Signed Shaker washstand may earn $80,000

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The long-awaited annual Shaker auction offered by Willis Henry Auctions will be presented Sept. 6. The 32nd annual Shaker auction will take place on the grounds of Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Approximately 250 lots will span the full array of Shaker production with about 98

Shaker washstand

This uncommon signed Shaker washstand ($60,000-$80,000) may vie for top lot during the Sept. 6 auction. Photo courtesy Willis Henry Auctions

percent of lots in their original surfaces. Many lots have provenance (some with collector tags) going back to the first generation of Shaker collectors who were active in the early decades of the 20th century. As early as the 19th century, contemporaries began recognizing the unique design and quality craftsmanship Shaker artisans embodied in their work.

Today Shaker artifacts provide a genuine glimpse of American material culture, handcraft s, and tools of the period. These materials are important both for insight into the Shaker world, and insight into the wider American experience. One piece already attracting much interest from bidders is a New Lebanon washstand, which features an ochre wash stain and classic Shaker-designed drawers, along with an overhung top supporting an oversized splashboard.

The element of this piece that sets it on a level all its own is the inclusion of the signature “Made by James V. Calver, April 1862.” Shaker furniture was seldom signed, which makes this item particularly appealing. It carries a presale estimate of $60,000 to $80,000.

A bittersweet Sister’s cupboard that features two molded paneled doors over four graduated drawers with original brass pulls, which open to reveal the iconic Sister’s pegs to hang Sister’s bonnets, is expected to fetch between $50,000 and $80,00. This classic cupboard also doubles as a storage place for a building key, and is the type of cupboard often used by villages for housing the key to the Meeting House.

Shaker bench

Seldom-seen Shaker bench with provenance extending to the collection of the late Ed Clerk, who was the leading Shaker dealer of the 1980s and 1990s. ($20,000-$40,000). (Photo courtesy Willis Henry Auctioneers

An uncommon lot from the Ohio community is a small infirmary cupboard with a brick red exterior, a teal blue painted interior, and glass on three sides of the upper section. This has potential for displaying Shaker smalls, and may sell for $4,000 to $6,000. More potential highlight lots include:

• Seldom-seen Shaker bench with provenance extending to the collection of the late Ed Clerk, who was the leading Shaker dealer of the 1980s and 1990s. ($20,000-$40,000)
• Uncommon forest green rope bed on wheels ($2,000- $4,000)
• Cherry red dipper ladle ($1,500-$2,500)
• Atypical small chrome yellow oval box ($4,000-$7,000)
• Set of eight engraved coin silver spoons ($800-$1,200).

For more information, call 781-834-7774, email wha@willishenry.com or visit www.willishenryauctions.com.

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