Making History: Americana Week Highlights

recirccover-slideshow-640x360-1.jpg
Launch Slideshow

Beginning 11 January, Sotheby's is delighted to present the most impressive series of Americana Week auctions in 25 years, including nearly 1,300 objects spanning 300 years of history. Click ahead to preview our specialists’  top highlights from all six sales, from the finest American furniture and silver to important folk art and design to Alexander Hamilton’s family archive of letters and manuscripts.

Alexander Hamilton: An Important Family Archive of Letters and Manuscripts
18 January | New York

The Highly Important Americana Collection of George S. Parker II from the Caxambas Foundation
19 January | New York

The Iris Schwartz Collection of American Silver
20 January | New York

Important Americana including Property from the Collection of Joan Oestreich Kend
20 & 21 January | New York

Important American Folk Art from the Ralph and Susanne Katz Collection
21 January | New York

Property from the Collection of E. Newbold and Margaret du Pont Smith
21 January | New York

Making History: Americana Week Highlights

  • Alexander Hamilton, Correspondence About His Reputation As a Soldier and a Gentleman, 1779. Estimate $100,000–150,000.
    This correspondence among Alexander Hamilton, John Brooks, Francis Dana, William Gordon and David Henley about Hamilton’s reputation as a soldier and a gentleman nearly provoked a duel in 1779. Had the duel taken place, it most likely would have been Hamilton's first. (He had served as a second for John Laurens in his duel with Charles Lee).



    View Lot

  • Alexander Hamilton, Autograph Letter Signed ("AH") to Elizabeth Schuyler ("My Dearest Girl"). Estimate $40,000–60,000.
    The present lot is Alexander Hamilton’s earliest surviving love letter to his future wife, Elizabeth Schuyler, written on 17 March 1780, just a month or two after their first meeting. "You give me too many proofs of your love to allow me to doubt it and in the conviction that I possess that, I possess every thing the world can give," he wrote.



    View Lot

  • Alexander Hamilton, Autograph Letter to Elizabeth Schuyler, Announcing the Treason of Benedict Arnold. Estimate $35,000–50,000.
    This highly significant letter from Alexander Hamilton to Elizabeth Schuyler, 25 September 1780, announces the treason of Benedict Arnold. It demonstrates how the chivalric Hamilton was taken in by Arnold’s wife, Peggy Shippen, who was in fact complicit in her husband’s treachery.



    View Lot

  • Important Pair of Chippendale Carved and Figured Mahogany Side Chairs, Carving Attributed to Martin Jugiez, Philadelphia, Circa 1765. Estimate $200,000–300,000.
    Made of a dense mahogany with extraordinary high relief carving, these important side chairs stem from one of the most lavish sets of seating furniture made in Philadelphia during the Rococo period. Their design is in the latest London taste and follows a chair pattern illustrated by Thomas Chippendale in The Gentleman & Cabinet-Maker’s Director (London, 1754, pl. XII). The maker nearly copied the design verbatim from the Chinese fret splat, to the C-scroll knee brackets, carved knees and the cabriole legs ending in scrolled French feet.



    View Lot

  • Important Queen Anne Carved and Figured Mahogany Block-and-Shell Kneehole Bureau Table, Providence, Rhode Island, Circa 1765. Estimate $300,000–500,000.
    This block-front dressing table represents one of the most highly regarded and sought after forms of Colonial American craftsmanship. It achieves remarkable distinction in the significant quality of the cabinetwork, the use of highly figured mahogany included for the case sides, the undulating profile of the shells with their well-defined lobes and fine proportions. Representing one of the most regionally specific furniture forms of American furniture, the dressing table follows the design of block-front case furniture made in Newport and Providence, Rhode Island.



    View Lot

  • The Important 'Joshua Eyre' Chippendale Carved and Figured Mahogany Games Table, Carving Attributed to Richard Butts, Philadelphia, Circa 1770. Estimate $300,000–500,000.
    This games table is an exceptionally rare example of the form with hairy paw feet to survive from Colonial Philadelphia. The table features exceptional carving attributed to Richard Butts, a highly skilled and influential immigrant carver likely from London who was working in Philadelphia from the mid-1760s through the 1770s. His hand is responsible for some of the finest Philadelphia furniture of the Rococo period.



    View Lot

  • Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo: An American Silver, Enamel And Gem-Set Viking Style Vase, Designed By Paulding Farnham For Tiffany & Co., New York, 1901. Estimate $20,000–30,000.
    Viking-style pieces were a major feature of Tiffany's display at Buffalo. Farnham had experimented with Celtic motifs for World's Fair showstoppers as early as 1893, as well as in the great silver and iron Viking punch bowl for Chicago, now in the Metropolitan Museum. He won gold medals at the great fairs of 1893, 1900 and 1901.



    View Lot

  • A Rare Pair of American Silver Candlesticks, Myer Myers, New York, Circa 1750-66. Estimate $150,000–250,000.
    Silver candlesticks are extremely rare in Early American silver, the purview of only the wealthiest of the Colonists. Sets of four were even rarer, and these sticks form a set of four with a pair in a private collection. The original owners of the four were probably Jacob LeRoy and his second wife, Catherine Rutgers, who married in 1766. Only one other set of four candlesticks by Myers is known, made for Catherine Livingston Lawrence and now divided between the Metropolitan Museum and Yale University Art Gallery.



    View Lot

  • A Five-Piece Italian Silver "Coffee And Tea Piazza," Designed by Michael Graves For Alessi, Limited Edition, Designed 1983. Estimate $15,000–25,000
    When commenting on this Michael Graves' design, Max Protetch, the New York gallerist who showed the collection said, "It was silver-coated architectural theory that you could use for pouring coffee." Graves' version was the best-selling design.



    View Lot

  • The Nicholas Brown Important Chippendale Carved and Figured Mahogany Scalloped-Top Tea Table with Open Ball and Talons, Newport, Rhode Island, Circa 1765. Estimate $800,000–1,200,000.
    An important survival of Colonial Newport furniture, this tea table is one of two tables likely originally owned by Nicholas Brown (1729-1791), a wealthy Providence merchant and member of the prominent Brown family of Rhode Island. 



    View Lot

  • Important Gilt and Painted Molded Copper Goddess of Liberty with Flag Weathervane, Possibly by J.L. Mott Ironworks, New York, Circa 1880. Estimate $100,000–150,000.
    Weathervanes of patriotic subjects became popular amongst manufacturers starting around 1865. The Goddess of Liberty, a particularly popular subject, is often depicted wearing classical robes and a Phrygian cap while holding the American flag.



    View Lot

  • The Highly Important Lee Family Chippendale Carved and Figured Mahogany Desk-and-Bookcase, Possibly by George Bright, Boston, Massachusetts, Circa 1765-1785. Estimate $200,000–300,000.
    This opulent desk and bookcase is an iconic example of American craftsmanship with a design influenced by English shop traditions and design sources. With its use of finely-figured mahogany, block-front façade, richly carved ornamentation, pilasters with Corinthian capitals, mirrored panelled doors and imposing interior composed of a multitude of shelving, drawers and cubbyholes, this desk represents the highest level of furniture production in pre-Revolutionary Boston and reveals the exceptional cabinetmaking skills of its maker.



    View Lot

  • John Rasmussen, Views of the Berks County Alms House. Estimate $80,000–120,000.
    The 1880 census lists John Rasmussen last on the list of “inmates” at the Berks County “poorhouse,” and he identified himself as a fresco painter. He had been in the almshouse in Shillington less than a year, but would spend the remainder of his life there. He was one of three residents there who painted highly detailed bird’s-eye views of the institution on tin sheets.



    View Lot

  • Important Painted Fireboard from the Moses Martin House, Salem, New York, Circa 1830. Estimate $60,000–80,000.
    Of unusual composition, this fireboard is, at centre, a traditional American still life. Yet the concentric rectangles in successively lighter shades of green give this board a somewhat modern edge. It's a product of the cultural phenomenon dubbed by noted scholar Sumpter Priddy as "American Fancy." Fancy things were about colour and pattern, and about delight and pleasure.



    View Lot


  • Very Rare Carved Wood Sculpture of a Dog, Ohio, Circa 1845. Estimate $15,000–25,000.
    Seemingly eager to please, this charming dog is a rare survivor. The condition is exceptional given the delicate nature of its unusual construction and decoration, particularly the leather ears and tongue.



    View Lot

  • Edward Hicks, Penn's Treaty with the Indians. Estimate $800,000–1,200,000.
    American Quakers have long held William Penn (1644-1718) in high esteem, often celebrating him as our first defender of liberty, as he established the colony of Pennsylvania as a haven for religious dissenters, and largely did so through peaceful negotiations with the local indigenous populations. This painting depicts the meeting between Penn and the Lenape Indians, which Hicks captioned: PENN’S TREATY with the INDIANS, made 1681 with out an Oath, and never broken. The foundation of Religious and Civil LIBERTY in the U.S. of AMERICA.



    View Lot

  • Exceptional Queen Anne Carved and Figured Walnut Compass-Seat Open Armchair, Philadelphia, Circa 1760. Estimate $250,000–350,000.
    Meticulously designed and finely constructed of highly figured walnut, this armchair is among the most rare and magnificent surviving examples of Philadelphia seating furniture in the Queen Anne style. It represents a variation of the fiddleback chair pattern, with its solid splat with paired volutes, shell and volute carved crest rail, open arms supported by shaped uprights terminating in scrolled handholds, compass seat rail, shell-carved knees, front cabriole legs terminating in claw-and-ball feet with finely articulated talons and stump rear legs that are oval in cross section and curve backward.



    View Lot

  • Extremely Fine and Rare Miniature William and Mary Turned and Joined Walnut Flat-Top High Chest of Drawers, Chester County, Pennsylvania, Circa 1725. Estimate $80,000–120,000.
    During the Colonial period, miniature high chests of drawers like this one served as valuables cabinets and period inventory references indicate they stored prized household possessions such as jewellery and silver. The form was more popular in Pennsylvania than in any of the other American colonies and was produced there throughout the eighteenth century. Despite its small scale, this one closely follows the design and construction of its full-size Philadelphia counterparts in the William and Mary style.



    View Lot

/
Close

Featured Content

We use our own and third party cookies to enable you to navigate around our Site, use its features and engage on social media, and to allow us to perform analytics, remember your preferences, provide services that you have requested and produce content and advertisements tailored to your interests, both on our Site as well as others. For more information, or to learn how to change your cookie or marketing preferences, please see our updated Privacy Policy & Cookie Policy.

By continuing to use our Site, you consent to our use of cookies and to the practices described in our updated Privacy Policy.

Close