Freeman’s American Furniture, Folk and Decorative Arts specialists look at the clues that reveal an item’s past and purpose—from early American silver to furniture—and give a glimpse at what’s on offer in its November 15 auction.
10/28/2022 News and Film, American Furniture, Folk and Decorative Arts
Throughout its 217 years serving as Philadelphia’s go-to source for furniture and decorative arts, Freeman’s has offered family heirlooms as a primary commodity. In this way, the company has bridged the gap between collectors, connecting new generations with objects that are imbued with a life of their own, and tell a rich story.
As a premier destination for Americana—particularly Pennsylvania furniture and decorative arts—Freeman’s continues to fill the demand for objects with documented histories. Many such objects will be offered at Freeman’s November 15 American Furniture, Folk and Decorative Arts auction, providing excellent collecting opportunities for Americana connoisseurs.
Lot 169 I A Cross-stitched Needlework That Accompanies the Chippendale Blanket Chest I Estimate: $2,000-3,000
A miniature Chippendale walnut blanket chest (Lot 169; estimate: $2,000-3,000), while a typical Pennsylvania form, indirectly reveals its history through an inscription under one drawer. The written name “John Hottenstein” indicates that the piece was likely owned by this person. A cross-stitched needlework from the late 19th century that accompanies the blanket chest—which also includes names of descendants—further reinforces the Hottenstein family connection. Though it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact individuals in the extensive Hottenstein family, there are enough details to attribute the chest to the area known as Maxatawny Township within Berks County.
Lot 158 I An Impressive Sterling Presentation Wine Cooler I Estimate: $4,000-6,000
Another object reveals its purpose directly through its exterior: a sterling silver presentation wine cooler (Lot 158; estimate: $4,000-6,000). Presented to Andrew Wheeler, Jr. (1866–1926) on the occasion of his marriage to Jennie Pearce (1876–1941) on April 18, 1907, the cooler prominently features applied script showing the presentation line and listing the names of friends and family, including Philadelphia philanthropists and music connoisseurs. Decorated with musical instruments and a measure from Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin, the cooler is clearly a celebratory token. Produced by J.E. Caldwell around 1907, this Philadelphia-made object was passed down through the Scott-Wheeler family to the present consignors.
Lot 186 I A Fraktur Bookplate for Susana Bossert of Northampton County I Estimate: $2,500-3,500
Obvious or discreet, the clues that reveal an item’s past were intentional. The calligraphic art form known at Fraktur was meant to memorialize important life events in Germanic communities, whether births, baptisms, or marriages. A bookplate for Susana Bossert of Northampton County (Lot 186; estimate: $2,500-3,500) was made by Johan Adam Eyer (1755–1837) in 1816. It served more simply as a reminder that a book belonged to Susana. While the book is no longer present, the bookplate serves as a current reminder of Susana’s existence, and continues to inspire collectors today.