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Auctioneers and Appraisers

Author Archives: Stephen Fletcher

Stylish Living in New York City: The Greenberg and Faraminian Collection

After Albert Ernest Carrier Belluse (French, 1824-1887) L’enlevement D’hippodame (Lot 246)

An army veteran, Dr. Jesse Greenberg graduated from Rosalind Franklin School of Medicine in Chicago in 1954. His partner, William Faraminian, pursued a career with the United Nations. Dr. Greenberg and Mr. Faraminian split their time between New Jersey and an apartment on Sutton Place in New York City, where they stayed as they enjoyed the ballet, opera, and the arts.… Read More

A Tale of Two Portraits: A Previously Undiscovered Folk Art Painting Brings $252,000 at Auction

Sold for $252,000: Attributed to Sturtevant J. Hamblen (Massachusetts, 1806-1873) Portrait of Young Girl Seated in a Rocking Chair with Her Dog

I’ve been an appraiser on Antiques Roadshow since the very first episode in Concord, Massachusetts  eighteen  years ago. Now, the Emmy® Award nominated show attracts thousands of people to events in cities around the country. I love meeting these people and seeing what keepsakes they treasure.… Read More

Collecting American Pottery: Focus on Mochaware

Mochaware was everyday pottery in early America. The simple, geometric decorations and dynamic colors have remained timeless and popular since first made in England in the early 19th century. The August 11, 2013 American Furniture & Decorative Arts auction features a group of mochaware from private estates as well as other consignors. An early 19th-century barrel-form pitcher (lot 414, $500 to $700) and a silver-mounted mustard pot (lot 420, $300 to $500) are two examples of the variety of forms to be sold.… Read More

ADA Award of Merit Dinner in Philadelphia

Peter Tillou (Photo courtesy of the ADA)

Next week, the American antiques world will shift its attention to Philadelphia, where the annual Philadelphia Antiques Show will be held. A highlight of the show weekend is always the annual Award of Merit Dinner presented by the ADA (Antiques Dealers’ Association of America), which honors a figure from the world of antiques who has had a lifetime of achievement and impact on the field.

The ADA invites you to attend the dinner on Saturday, April 13th in honor of the well-known dealer Peter Tillou.… Read More

F.W. Woolworth, the American Dream, and a Silver Punch Bowl

Sterling Silver Presentation Punch Bowl Commemorating the Opening of the F.W. Woolworth Building (Lot 227, Estimate $30,000-$50,000)

Few pieces of design excited the early modern American imagination like Cass Gilbert’s skyscraper for F.W. Woolworth. Built in Manhattan as the tallest building in the world (792 feet tall), it literally pushed to new heights the frontiers of modern engineering and design. Referring to Woolworth’s success as a five-and-dime magnate, the New York Times would later call the building “the skyscraper built by the nickels of millions.” The 20th century archetype for the American Dream started his first shop with a few borrowed and saved dollars; by the time he commissioned Gilbert to design his corporate headquarters, he was personally worth many millions.… Read More

Remembering Bob Skinner

I met Bob Skinner in 1964 at one of his first auctions in Harvard, Massachusetts. He helped me load a Silas Hoadley tall case clock into my car. At $85, it was a big purchase for a 17-year-old! I worked for Bob Skinner that summer, and again after graduating from Wellesley High School. After I joined the Navy, Nancy Skinner wrote to me regularly with updates on Bob’s antique adventures. When I returned home, a job was waiting for me in Bolton, Massachusetts.

Auction Highlights: A Rare French Canadian Chest of Drawers

Canadian Furniture | Antique Chest of Drawers

This antique commode looks like it could be American. It also looks like it could be French. It’s a piece of furniture that we don’t encounter very often at all, in fact. I first saw this little three-drawer bureau many months ago in a house on Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

This piece was an interesting read from the start: an unusual piece of furniture, in a dark room, being used as a TV table. A closer look revealed one major clue: the secondary wood. Eastern white pine was used to make the drawer sides and the backboard. A gut reaction told me that it was a rare piece from French Canada. Only when it finally arrived at Skinner, in time for our recent Americana auction in August, were we able to examine it to the degree it deserved.

Antique Weathervanes, Part I: Horses, Roosters, and Cars… Oh My!

Collectors of American antiques love weathervanes. In fact, people love them so much that during the 60s and 70s antique weathervanes started disappearing from roofs across America. Thieves were stealing the valuable vanes in the middle of the night. I heard stories of weathervanes being stolen away by helicopter – they swooped down and lifted weathervanes off of barn roofs.

Visiting Beauport with Antiques Roadshow Host Mark L. Walberg

Beauport, a historic landmark on Eastern Point in Gloucester, Massachusetts, was the home of Henry Davis Sleeper. Sleeper exemplifies the passion of a veteran collector with his talent for creating a unique atmosphere. Even today, a century after he purchased Beauport, his ideas and arrangements are innovative, exciting, and inspiring to collectors and decorators.

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