk art items that can be purchased with ease online. Bidders also have the added value of previewing the online-only lots in person during the regular Marlborough preview hours.

Previews, Catalog, and Bidding

Previews for the auction will be held on Thursday, August 7, from noon to 5 P.M., Friday, August 8, from noon to 8 P.M., and Saturday, August 9, from noon to 5 P.M. Illustrated Catalog #2744M and 2743T is available from the Subscription Department, at 508-970-3240, or from the Gallery. Prices realized will be available online, at, both during and after the sale. The Skinner website enables users to view every lot in the auctions, leave bids, order catalogs and bid live, in real-time, through SkinnerLive!

About Skinner

Skinner auctions draw international interest from buyers and consignors alike, with material regularly achieving record prices. The company’s auction and appraisal services focus on fine art, jewelry, furniture, and decorative arts from around the globe, as well as wine, fine musical instruments, rare books, clocks, Judaica, and more. Monthly Skinner Discovery auctions feature a breadth of estate material. Widely regarded as one of the most trusted names in the business, Skinner appraisers have appeared on the PBS-TV series, Antiques Roadshow, since the show’s inception. Skinner has galleries in Boston and Marlborough, Massachusetts, as well as in Coral Gables, Florida, with an international audience of bidders participating in person, by phone, and online through the SkinnerLive! online bidding platform. For more information and to read our blog, visit the website at, find us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter @Skinnerinc.



Howard Roth: A Passion for Collecting

Wrought Iron Broiler (Lot 18, Estimate $1,500 - $2,500)

Guest blog post by Elliott and Grace Snyder.  The Howard Roth Collection of Early American Iron will be sold in Skinner’s August Americana auction on August 9, 2014 at 10AM in Marlborough, and in the Americana – Online auction from August 4, 2014 at 2PM through August 11, 2014 at 4PM. 

With his enthusiasm for the material, perseverance, and competitive spirit, Howard rarely let a great piece of American iron get away.… Read More

American Painted Furniture: A Journey from 1750 to 2014

Blue-painted Pine Corner Cupboard, probably New Hampshire, mid- 18th century

Excerpted from “Time and the Objects of our Desire” by Thatcher Freund,, originally published in New England Monthly, May 1989. 

One day, sometime around 1750, a carpenter laid down his tools, and the corner cupboard was finished. This cupboard was especially pretty. Its proportions, its arched opening, its nicely detailed molding and the raised panels on its doors – these gave the cupboard an elegance not usually found in others of the period.… Read More

Wayne Morrell: The Inspiration of Nature

Wayne Morrell, Sunlit Apple Blossoms

Guest blog post by Judith A. Curtis, Rockport Art Association, Massachusetts. Wayne Morrell: The Inspiration of Nature will be on view at Rockport Art Association July 18 through August 19, 2014.

A trained draftsman, Wayne Morrell approved the creed of American Impressionism that a painting should be filled with light emphasizing ‘solidity of objects and transparency of shadow,’ without losing form. “A work of art,” said Morrell, “should appeal to both the intellect and the heart and soul of the artist.”

Despite having no formal fine arts education, Morrell was undaunted by the ambiance he found on moving to Rockport, MA.… Read More

Silver Yacht Trophies Recall a Long History of America’s Cup Races

Tiffany & Co. Sterling Silver Larchmont Yacht Club Trophy, c. 1886

Are you a yacht enthusiast, braving the ocean waves to spend time sailing or racing? Or perhaps you follow America’s Cup, the prestigious yacht race named after the schooner America, the first winner of the race in 1851. Yachts and yacht clubs have undeniably shaped seaside culture, and silver trophies such as the ones pictured here represent the best of the best in yachting history.

In the 18th and early 19th century, yacht clubs were established in European countries such as Russia, Ireland and Sweden.… Read More

Revolutionary War History: The Musterfield Flints

Musket Flints England, 1770-1775, Flint, Concord Museum Collection, Gift of Mr. Benjamin L. Smith (1938) M412. Photo by the author.

At about 9:00 A.M. on the morning of April 19th, 1775, approximately 450 men from Concord and the neighboring towns of Acton, Lincoln, Bedford, and Westford congregated on a rising pasture above the North Bridge. Capt. David Brown, one of the captains of Concord’s two minute companies, happened to own the pasture, which had a good view of the bridge. In the nearby town of Lexington, 700 British grenadiers and light infantry had arrived to look for large quantities of hidden military supplies and arms.

Camels, Vikings, and Sphinxes, Oh My!

Viennese Table Clocks from a Private Southern Collector

From sturdy grandfather clocks to delicate pocket watches, clocks reflect a vast range of artistic styles and a wealth of artistic achievement. In our upcoming European Furniture & Decorative Arts auction on July 19th, we have the pleasure of offering a unique collection of Viennese table clocks. Produced during the late 19th century, these clocks epitomize the vibrancy of decorative art production at this time. The elaborate details of each clock, from figural finials to hairy lion paw feet, make the viewer imagine that the clocks are quite sizable, when in fact most are less than 8 inches tall.… Read More

August 5 | First Tuesdays in Marlborough

Robin Starr

Fine Art Consignment Days

Please join us for our monthly consignment event. Specialists from the Fine Art department will provide complimentary verbal appraisals for paintings, prints, works on paper, sculpture, and photography.

Fine Marble, Silver, Ceramics and More Highlight Auction

Viennese Table Clocks from a Private Southern Collector

BOSTON, MA – June 30, 2014  Skinner, Inc. is pleased to announce its July 19th auction of European Furniture & Decorative Arts, featuring a diverse selection of treasures, including private collections of 19th century marble sculpture and ornamental table clocks, a robust offering of American and European furniture from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, fine silver, and fine ceramics by Meissen, Wedgwood, Royal Worcester and more.… Read More

June 27 | Gallery Walk with Jonathan Fairbanks, Director, Fuller Craft Museum

Friday, June 27, 2014

Join us for an insider’s tour of auction highlights to benefit Fuller Craft Museum


Reception: 6PM Gallery Walk: 6:30PM

All are welcome to attend a free event at the Skinner Boston Gallery. Join us for a Gallery Walk with Jonathan Fairbanks, Director, Fuller Craft Museum and 20th Century Design Director Jane Prentiss. They will discuss contemporary artists’ works offered in the June 28th auction to benefit Fuller Craft Museum.… Read More

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