Tag Archives: Furniture

August Anglo-Americana at Auction

August is high season for antique shows and auctions in New England: generally featuring Americana items with global goods mixed in, as our Yankee forebears, particularly those who dwelled in regional seaports like Salem and Portsmouth, were very worldly, of course, and lived with things that came from other parts of the world. A decade or so ago I was in full-court hunting mode during this season; now I’m an armchair/laptop peruser, although next weekend’s sale at Northeast Auctions looks so good I’m certainly going to attend a preview, at the very least. Such interesting wares! All my picks are from the two (or one long) auctions which will be held on August 18-19: the “Lifelong Collection of Susan MacKay and Peter Field” on Saturday with a general auction following, into the next day. There is no rhyme or reason to these selections: they just caught my fancy.

Auction GlobeAmerican Terrestrial Pocket Globe made in Wethersfield, CT, c. 1850. A pocket globe is surely better than a pocket atlas.


Auction Stumpwork 2English Stumpwork Profile Portrait of King Charles I of England, 1646.  How amazing is this—and there are more seventeenth-century lots in the MacKay/Field collection as well, including two more representations of King Charles I during the Civil War, or perhaps even after his execution! Royalist relics–from either side of the Atlantic.


Auction Silk Needlwork Silk Needlework Picture of a Gentleman wearing a Tricorn Hat, c. 1770. I like this guy from the next century too.


AUction Highboy

English William and Mary Japanned Pine and Hardwood Highboy. I do not have a highboy, or a William and Mary piece, and I would really like both: this doesn’t really suit my present house but who knows where we might end up? I like the subtle Japanning and it has a very low estimate!


Auction Chairs

Set of Eight American Sheraton Fancy Red Painted and Decorated Side Chairs. Do I need chairs? No, absolutely not. But these are RED fancy chairs. Hard to resist.


Andres JournalAndre’s Journal: an Authentic Record of the Movements and Engagements of the British Army in America from June 1777 to November 1778 as recorded from day to day by Major John Andre,” Edited by Henry Cabot Lodge, Boston: The Bibliophile Society, 1903. This is a beautiful two-volume book which was limited to 487 copies for Bibliophile Society members: I continue to be fascinated by how fascinated Americans were (are?) with Major Andre!


Auction Lady LibertyLady Liberty Standing on the Head of Great Britain underneath the Great Seal of the United States, American School, War of 1812. LOTS of War of 1812 items in this auction: this is my favorite.


Arbella NortheastThe Frigate “Arbella” of Salem. American School, early 19th Century. I guess I have to have a Salem item–this is a lovely ink & watercolor painting of a ship with which I am not familiar: the original Arbella brough John Winthrop to Salem in 1630, but I don’t know anything about this Arbella. Only the Phillips Library can tell us, I’m sure!


Auction Young SailorThe Young Sailor. American School, 4th quarter, 19th century, Mrs. Mary Ide Spencer/Artist. I just love this painting: I know it would make me happy every day if it were mine.

Gently Used

Besides back to school, September is also renewal-through-shopping time. I’m very much a material girl, but this fall’s clothes aren’t really calling out to me, so I’m focused on the house. There are a number of BIG exterior projects that we need to take on soon (chimneys!) but this doesn’t stop me from looking around for interesting interior items. Fortunately, I’m a big believer in consignment/resale shops, and we have some really good ones on the North Shore of Boston.  I love fine antiques, but that’s not what I’m writing about here; I’m referring to furniture that’s anywhere from a hundred to twenty years old (and generally far better made than anything in new furniture stores today) and decorative and household items of a similar vintage. The twentieth century produced tons of stuff, and we can all save money and the planet at the same time by buying it.

In order of vintage, the three shops that I check in on every month or so are: the Stock Exchange in Manchester-by-the Sea, Once & Again here in Salem, and Grace Sales in Marblehead.  New (or old) things come into all three stores on a regular basis, and they all have different strengths in their inventory.  The Stock Exchange (3 Beach Street, Manchester-by-the-Sea) has been around for decades and is always worth the trip. You can find furniture and decorative accessories as well as clothes, and there’s always a pile of perfectly worn oriental rugs in the corner.

And here is my very favorite purchase from the Stock Exchange:  a not-very-old chair made of mahogany according to my upholsterer, purchased for $100, and re-upholstered in a beautiful silk fabric that cost a lot more.

Once & Again (45 Bridge Street, Salem) opened in Danvers five years ago and then moved to Bridge Street last year; unfortunately the street has been under construction ever since!  Nevertheless, it’s a great place to stop by occasionally if you are in the market for mid-century tabletop items, linens, lighting, and odd pieces of furniture; we bought a dry sink there last year for use as our outside bar. There is always good kitchen stuff there, as well as ironstone serving ware, and fireplace accessories, not antique but without that shiny lacquered brass look that new items have.

Grace Sales Company (185 Pleasant Street, Marblehead), a consignment shop for furniture and decorative accessories, opened just last year. There are serious bargains to be found here on some very serious furniture; the beautiful Henredon couch below was for sale for just $550 last week. The owner likes to make artful displays throughout the shop (actually all of these owners do, as you can hopefully see from the pictures), and was particularly proud of her juxtaposition of  fish and scales atop a really nice little dresser, as well as that of Pucci-designed Rosenthal china from the 1960s.

An addendum about gently-used clothingModern Millie Vintage & Consignment, Salem’s (and Newburyport’s) great vintage shop, has just moved from its Washington street location into a much bigger space at 3 Central Street.  This is another store that is well worth regular visits.

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