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The Palmers were professionals in the banking and accounting worlds and first started collecting antiques as a hobby. After their retirements, they opened a shop in Purcellville, which became a hub for conversation about folk art and Americana, as much as a trading place.
Tragically, the Palmers were both killed in a fatal single-car accident last July while driving home after visiting friends. With neither additions nor deletions, Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates will offer the Palmer collection in its entirety. This sale represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire some of the best examples known in a number of collecting categories.
The Palmers kept extensive notes on the provenance of each piece, with many objects descending directly in the families of their original owners. Additionally, many examples from the collection have notable publication and exhibition records. This single-owner auction promises to be an exciting and educational event.
Top among the collectors’ interests was pottery, particularly stoneware and earthenware of the Shenandoah Valley and other areas of Virginia. Leading the pottery category is a rare and important James Miller, Alexandria, Va., or Washington, D.C., cobalt-decorated, salt-glazed stoneware 3-gallon storage jar, the front featuring a folk art depiction of a large American Federal-period eagle. Produced around the time of Lafayette’s visit to Virginia and Washington in 1824, this jar is estimated to realize $20,000-$30,000 in the auction.
Other stoneware to be sold includes a fine selection of Shenandoah Valley squat pots, or preserve jars, highlighted by an important signed, inscribed, and dated 1850 example by John D. Heatwole, made for his sister Margaret, upon her marriage and move to Andrew Jackson County, Iowa. This diminutive pot is estimated to sell for $10,000-$15,000. Another outstanding piece of decorated Valley stoneware, a fine Andrew Coffman pitcher, made at the Zigler Pottery in Timberville, Va., circa 1830-1850, is estimated to realize $10,000-$15,000.
One of the items atop the Shenandoah Valley earthenware section, a lead-glazed bowl speaks to the quality of the Palmer collection. The bowl, circa 1800, attributed to Hagerstown, Md., and decorated with copper and manganese slip, is a tour de force of execution and design and remains in outstanding condition. It is expected to sell for $10,000-$15,000. Another stellar example from this selection of Shenandoah Valley earthenware, an important pair of signed John Bell spaniel figures with original black and white paint, is expected to realize $10,000-$15,000.
The Palmer collection includes a number of outstanding Virginia pie/food safes, highlighted by a rare and important Matthew S. Kahle (1800-1869) and John Henson (act. 1819-after 1831), Lexington, Rockbridge County, Va., painted punched-tin-paneled closet safe, circa 1831, featuring George Washington-commemorative patterned center tins. This safe is estimated to realize $8,000-$12,000.
Virginia folk art is highlighted by a rare pair of Virginia fraktur by the Shenandoah Valley illuminated artist, circa 1846, executed in watercolor, ink, and gold wash and made for Collam Kelley and John Kelley of Bloomeray, Hampshire County, Va. (now West Virginia). To be sold separately, these two works are estimated to realize $8,000-$12,000 and $10,000-$15,000, respectively.
Another choice example of folk art from the collection, a fine and rare portrait, circa 1850, of 4-year-old Mary Mattingly of Mount Savage, Md., boldly inscribed, signed, and dated by artist John James Trumbull Arnold (181–1865) is estimated to realize $8,000-$12,000.
This auction also features an important collection of Southern carved folk art canes; a variety of folk and fine art, including a number of works by American illustrator Wesley Dennis(1903-1966); Southern baskets; hooked rugs; country painted and formal furniture; carved and painted folk art; cast-iron toys; and a selection of Native American pottery and baskets, including a fine grouping of Acoma or Laguna polychrome earthenware.
A special celebration of the lives and legacies of John and Lil Palmer will be held Friday, April 4, at 6 pm. A full-color 600-lot catalog will be available for purchase by March 15, for $50 including shipping, or $45 at the gallery.
For further information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 540-434-3939.
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE