FALLS CHURCH, Va. (ACNI) – Had People magazine been in business back in the early 17th century, it’s quite likely they would have chosen the love triangle centered around Pilgrim hottie Priscilla Mullins as a cover story. Mullins (b. circa 1602, d. circa 1680, sometimes spelled Mullens) was a Mayflower passenger and Plymouth Colony Pilgrim settler who won the affection of both Capt. Miles Standish and government official John Alden. As immortalized in the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem The Courtship of Myles Standish, Mullins married Alden in what was the third “Mayflower” wedding in the New World. Mullins subsequently bore anywhere from 10 to 15 children; historical accounts vary on that point.
The Mullins-Alden union is considered a highly significant one in America’s history, as several distinguished families can trace their lineage back to Priscilla and John. Antiques associated with Alden descendants carry an automatic pedigree, one of them being a hand-stitched sampler to be auctioned on Sept. 13 at Quinn’s Auction Galleries.
The alphabet sampler, dated July 27, 1805, was crafted by 8-year-old Betsy Shaw, believed to be a descendant of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins. Also stitched into the sampler is the maker’s name and the name of a now outer-Boston suburb, Abington. The sampler is estimated at $800-$1,200, but its possible provenance could inspire a much bigger payday at Quinn’s.
“It’s from a collection of 13 samplers consigned by a single collector in Williamsburg, Virginia,” said Quinn’s partner Matthew Quinn. “We spend a lot of time researching the Shaw sampler, and we believe collectors will see the value in it.”
Quinn’s Sept. 13 auction of antique furniture, fine and decorative art contains many other choice selections, including a French provincial oak armoire with heavily carved and paneled sides. Coming from a Madison County, Virginia consignor, it once belonged to Elizabeth Parke Firestone and previously sold at Christie’s in 1991. It’s estimated in Quinn’s sale at $4,000-$6,000.
Asked about the strength of the furniture in his sale, Matthew Quinn observed: “It’s the best collection of antique furniture we will ever have offered in one room. “There are many interesting pieces. The armoire is huge and makes quite a decorative statement, but there are many smaller pieces of the type collectors actively seek. There’s a beautiful circa-1820 Regency rosewood drum or ‘rent’ table with green leather inset top, three drawers and three faux drawers (estimate $1,500-$2,500); and a very unusual late-Victorian mahogany library table with cast-brass over carved wood lion’s-head ball-and-claw feet (estimate $800-$1,200).”
An impressive collection of art glass from a Virginia collector is set to cross the auction block, as well. A key lot is a circa-1900 Wilhelm Kralik Sohn, Eleonorenhain, hourglass vase. With similarities to Loetz and Tiffany glass, and a molded and blown double-handle form that is highly unusual, it could fetch $2,000-$3,000.
With no end in sight to the demand for early American weathervanes, collectors would be wise to investigate the 19th-century Blackhawk Horse vane, probably Cushing & White, entered in the Sept. 13 sale. It has a copper body with applied mane and tail, and stands 18½ inches high by 23½ inches wide, with a pre-auction estimate of $4,000-$6,000.
Quinn’s Sept. 13 sale also includes more than 80 American and European paintings, a large array of equestrian-related items – both artworks and decorative pieces – and a special selection of 40 to 50 lots of Asian fine art.
Copyright 2008 Auction Central News International
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