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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.

Skinner Auctions American Furniture & Decorative Arts June 7th in Boston

BOSTON, Mass. – May 21, 2009 – www.skinnerinc.comSkinner, Inc. one of the nation’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art, today announced it will host an auction of American Furniture and Decorative Arts on Sunday, June 7th at 11 a.m. in its Boston gallery.  Quintessential Americana – and in many cases from New England – Queen Anne, Federal, painted, and country furniture examples, tall clocks, ship portraits, marine arts, basketry, naïve portraiture, mochaware, weather vanes, hooked rugs, needlework, and more will be up for bid.

In addition to these offerings, Skinner will present 46 lots of primitive and folk art items from the collection of William Greenspon of New York City.  A student of modern art and an artist himself, Greenspon’s unique collection features carved masks, trade signs, and larger than life folk art sculptures from the 19th and 20th centuries.   Other collections featured in the sale rein from Cape Cod, Concord, Mass., New Hampshire, New York, Kentucky, Maine, Connecticut, and Washington State.  Noteworthy provenance includes the Walters and Edgell families of Baltimore, Maryland and New York, cosmetics industry giant Elizabeth Arden Graham, descendents of Theophilus Parsons, the estate of Nancy Wood of Brookline, Massachusetts, and the estate of Samuel Codman, in Pride’s Crossing, Massachusetts.

The Herbert Nilson Collection – Session III

This final session of The Herbert Nilson Collection offers some of its finest works.  Nilson, a Lexington native and longstanding member of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, dedicated his life to the collection of clocks and timepieces.  Highlights of the Nilson collection include a mahogany balance wheel steeple clock by S.B. Terry, Plymouth, CT (lot 70, est. $15/20,000); a mahogany regulator wall clock by J.N. Dunning, Burlington, VT (lot 37, est. $15/20,000); a mahogany gallery wall clock also by J.N. Dunning (lot 35, est. $15/25,000); and a mahogany and cherry outside escapement box clock attributed to Eli Terry (lot 1, est. $12/18,000).

Kentucky Derby Trophy

A special highlight of the auction is the 1947 Kentucky Derby Gold Winner’s Trophy and commemorative Mint Julep Cup (lot 223, est. $60/80,000), won by the American thoroughbred racehorse Jet Pilot, owned by cosmetics industry giant Elizabeth Arden.  Descended through the family of Arden, the trophy had been considered all but lost by Derby devotees until it was consigned to Skinner.  The Kentucky Derby gold winner’s trophy is believed to be the only solid gold trophy annually awarded to the winner of a major American sporting event since 1924, the “Golden Anniversary” of the Derby.  The year 1947 was the 73rd running of the Derby and it was the first Derby race to officially feature a photo finish.


A featured sale highlight is a Chippendale carved mahogany block-front desk, c. 1760-80 (lot 186, est. $40/60,000), exemplary of Boston furniture from the period.  Purchased by Mrs. Ernest L. Reuter from Israel Sack in 1919, the desk is made of very dense mahogany, has its original brass, and has a well-developed interior.  Of beautifully restrained quality and fashion, the block-front form flourished in Boston at the time of its making.  Also of note is a pair of Federal card tables from the North Shore of Massachusetts, c. 1810 (lot 213, est. $10/15,000).  The tables were originally owned by Theophilus Parsons, an influential Massachusetts political figure of the late 18th and early 19th century, who served as a member of the Massachusetts Supreme Court from 1806 until his death in 1813.  Rare is it to find a pair of tables of this quality and condition.

Other furniture offerings likely to be contended include a pretty set of four pine, maple and hickory painted bow-back chairs of good height (lot 251, est. $3/5,000); a Queen Anne walnut dressing table, c. 1730-50, Boston (lot 177, est. $20/30,000); a Joshua Wilder Federal mahogany tall clock of Southeastern Massachusetts origin with Massachusetts dial in a Roxbury case (lot 214, est. $20/30,000); and a yellow-painted pine Shaker freestanding cupboard (lot 260, est. $4/6,000), which was sold by the Shakers in 1923 for twenty dollars to Dr. and Mrs. Charles Upton of Ithaca, NY.

Paintings and Portraits

One of the jewels of the sale is a carved and stained pine “relief painting” entitled Striped Bass Fishing by Leander Allen Plummer II (lot 159, est. $50/75,000).  Plummer, of New Bedford, MA, made these deeply carved wood reliefs that he stained with pigments he devised to create a life-like appearance.  Plummer’s panels became popular with fisherman and sportsmen, and by 1906 he had orders for approximately forty to fifty relief paintings.  Among the many works Plummer executed, he considered this his masterpiece and it hung over his home’s fireplace.  A large number of his works were lost in a fire, making this piece all the more desirable.  Another spectacular work is a mourning picture for Mrs. Mary Lothrop of Cohasset, Massachusetts, c. 1832 (lot 194, est. $15/25,000).  This picture has survived with much of its color intact, it was well cared for and is likely in its original frame.  The house portrayed in the picture was Mary and husband Caleb’s home in Cohasset, which is still standing, and is now home to the Cohasset Historical Society.

A very interesting portrait of a husband and wife (lot 317, est. $8/15,000), unsigned, will also be featured.  The naive piece has the couple seated looking straight at us with brightly tassels drapes in the background.  Rounding out the offerings are two booklets with watercolor illustrations, poetry, and hairwork keepsakes (lot 199, est. $4/6,000).  The booklets, produced by mother of two, Celia White Pearsall of New York, are cloth bound with fifty-six pages, ten of which have full watercolor illustrations.

Previews and Special Event

Previews for the auction will be held Wednesday, June 3rd from 12-5 p.m., Thursday, June 4th from 12-8 p.m., Friday, June 5th from 12 -8 p.m., Saturday, June 6th from 12- 5 p.m. and Sunday, June 7th from 8-10 a.m.  On Friday evening, June 5th, Skinner Americana director, Stephen Fletcher and specialist Martha

Hamilton will host an Americana Gallery Walk and Reception beginning at 5:30 p.m. in conjunction with the preview.  To attend the Americana Gallery Walk, please R.S.V.P. to Skinner’s Boston gallery at 617-350-5400.

Catalog Information

Illustrated catalogue #2460 is available by mail for $35 ($42 for foreign requests) from the subscription department at 978-779-6241 x240.  It is also available at the gallery for $32.  Prices realized will be available at during and after the sales.  For more information on the auctions, auction preview times, and the gallery walk, visit Skinner’s website at  Skinner’s site also allows users to view all lots in the auctions, leave bids, and order catalogs online.

Skinner-Live! Online Bidding on Skinner’s Website

Skinner’s website now features real-time online bidding via the SkinnerLive! bid applet.  Visit and click on the blue Skinner Live Bidding button for full instructions prior to the auction.  The blue Skinner Live Bidding button can be found under the Buy/Sell tab on our homepage and on the American Furniture & Decorative Arts department page.  Once pre-registered on our website, you can join in the live bidding as soon as the auction begins.  All lots in the auction are also available for viewing at The website provides full-color thumbnail images and full lot descriptions.  It allows users to leave bids online, and view prices realized in real-time during and after the auction.  Visit to sign up for our free eZine of upcoming arts & antiques auctions and events.

About Skinner

Skinner, Inc. is one of the nation’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art.  With expertise in over 20 specialty collecting areas, Skinner draws the interest of buyers from all over the world and its auctions regularly achieve world record prices.  Skinner provides a broad range of auction and appraisal services, and it is widely regarded as one of the most trusted names in the auction business.   Skinner’s appraisal experts regularly appear on the PBS-TV series, Antiques Roadshow, and its specialty departments include American Furniture & Decorative Arts, American & European Paintings & Prints, European Furniture & Decorative Arts, 20th Century Design, Fine Ceramics, Fine Jewelry, Couture, Fine Musical Instruments, Asian Works of Art, Fine Wines, Rare Books & Manuscripts, Oriental Rugs & Carpets, American Indian & Ethnographic Art, Fine Judaica, Antique Motor Vehicles, Toys, Dolls & Collectibles, Discovery and Science, Technology & Clocks.  Skinner galleries are located in Boston and Marlborough, Mass.  For more information on upcoming auctions and events, visit Skinner’s web site



Fine Wines Auction May 21st in Boston

BOSTON, Mass. – May 8, 2009 – Skinner, Inc., one of the nation’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art, will host an auction of Fine Wines on May 21st at 5 p.m. in its Boston gallery.  In partnership with Lower Falls Wine Company, Skinner will offer stellar consignments of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Napa and Port wines.

Featured in the sale are full cases from the 2000 vintage of Chateau La Mission Haut Brion (lot 59, est.… Read More

Oriental Rugs & Carpets Auction May 9th in Boston

BOSTON, Mass. – April 30, 2009 – – Skinner, one of the nation’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art, today announced it will host an auction of Fine Oriental Rugs and Carpets at its Boston gallery, located at 63 Park Plaza, on Saturday, May 9th at noon.  More than 300 lots, including 50 room-sized carpets, will be offered with palates, patterns and prices to suit every kind of buyer.… Read More

Skinner to Offer Fine Judaica May 21st

BOSTON, Mass. – April 30, 2009 – – Skinner, one of the nation’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art, today announced it will host an auction of Fine Judaica in its Boston gallery on Thursday, May 21st at noon.  The sale numbers over 200 lots and is devoted entirely to antique and artisan Judaica.  Featured is a diverse group of material from Jewish communities worldwide, including some of finest examples of Judaica that Skinner has offered in many years, much of it fresh-to-the-market after 60 years in collection.… Read More

Picasso and Matisse Headline American & European Paintings Auction May 15th

BOSTON, Mass. – April 29, 2009 – www.skinnerinc.comSkinner, Inc., one of the nation’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art, today announced that its upcoming American and European Paintings sale will take place on Friday, May 15th in its Boston gallery located at 63 Park Plaza.  More than 500 lots of paintings will be offered.  This sale will feature one of the auction house’s most impressive offerings to date with works from Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Henry Moore, and Salvador Dalí coming to Skinner from notable collections.… Read More

Skinner to Auction 1947 Kentucky Derby Trophy

BOSTON, Mass. – April 28, 2009 – – Skinner, Inc., one of the nation’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art, announces it will auction a 1947 Kentucky Derby 14 kt Gold Winner’s Trophy and Commemorative Mint Julep Cup, won by the American thoroughbred racehorse Jet Pilot, owned by Elizabeth Arden.  The trophy will go on the block in Skinner’s June 7th auction of American Furniture & Decorate Arts. … Read More

Fine Musical Instruments Auction May 3rd at Skinner

BOSTON, Mass. – April 16, 2009 – www.skinnerinc.comSkinner, one of the nation’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art, will host an auction of Fine Musical Instruments on Sunday, May 3rd in its Boston gallery at noon.  More than 400 lots will be offered.  Featured is a stunning example of the world’s most sought after electric guitar, the 1959 Les Paul Standard (lot 22), which more than any other guitar has achieved legendary status among guitar collectors, players, and investors everywhere for playability, sound, beauty and investment power. … Read More

Skinner Auctions Asian Works of Art April 24th & 25th

BOSTON, Mass. – April 10, 2009 – – Skinner, one of the nation’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art, will host its semi-annual auction of Asian Works of Art this month in its Boston gallery.  The sale will be offered in two sessions: Session I takes place on Friday, April 24th at 4 p.m. and consists of 278 lots; Session II will be held on Saturday, April 25th at 10 a.m. and will offer over a thousand lots of Asian arts.… Read More

Skinner Hosts Discovery Auction Featuring Ephemera & Collectibles

MARLBOROUGH, Mass. – April 1, 2009 – – On April 15 -16, 2009, Skinner, Inc., one of the nation’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art, will host a two-day Discovery auction featuring Ephemera & Collectibles in its gallery in Marlborough, Mass.  Session I begins on Wednesday April 15th at 5 p.m. at 274 Cedar Hill Street, Skinner’s new facility located off exit 23C on Route 495, just north of the Mass Pike. … Read More

Skinner March Jewelry Auction Grosses High Estimate Despite Economic Downturn

BOSTON, Mass. –March 24, 2009 – – Skinner, one of the nation’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art, today announced the results of its Fine Jewelry sale last week which grossed $1,768,021.00, achieving the sale’s high estimate despite the current economic conditions and uncertainty in the marketplace.

A number of the top selling lots came to Skinner from the family of William and Henry Walters, who established Baltimore’s Waters Art Museum. … Read More

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