06-15-2014 06-16-2014
Skinner Auctions
Skinner Auctions Marlborough MA
2731M Marlborough
June 15, 2014 12:00 PMCalender

Shaker Herb Label "Make-do" Box

Auction: American Furniture & Decorative Arts - 2731M Location: Marlborough Date / Time: June 15, 2014 12:00PM


Shaker Herb Label "Make-do" Box, Mount Lebanon, New York, mid-19th century, the roughly circular cardboard form covered with labels, (water damage), ht. 8 1/2, dia. 12 in.

Gather Up the Fragments, p. 191.

An excellent example of the accidental preservation of Shaker printing is this pasted-up box covered entirely in broadsides advertising Sarsaparilla, Phthisis Eradicating Syrup, and Vegetable Pulmonary Pills. The contents of the box, when it was found by the Andrewses, included a sister's net cap and shoe, a section of peg-rail, palm leaf bonnet braiding, a duster handle, and spool. Boxes such as this are wonderful instances of the Shakers' eminent practicality in reusing materials.

The frugality of the anonymous brother or sister who made this item insured the chance survival of these seemingly unrecorded broadsides. Few such boxes are known, though noted scholar and collector M. Stephen Miller acquired one that yielded very early examples of Shaker hymn printing. While one would hate to think of this box being deconstructed, it is true that a paper conservator might carefully exhume even more treasures from this object than currently meet the eye.

Estimate $6,000-8,000

The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


Lebanon, printing, scholar and collector, M. Stephen Miller, hymn printing