One of the first steps to buying art and antiques at auction is finding a collecting category that interests you, suits your personal taste, and ideally, has a broad array of offerings in a wide range of price points for both novice and seasoned collectors. Americana meets all these criteria.
You may be wondering, “What does Americana mean?” Americana incorporates a broad range of American antiques, including furniture and decorative arts, typically from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, and select offerings from the 20th century.
Americana could be described as broadly as “all things American,” but it usually includes material such as formal and country furniture, marine paintings, marine arts, naive portraiture, pottery, early glass, American silver, folk art, trade signs, gameboards, weathervanes, early needlework, hooked rugs, woodenware, early lighting, and more. It can be fancy or plain, from very formal to downright primitive, so finding that perfect chest of drawers or a great work of art for your walls might be easier than you think.
The great news for collectors at all levels is that opportunities for finding great deals at American antiques auctions are virtually endless and the price range could not be wider—from a few hundred dollars to the sky’s the limit. Skinner hosts four Americana auctions annually.
American Furniture & Decorative Arts is one of Skinner’s best known departments and department director Stephen Fletcher is one of the world’s foremost experts in collecting Americana. His best advice? Just buy what you like—what appeals to you, what would look great in your home, what you could live with comfortably.
Learn all that you can about what it is you’d like to collect—know the hallmarks of great design, how to spot quality workmanship, the importance of condition, what’s considered a rare find, and the value that provenance can bring to a piece. Then brush up on these tips for How to Buy at Auction.
Attend an auction preview and view the property up for bid. If you can’t attend the preview in person, view it online. All Skinner auctions offer online preview and condition requests.
To see what Skinner Americana Auctions have to offer, Follow Stephen Fletcher as he takes us on a tour of a recent American Furniture & Decorative Arts Auction preview.