Salem Lots: the Beautiful and the Damned

I’m always checking upcoming auctions for Salem things and over the next week there are some beautiful items coming up for sale, representing the very best of golden-age craftsmanship in Salem, as well as one crafted-but-creepy item, which I’ll leave for last (as it is definitely least). Next Tuesday evening up in Portsmouth, Northeast Auctions is holding an auction featuring five lovely Salem lots, including a Samuel McIntire chair, and a drop-leaf table from the school of Nathaniel Gould. Could this rather low estimate on the chair be correct? Perhaps if there is light turnout (then why am I posting this?) and I do without (new clothes, books, food) for a while I could get it! There are a pair of “similar” mirrors and a great silhouette of Dr. Treadwell of Salem—I presume this is the elder Doctor John Dexter Treadwell (1768-1833) rather than the younger Doctor John Goodhue Treadwell (1805-1856, after whom the Treadwell Library at Massachusetts General Hospital is named), but I could be wrong.





At Northeast Auctions next week: a mahogany shield-back side-chair, carved by Samuel McIntire; Queen Anne mahogany single drop-leaf table, Salem, Nathaniel Gould School; One of two similar Massachusetts gilt-wood and eglomise mirrors; Full-length silhouette of Dr. Treadwell at Salem, Massachusetts.

Here in Massachusetts, An upcoming auction of books and manuscripts at Skinner Auctions includes an edition of a Salem-published book which I’ve written about before: Daniel Cady Eaton’s two-volume Ferns of North America (1877-1880). I have seen these volumes before, and the illustrations by J.H. Emerton and C.E. Faxon are truly beautiful.


At Skinner’s Fine Books and Manuscripts Auction on October 30:  Daniel Cady Eaton’s Ferns of North America.

Okay, now for the creepy lot pertaining to the damned. I made a shocking discovery this afternoon as I was browsing around, a KKK money clip manufactured by Salem’s venerable Daniel Low & Company, the producer of the famous Salem witch spoon! And that very familiar image, is right there on the back. This…….artifact is among the lots in the Omega Auction Corporation’s Jewelry and Collectibles auction down in Florida tomorrow–there’s not much information in the auction listing and I was not inspired to do any research. I almost wasn’t going to include it among these lovely lots, but it is Salem-made, and history is not just made up of beautiful things, unfortunately.


Omega Auctions, Hialeah, Florida:  a money clip with KKK and Salem Witch insignias SUPPOSEDLY made by Daniel Low & Co., Salem (see comments below, on the trail!)

13 responses to “Salem Lots: the Beautiful and the Damned

  • Peg

    Daniel Low & Co. never made that money clip. There’s a belt buckle as well. The Daniel Low stamp and witch are total forgeries. A preacher from down south got these made in England in the late 60’s early 70’s. I spoke with the president of Daniel Low and Co. about it about 20 years ago. He said in no uncertain words that they never, ever would have made, much less put their name on such a hateful thing.

  • Peg

    Actually, I think the group who had these made was inspired by the writings and artwork of Rev. Branford Clark.

  • Jacob

    Putting the forgery aside for the moment, I heard the WGBH Curiosity Desk report on the KKK in Worcester in the 1920s after reading your post. I couldn’t help but think about how important it is to remind ourselves of our less admirable moments in history. And how prejudices against “outsiders” continue to crop up even as we celebrate our supposed enlightenment and progress. I’m thinking, for example, about the conversation around Spanish-language ballots here in Salem.

  • Bobby

    I recently found a match cover with the picture on the front. Maybe someone took the money clip, cut it and then pieced it on this brass holder. Can’t find another like it anywhere, just the clips and buckles.

  • Bobby

    Anyone ever seen a match cover with the picture on the front? I’m thinking maybe someone cut up the money clip and attached it to it. Can’t find another like it anywhere on the web.

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