Stories for March '21

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Museum of Antique Coffee Mills Includes Coffee Bar
by M.A.D. staff

Café Museo, a museum of antique coffee mills in Clifton Forge, Virginia, that opened in 2020, is the only museum of its kind in the United States. Its name is Italian for “coffee museum.” The museum includes antique coffee mills from Judith and Stephen Sivonda’s collection of more than 300 coffee ... (Read More)

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Spinning a Nostalgic Yarn
by Hollie Davis and Andrew Richmond

The Young Collector We are doing it again—we’re guest co-curating an exhibition. What had started out as a small show about one Ohio folk artist has blossomed into a major loan exhibition scheduled for early in 2022 at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio in Lancaster, Ohio. The folk artist in ... (Read More)

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Canceled Sale of Monet Prompts Lawsuit
by M.A.D. staff

Piommiers en fleurs (Apple Trees in Blossom), 1872, a 23 3⁄8" x 28 7⁄8" oil on canvas by Claude Monet (1840-1926), was accessioned into the collection of the Union League Club of Chicago in 1895. Judge John Barton Payne sold it to the club for $500. Fast forward 125 years. The ... (Read More)

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Hanging with Andrew Spindler
by Julie Schlenger Adell

We are all spending much more time now in our houses and apartments because of COVID-19. Because we all might enjoy staring at someone else’s walls for a change, this column gives our readers an idea of what some of their colleagues, fellow collectors, and other readers surround themselves with ... (Read More)

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Stolen Paintings Turn Up Consigned for Auction
by Frances McQueeney-Jones Mascolo

When Cambridge, Massachusetts, auctioneer Carl R. Nordblom opened his copy of the February issue of Maine Antique Digest, he recalls, “I was shocked to see my pictures there.” Photographs of the pictures—two small China trade paintings—ran under the headline “Stolen China Trade Paintings.” They had been stolen in Portland, Maine. Nordblom ... (Read More)

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Highlights from the Philadelphia Museum’s American Furniture Collection
by Lita Solis-Cohen

A Book Review The Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) has published some landmark exhibition catalogs that introduced the world to its unparalleled collection of Philadelphia furniture: Philadelphia: Three Centuries of American Art; Federal Philadelphia, 1785-1825: The Athens of the Western World; Worldly Goods: The Arts of Early Pennsylvania, 1680-1758; and Classical ... (Read More)

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American Resilience
by Clayton Pennington, Editorial March 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a body blow to America. As of this writing, the United States has recorded over 27 million cases and 463,000 deaths. Businesses have shuttered, and the vaccine rollout is going slower than many had hoped. Americans are a remarkably resilient people. Take a look around any ... (Read More)

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Letter from London
by Ian McKay,

An explosive rat and a pair of candlesticks fashioned from a stag’s feet are among the more bizarre entries in this month’s selection, while a giant cicada, a wine jug in canine guise, and a ceramic menagerie add to that zoomorphic theme. A record-breaking “Midshipman” jug, a Pre-Raphaelite Queen of Hearts, ... (Read More)

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Americana Insights Launches
by Lita Solis-Cohen

The new year in the antiques world got off to an auspicious start with the launch on January 12 of Americana Insights, a new e-publication focusing on traditional American folk art and Americana that provides open access to original articles, research, and resources. A compendium of short-form scholarly essays on ... (Read More)

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Americana Week in New York City during COVID-19
by Lita Solis-Cohen

Photos courtesy Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Keno Auctions The auctions and shows in New York City in January were probably seen by more people than ever before but not in person. They filled computer screens, tablets, and phones with an enormous number of pictures of some very good things accompanied by yards ... (Read More)

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Hennage Collection Goes to Colonial Williamsburg
by Lita Solis-Cohen

Photos courtesy Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg A Philadelphia high chest made of mahogany, yellow pine, tulip poplar, and sabicu—sometimes known as horseflesh mahogany—that descended in the family of Sarah (Franklin) and Richard Bache, Benjamin Franklin’s daughter and son-in-law, is just one of more than 400 objects that Joseph “Joe” and ... (Read More)

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Buffalo Dealer Pleads Guilty to Violating Endangered Species Act
by M.A.D. staff

On New January 29 dealer Michael T. Merisola, 62, of Buffalo, New York, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Chelsey M. Vascura in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, to charges related to selling a mounted leopard, an endangered species. Merisola pleaded guilty to one count of violating the ... (Read More)

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Fireworks for Leleu Lots in the U.K.
by M.A.D. staff

The design sale held by Sworders in Stansted Mountfitchet, England, on January 26 included ten lots of work by Art Deco giant Jules Leleu (1883-1961), one of the largest groups of pieces by Leleu to come to market in recent years. The collection was consigned by the Greek descendants of ... (Read More)

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New Year’s Day Rings in with Jewelry at Nadeau’s
by Mary Ann Brown

Antique Jewelry & Gemology Photos courtesy Nadeau's Auction Gallery Nadeau’s Auction Gallery in Windsor, Connecticut, began its annual New Year’s Day auction for 2021 with 203 lots of jewelry. Company president Eddie Nadeau said, “We always save our best jewelry all year to go into that particular sale. But this time, with ... (Read More)

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Ledbetter's Second Sale: Bringing Folk Art to Gibsonville
by Pete Prunkl

Ledbetter Folk Art and Americana Auction, Gibsonville, North Carolina Photos courtesy Ledbetter Folk Art and Americana Auction Most of the artists represented in Matt Ledbetter’s second sale, December 12, 2020, were Outsiders. Some were homeless, several were black, and most were self-taught and now deceased. If French artist Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) were ... (Read More)

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Delayed American Art Sales Bring $12.3 Million
by Lita Solis-Cohen

Sotheby’s, New York City Photos courtesy Sotheby’s Sotheby’s fall American art sale of works by 19th- and 20th-century painters and sculptors usually comes before Thanksgiving, but in 2020 it was held on December 11, just before Christmas. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a backup of sales, so Sotheby’s fall American art sale did ... (Read More)

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Fine Art Dominates Doyle in December
by Mark Sisco

Doyle, New York City Photos courtesy Doyle The auction at Doyle in New York City on December 9, 2020, showcased an attractive selection of furniture, silver, Chinese export porcelain, folk art, and rugs that brought a total of $847,969, with a strong clearance rate of 89% sold. But it was top-heavy with ... (Read More)

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Freeman’s Best-Ever Sale of American Art
by Lita Solis-Cohen

Freeman’s, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Photos courtesy Freeman’s Freeman’s American paintings sale on December 6, 2020, was its best-ever sale of American art. Of the 124 lots offered, 115 sold for a total of $5,265,178 (including buyers’ premiums). That is a 93% sell-through rate, and three of the six passed lots sold immediately after ... (Read More)

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Royal Repeat at Leland Little Auctions
by Pete Prunkl

Leland Little Auctions, Hillsborough, North Carolina Photos courtesy Leland Little Auctions A service for 12 of Royal sterling silver flatware by French silversmith Puiforcat was the top lot at Leland Little Auctions in Hillsborough, North Carolina, on December 5, 2020. Nicolas Cornu designed Royal circa 1775 as an openwork double helix long ... (Read More)

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Good Early Furniture Straight from the Source
by Mark Sisco

D. L. Straight Auctions, Sturbridge, Massachusetts Photos courtesy D. L. Straight Auctions Like many auctioneers, David Straight of D. L. Straight Auctions in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, is rolling with the COVID-19 punch. For his auction on November 22, 2020, the number of in-person bidders was zero, but the number of Internet and absentee ... (Read More)

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The Doherty Decoy Collection
by Frances McQueeney-Jones Mascolo

Guyette & Deeter, St. Michaels, Maryland Photos courtesy Guyette & Deeter New Jersey collectors Jim and Pat Doherty formed their decoy collection with care. They studied the subject deeply and gathered carefully. Their collections also included clocks, stoneware, theorems, and glass. Jim was the founder of the South Jersey chapter of the ... (Read More)

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Weathervane Tops Smith Sale
by Jackie Sideli

William A. Smith, Inc. Plainfield, New Hampshire Photos courtesy William A. Smith, Inc. William A. Smith, Inc., the well-established auction house in Plainfield, New Hampshire, held an antiques auction on November 21, 2020. The auction was online only and consisted of over 400 lots. This late 19th-century full-bodied eagle weathervane with a 63" ... (Read More)

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Rising Interest in American Furniture
by Frances McQueeney-Jones Mascolo

Eldred’s, East Dennis, Massachusetts Photos courtesy Eldred’s Rising interest in American furniture drove Eldred’s November 19 and 20, 2020, auction. Many of the lots came from New England collections and estates. One of those collections was that of Richard I. M. Kelton (1929-2019), a collector extraordinaire. Kelton’s collection has been sold at ... (Read More)

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American Historical Ephemera and Photography
by Don Johnson

Cowan’s Auctions, Cincinnati, Ohio Photos courtesy Cowan’s Auctions Material from the Indian Wars brought strong interest during the November 19, 2020, sale of American historical ephemera and photography held by Cowan’s Auctions of Cincinnati, Ohio. It was a change from Cowan’s typical American history auctions, which are often highlighted by Civil War ... (Read More)

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Silver Presentation Trophy Comes in First
by Marice Richter

Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas Photos courtesy Heritage Auctions A collection of spectacular sporting trophies from America’s Gilded Age highlighted a recent auction of silver and objects of vertu that was the most successful auction of its kind in the history of Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas. Featuring some of the finest workmanship of America’s ... (Read More)

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Slotin Enjoys Its Highest-Grossing Auction
by Susan Emerson Nutter

Slotin Folk Art Auction, Buford, Georgia Photos courtesy Slotin Folk Art Auction The antiques-at-auction industry continues to weather COVID-19 like a boss. The numbers don’t lie; buyers of antiques are fine with bidding remotely, be it online, absentee, by proxy, or by phone, and auction houses continue to present gorgeous auctions filled ... (Read More)

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The Louis Hahn Estate
by Don Johnson

Cowan’s Auctions, Cincinnati, Ohio Photos courtesy Cowan’s Auctions A simple kindness helped make possible the two-day auction of western Pennsylvania stoneware and American antiques held November 11 and 12, 2020, by Cowan’s Auctions of Cincinnati, Ohio. The single-owner collection consisted of material from the estate of Louis Hahn of Pennsylvania. Hahn had been ... (Read More)

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The Online TEFAF Show
by Lita Solis-Cohen

TEFAF New York, New York City From November 1 to 4, 2020, The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF) offered a virtual edition of TEFAF New York, the fair that would have filled the Park Avenue Armory in New York City for its fifth year but for the COVID-19 pandemic. TEFAF reports that ... (Read More)

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Farrin's Sets the Tables for Thanksgiving
by Mark Sisco

Farrin’s Country Auctions, Randolph, Maine One thing that business markets hate is uncertainty. Economic, social, and political doubts are often reflected in stock markets, currency markets, and antiques markets. Witness Rusty Farrin’s auction in Randolph, Maine, on the night of November 4, 2020, when the final results of the presidential election ... (Read More)

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Cameo Glass Vase Tops Auction at $50,000
by Marice Richter

Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas Photos courtesy Heritage Auctions Beautiful works of decorative art glass, including an impressive collection of Art Deco art and objects, highlighted Heritage Auctions’ Tiffany, Lalique, and art glass auction on October 22, 2020. The auction was expected to continue the momentum created by a June auction that had ... (Read More)
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