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Downingtown, PA, United States
DoneFri, Apr 15, 2011 10:00 PM GMT

The Collection of Eugene and Dorothy Elgin

Eugene and Dorothy Elgin were both born in the early 1920?s in Adams County, PA. Gene grew up in East Berlin and remained there for most of his life. He was the town?s Postmaster until his retirement in 1981. Dottie grew up in New Oxford and began teaching in East Berlin where she met Gene. They were married in the mid-1940?s. When all of their friends were filling their homes with modern furnishings from department stores, Gene and Dottie were filling theirs with antiques. Over the next two decades, their tastes gradually evolved from refinished dry sinks and ironstone china to what people now refer to as Pennsylvania German Folk Art. This was a big step in those days. It is certainly a testament to their vision, curiosity and open-mindedness as collectors. Most everything in their collection came from country auctions or private homes in York, Adams and Cumberland counties. Public sale notices were religiously clipped and filed in a drawer according to date. Every Saturday, Gene and Dottie would hit the road before 7am and they would check out at least six or seven auctions. Usually if something good was at one sale, Dottie would stay there while Gene would drive off to investigate the others. Gene?s eye went to furniture, redware and decorated tole. Dottie loved her rye-straw baskets and whimsical subjects like brightly painted chalk, cookie-cutters and hooked rugs. They both agreed that only the best pieces in the best condition would find their way into their collection. Gene passed away last June and Dottie has since moved into a small apartment. As they both progressed through their eighties, their passion for antiques never diminished with their ability to seek them out. To this day, Dottie gets a twinkle in her eye when good friends stop by and she recalls the memories of the people and pieces that made up her years of collecting with Gene.