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.

The Collection of Jazz Guitarist John Abercrombie | Video Gallery

At once guitar hero and guitar anti-hero, John Abercrombie (1944-2017) was hard to pin down. Unlike most whose musical identity is tied to a specific make and model (Jimi Hendrix and his Fender Stratocaster, or Bill Monroe and his Gibson F-5), his was more fluid, constantly evolving; swapping this for that, pick for thumb, guitar synth for electric mandolin, etc. It is for this reason, perhaps, that when in 2003 a house fire decimated his collection, John rebuilt with instruments from across four continents. The collection now comes to auction as part of the November 9-19 Fine Musical Instruments auction.

Highlighted by important celebrity memorabilia, the collection includes Buddy Cage’s custom Emmons pedal steel (Lot 1245), a pair of speaker cabinets from the Grateful Dead’s Wall of Sound (Lot 1246), and Eric Dolphy’s Selmer alto saxophone (Lot 1247). Additionally, a rare violin by Jacob Fendt (Lot 1202), silver-mounted violin bow by Victor Fetique (Lot 1099), and early clavichord by John Challis (Lot 1071) round out the sale of 275 lots.

Listen to some of the guitars played below by guitarist Colin Sapp, Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music.

Lot 1248: Brian Moore Custom Shop DC/1 Electric Guitar, c. 2001

Lot 1249: Brian Moore Custom Shop Signature Model Electric Guitar, 2004

Lot 1266: James L. Mapson Jazz Standard Electric Archtop Guitar, 2000

Lot 1267: Ric McCurdy Albion Electric Guitar, c. 2013

Lot 1268: Ric McCurdy Mercury Electric Archtop Guitar, c. 2004

Lot 1269: Sadowsky Semi-Hollow Prototype Electric Guitar, 2006

Lot 1270: Sadowsky Paulownia T-Style Electric Guitar, 2010

Lot 1271: Sadowsky S-Style Electric Guitar, 1994

Lot 1272: Soulezza Signature Model Headless Electric Guitar

Lot 1273: Stefan Schottmueller Television Electric Guitar, 2007

Maine Rocks: The Tourmaline of Maine

Maine’s iconic coast brings to mind images of granite cliffs leading to bold ocean views in places such as Monhegan Island, or of coastlines strewn with rocks and pebbles made smooth over time. Lighthouses stand guard to guide boats away from treacherous rocks. Pink granite cliffs highlight the coastline of Acadia National Park and Mt. Desert Island. 

As children, my cousins and I were fascinated by the tidal pools encircled by rocks as the water ebbed and flowed.… Read More

Reflecting the Natural World: Respite and Shelter in Rug Design

The endless fecundity — and beauty — of the natural world is a constant theme in antique rugs, and that is especially true of the selection for our Fall 2020 Sale. The importance of the idea of “the Garden” is an often-noted feature of Islamic Art in general, and Persian Art in particular. A garden, of course, has echoes of the original Paradise, Eden, as well as the Paradise to come. But beyond all notions of the life-to-come, a garden, no matter how small, represents respite and shelter in a region where much of the landscape is arid and unforgiving.… Read More

Virtual First Tuesday | November 3

Join us for First Tuesday online!


See what hidden treasures our experts may be able to reveal

We invite you to join us online for our Virtual First Tuesday on November 3. Submit your items anytime before the 3rd and Skinner specialists from all departments will be on hand on Tuesday to evaluate items and respond by email.

Let’s get started: 

Step 1: Gather information and images for up to three items of fine & decorative arts, furniture, jewelry, silver, watches & coins and much more.Read More

Consider This: Collecting Chinese Textiles

Subject and Symbolism

The symbols depicted on a textile can tell you quite specifically what the function was and who would have owned it. Chimes, twin fish, and double happiness characters are symbols for blessings in marriage, designating a marriage robe. At the same time, Imperial dragons were strictly only used on Imperial textiles until the later parts of the Qing dynasty. 

Manchu Wedding Robe, China, 19th century. Sold for $9,225 in September 2019.

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October Regional Consignment Days | Maine & Westchester

We invite you to join us online for regional consignment days in Maine and Westchester, New York. Skinner specialists look forward to evaluating items via email, and beginning the conversation about the advantages of selling at auction.

Gather information and images for up to three items of fine & decorative arts, furniture, jewelry, silver, watches & coins and much more. Send an email with the information and images at, or at the buttons below.… Read More

The Allure of Chinese Blue and White Porcelain

Chinese blue and white porcelain has an appealing charm that has long been recognized among art collectors and ceramics aficionados. Many elements contribute to this, but the most prominent would be the cobalt blue color. In China, the use of blue pigment on ceramics began as early as the late Tang dynasty. Still, it was not until the late Yuan dynasty that blue and white porcelain gained popularity, and production started in sizable quantities.… Read More

Identifying Counterfeit Whiskies with Joe Hyman

Rare Spirits Specialist, Joe Hyman, delves into the fascinating subject of counterfeit spirits bottles and shows us what to look out for. Three whiskies in recent months raised red flags and Joe points out the reasons why. Watch now to uncover telltale counterfeit signs on labels, capsules and yes, even when tasting.

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Jewelry Under the Tent Consignment Event | October 7


Join us on Wednesday, October 7, to have your jewelry evaluated for our November auctions! Skinner’s Jewelry department will be hosting an outdoor consignment day at our Marlborough Gallery.

Auction results from recent jewelry consignment days:

Antique Sapphire and Diamond Ring, sold for $339,000 Van Cleef & Arpels “Three Wise Monkeys” Brooch, sold for $13,750 Art Deco Platinum, Ruby, and Diamond Ring, sold for $35,670

Have you been wondering when the best time would be to sell jewelry?… Read More

10 Designers to Buy Now – Create a Unique Work From Home Space from Auction

Learn how to reasonably acquire and assemble a stylish work-from-home space to improve your productivity and video teleconferencing presence


Join us on Zoom for the talk 10 Designers to Buy Now – Create a Unique Work From Home Space from Auctions by Director of 20th Century Design, Dan Ayer.

Let’s face it, working from home and video teleconference is the “new normal.” If you haven’t done so already, or need inspiration, now is the time to create a sophisticated and functional workspace to step up your Zoom game.… Read More

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