It's official! The gallery is open. The new 4,000 square foot space is open in Canton, Mass at 1 Wattles Street. We are very pleased to offer four gallery rooms filled with exceptional American furniture and clocks. It has been a long time coming, but now we are able to display the majority of our inventory in one space. Come and view these wonderful 18th & early 19th Century antiques in a comfortable gallery setting. This is one of the largest inventories available. It has been some time since the Boston area has had such an important group of antiques available in a single gallery space. We are available weekdays by chance or appointment and encourage a call ahead to be sure we are open. The gallery is convenient from all points, just off route 95 at exit 11A in Canton. Travel 3/4 of a mile to first traffic light, go left and travel 250 yards to our gallery on the right. 1 Wattles Street, Canton, Mass Call us at 781-828-1650. See you soon.
Thank you to those who were able to make our opening event. A great night was had by all. It is always great to have such a big group of enthusiast together at one time. It was a thrill to host and a rewarding chance to showcase our extensive inventory. Of course we are glad to receive anyone who did make the event. To give an idea of the space I have posted some of the photos and included a link to some coverage we received from Antiques and Fine Art magazine. Johanna McBrien was kind enough to include a slew of photos. Follow this link to view that story at InCollect. We expect more stories in related press and I will be sure to post them when there are in.
We began to gear up for the 2015 Delaware Antique show in mid-September. This was close on the heels of a busy Summer and Fall, following the opening of the new gallery. It was a new and far easier experience putting together the show from the gallery. The result was another great show in Delaware. The attendees are intelligent and well informed enthusiasts. The proximity of the show to Winterthur Museum seems to attract them and it is a pleasure to have them in our booth. They were eager to purchase furniture this year, which was good because we had a much larger booth along the back wall. The booth was almost twice a wide and full of nearly 20 clocks of various forms and even more furniture and decorations. Click here to view a brief video showing a portion of the booth.
Please be sure to visit us at our new gallery around the holidays and definitely join us next year in Delaware.
I looked at our last blog over the weekend and I was embarrassed to see that it was posted over a year ago. Well that is certainly not due to lack of effort. 2014 was the busiest year I can remember. Now we are headed into 2015, which will be my 40th year in the antiques business. It seems fitting that I start by recapping 2014 and highlighting some of those things which have kept Matt and I too busy to blog. Then I promise to keep up with events and maybe sprinkle in some “best of” stories from the past 40 years.
The last blog was prior to the opening of an exhibit of Early American Musical clock that I curated at the Willard House and Clock Museum. The exhibit was a massive success. The clocks all played their music beautifully and it was impressive to see all these masterpieces together in one space. Thank you to all who participated. The catalogs are still available at the Willard House.
You can take a video tour of the exhibit here. The exhibit placed a spotlight on the project and on Musical Clocks in general, prompting the discovery of some missing and unknown examples. I have made great progress on the related book and have completed the manuscript. Matt and I have visited almost all of the clocks that will appear in the book, which promises to have nearly 400 illustrations. We are very excited to go to print and hope to be published by mid 2015.
I just recently had the privilege of visiting the extraordinary collections at The White House and the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. I was there to examine and photograph two clocks that will be in the book. An amazing Effingham Embree from New York is in the White House collection and a rare Thomas Harland from Norwich, Connecticut is at the Diplomatic Reception Rooms of the State Department. What a privilege to be up close to these important examples and to have the opportunity to view such significant collections of early American material culture.
I can’t believe I am doing this, but I have already begun my next research project. A year ago, I was asked by Patricia Kane, the Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Yale University Art Gallery to write a section on clocks for her forthcoming project. Pat has been compiling information for the Rhode Island Furniture Archive, which is a comprehensive catalog of all known examples of Rhode Island furniture. The culmination of this massive, multi-year project will be an exhibit and related catalogue. I am delighted to have the chance to work with such a talented and dedicated scholar and as Matt put it, “When Yale comes knocking, you let them in”. So currently, Pat and I have been making selections of noteworthy Rhode Island clocks to include in the catalogue and then I’m off to catalog them (in my spare time). Thankfully, Pat has already done much of the legwork. I am very excited, particularly since Rhode Island furniture is near and dear to me.
Last January was the first time in many years that I did not do a show in New York City during Americana Week. My focus on the Musical exhibit did not permit it. This was fortuitous because on January 1st, my 2-year-old golden retriever ran into me at full speed, breaking my leg just below the knee. I spent antiques week in a wheel chair. With Matt’s help, we managed to view each auction and attend the opening of the East Side show. Some of you may remember the major snowstorm that fell mid-week last year, which added to the drama. All and all it was great though, I got to slow down, look at everything and connect with many people.
A highlight of 2014 was examining a tall case clock for Historic Deerfield, with Deerfield President, Philip Zea. This important clock, which was being offered at Sotheby’s Auction in New York was made by Boston clockmaker, Aaron Willard and Dorchester, Massachusetts cabinetmaker, Stephen Badlam for Asa Stebbins, one of Deerfield’s wealthiest and most respected citizens. Stebbins purchased the clock around 1799, when he built a remarkable home, which is now part of Historic Deerfield and is open to the public. Phil was hoping to return the clock to its original home. I’ll save the details of that story for another blog. Hint, it has a happy ending.
After an invitation from Winterthur, Matt and I took a booth at the Delaware antique show for the first time. For years I had been encouraged by various colleagues to try the show. It was a complete success. The clientele who visit this show are enthusiastic and highly knowledgeable. The vast majority of the people visiting my booth knew exactly what they were looking at, so the conversations began at a much higher level. We sold great things and had our best show ever. We will absolutely be returning next year. Maine Antique Digest did a nice write-up of the show. Follow this link to view the article.
Well that’s a good start, not all that went on but I will fill in the details over the coming months. I promise.
I have never been much of a a baseball card aficionado, but as a dealer and collector, this is the type of story that keeps us hunting for treasure. You never know where that pot of gold is hiding. Thank you to Derin Bray for posting it on face book for me to discover. Here is the story as ESPN reported:
DEFIANCE, Ohio -- Karl Kissner picked up a soot-covered cardboard box that had been under a wooden dollhouse in his grandfather's attic. Taking a look inside, he saw hundreds of baseball cards bundled with twine. They were smaller than the ones he was used to seeing.
But some of the names were familiar: Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Cy Young and Honus Wagner.
Then he put the box on a dresser and went back to digging through the attic.
It wasn't until two weeks later that he learned that his family had come across what experts say is one of the biggest, most exciting finds in the history of sports card collecting, a discovery worth perhaps millions.
The cards are from an extremely rare series issued around 1910. Up to now, the few known to exist were in so-so condition at best, with faded images and worn edges. But the ones from the attic in the town of Defiance are nearly pristine, untouched for more than a century. The colors are vibrant, the borders crisp and white.
"It's like finding the Mona Lisa in the attic," Kissner said.
Sports card experts who authenticated the find say they may never again see something this impressive.
"Every future find will ultimately be compared to this," said Joe Orlando, president of Professional Sports Authenticator.
The best of the bunch -- 37 cards -- are expected to bring a total of $500,000 when they are sold at auction in August during the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore. There are about 700 cards in all that could be worth up to $3 million, experts say. They include such legends as Christy Mathewson and Connie Mack.
Kissner and his family say the cards belonged to their grandfather, Carl Hench, who died in the 1940s. Hench ran a meat market in Defiance, and the family suspects he got them as a promotional item from a candy company that distributed them with caramels. They think he gave some away and kept others.
"We guess he stuck them in the attic and forgot about them," Kissner said. "They remained there frozen in time."
After Hench and his wife died, two of his daughters lived in the house. Jean Hench kept the house until she died last October, leaving everything inside to her 20 nieces and nephews. Kissner, 51, is the youngest and was put in charge of the estate. His aunt was a pack rat, and the house was filled with three generations of stuff.
They found calendars from the meat market, turn-of-the-century dresses, a steamer trunk from Germany and a dresser with Grandma's clothes neatly folded in the drawers.
Months went by before they even got to the attic. On Feb. 29, Kissner's cousin Karla Hench pulled out the dirty green box with metal clips at the corners and lifted the lid.
Not knowing whether the cards were valuable, the two cousins put the box aside. But Kissner decided to do a little research. The cards were at his office in the restaurant he owns when he realized they might have something. He immediately took them across the street and put them in a bank vault.
Still not knowing whether the cards were real, they sent eight to expert Peter Calderon at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, which recently sold the baseball that rolled through the legs of Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner in the 1986 World Series for $418,000.
Calderon said his first words were "Oh, my God."
"I was in complete awe," he said. "You just don't see them this nice."
The cards are from what is known as the E98 series. It is not clear who manufactured them or how many were produced, but the series consists of 30 players, half of them Hall of Famers.
The experts at Heritage Auctions checked out the family's background, the age of the home and the history of the meat market. They looked at the cards and how they were printed.
"Everything lines up," said Chris Ivy, the company's director of sports auctions.
They then sent all the cards to Professional Sports Authenticator, which had previously authenticated fewer than 700 E98s. The Ohio cards were the finest examples from the E98 series the company had ever seen.
The company grades cards on a 1-to-10 scale based of their condition. Up to now, the highest grade it had ever given a Ty Cobb card from the E98 series was a 7. Sixteen Cobbs found in the Ohio attic were graded a 9 -- almost perfect. A Honus Wagner was judged a 10, a first for the series.
Retired sports card auctioneer Barry Sloate of New York City said: "This is probably the most interesting find I've heard of."
The highest price ever paid for a baseball card is $2.8 million, handed over in 2007 for a 1909 Honus Wagner that was produced by the American Tobacco Co. and included in packs of cigarettes. Another similar Wagner card brought $1.2 million in April. (Wagner's tobacco cards were pulled from circulation, either because the ballplayer didn't want to encourage smoking among children or because he wanted more money.)
Heritage Auctions plans to sell most of the Ohio cards over the next two of three years through auctions and private sales so that it doesn't flood the market. In all, they could bring $2 million or $3 million, Ivy said.
The Hench family is evenly dividing the cards and the money among the 20 cousins named in their aunt's will. All but a few have decided to sell their share.
"These cards need to be with those people who appreciate and enjoy them," Kissner said.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
This is a great story about the time capsule recently discovered in the cornerstone of the Massachusetts State House. It was originally placed there in 1795 by Paul Revere and Governor, Samuel Adams, not knowing if it would ever be discovered. The idea of it is so interesting and thought provoking, I think it is worth the read. Here is a link to the story:
A Parisian apartment left untouched for over 70 years was discovered in the quartier of Pigalle a few summers ago. The owner of this apartment, Mrs. De Florian left Paris just before the rumblings of World War II broke out in Europe. She closed up her shutters and left for the South of France, never to return to the city again. Seven decades later she passed away at the age of 91. It was only when her heirs enlisted professionals to make an inventory of the Parisian apartment she left behind, that this time capsule was finally unlocked. The team that had the honor of opening what must have been a very stiff old lock for the first time in 70 years, likened the experience to ‘stumbling into the castle of sleeping beauty’. The smell of dust, the cobwebs, the silence, was overwhelming; a once in a lifetime experience.
There is a further twist to the story. In the apartment a painting of familiar style was discovered of a beautiful woman in pink. One of the inventory team members suspected this might be a very important piece of treasure. Along with the painting, they also found stacks of old love letters tied with colored ribbon.
With some expert historical opinion, the ribbon-bound love letters were quickly recognized as the calling card of none other than Giovanni Boldini, one of Paris’ most important painters of the Belle Époque. The painting was his. The beautiful woman pictured in the painting was Mrs. de Florian’s grand-mother, Marthe de Florian, a beautiful French actress and socialite of the Belle Époque. She was Boldini’s muse. And, despite him being a married man, she was also his lover. The art world went a bit nutty for the whole story and the painting was later sold for $3 million at auction.
What I find so intriguing about this story is not so much the discovered painting and the revelation of a love affair between a great Italian painter and the beautiful actress in an enchanting era, but more the story of Mrs. de Florian and why she stayed away from Paris for so long.
What kept her away even after the war? Was she running away from someone or something other than the Nazis? For all those decades, her rent on the elegant apartment in a flourishing city had been faithfully paid, but it was left to freeze in time. It all sounds like the perfect mystery…
This story was discovered at Messy Nessy Chic