Black American history is brought to life at Freeman’s Hindman Feb. 27

Maria Howard Weeden portrait of an elderly woman, estimated at $5,000-$7,000 at Freeman's Hindman.

CINCINNATI — Freeman’s Hindman’s American Historical Ephemera and Early Photography sale on Tuesday, February 27 features documents, historical artifacts, and photography from throughout American history, with a focus on the pioneering figures and key moments that shaped the African American experience during the last 300 years. The complete catalog is available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

The leading lot of the sale is Roll, Jordan, Roll, number 122 of a total press run of 350 books signed by author Julia Peterkin and photographer Doris Ulmann. Published by Robert O. Ballou in 1933, the book is a sympathetic and non-stereotypical view of former slaves living in the Gullah coastal region of South Carolina. It carries an estimate of $8,000-$10,000.

A Reconstruction-era broadside political poster alerting voters to how their votes would be interpreted with regard to ‘Negro suffrage’ is another top lot. It reads in part, “Every Republican vote is a vote for Negro suffrage / In favor of Congress compelling us to let the Negro vote.” Published by the Democratic campaign of Charles T. Molony, his message was apparently heard as he went on to win his New Jersey State Assembly race. The broadside is in fair condition with some areas of loss; its estimate is $7,000-$9,000.

Another New Jersey-related item focuses on the Republican Party’s attempt to push voting rights for Black males in the 1868 election. It is estimated at $3,000-$4,000.

Maria Howard Weeden (1847-1905) was an Alabama-based poet and artist who published and signed her works as ‘Howard’ Weeden. Her sympathetic portraiture of emancipated Blacks earned her great respect throughout her career, and even exhibitions in Europe. This watercolor of an elderly woman has an estimate of $5,000-$7,000.

This carte de visite of Frederick Douglass was imaged by J. B. Roberts around 1867 at his Rochester studio, located at 58 State Street. The lot notes describe it as “Possibly a previously unknown image”, though it resembles another image in the Rochester Public Library collection. It is estimated at $2,000-$3,000.

African American whaler scrimshaw topped $9K at Bruneau & Co.

19th-century scrimshaw created aboard the only known vessel with an all-African American crew, which sold for $7,250 ($9,060 with buyer’s premium) at Bruneau & Co.

CRANSTON, R.I. – A 19th-century work of scrimshaw carved on board a whaling ship with an all-African American crew sold for $7,250 ($9,060 with buyer’s premium) at Bruneau & Co. on January 22. The finely worked sperm whale tooth depicts a detailed view of a bustling city and its harbor and the name John & Winthrop, and was estimated at $2,000-$4,000. Complete results are available at LiveAuctioneers.

The captain of the John & Winthrop, a whaling bark operating out of San Francisco in the 1880s and 1890s, was William T. Shorey (1859-1919). Known as Black Ahab to his crew, he was the only African American captain on the West Coast, and his ship the only whaler in the world to be manned entirely by an African American crew. A street in Oakland, where Shorey lived, is named after him. The scene engraved to this tooth likely depicts San Francisco and is accompanied by the words Bark John & Winthrop 1876-1880.

The top lot at the 438-lot Winter Fine & Decorative Art online-only auction was a speculative Old Master drawing. This unsigned 18th-century capriccio rendered in red chalk was cataloged as Italian, but was very much in the manner of the prolific French draughtsman Hubert Robert (1733-1808). He specialized in semi-fictitious picturesque depictions of ruins in Italy and the French countryside – in this case, a rural canal scene with fashionable figures in a punt in the foreground. Sold at the time as finished works rather than preparatory studies, numerous sketches by Robert are rendered in red chalk. Boasting some well-observed passages, this drawing measuring 11 by 15in (28 by 40cm) was estimated at $800-$1,200 but took $26,000 ($32,500 with buyer’s premium). It came for sale from a Newport, Rhode Island estate.

From the same source were two Chinese Export oils on canvas painting depicting shipping in the harbor at Canton (modern-day Guangdong). The best of these showed the famous view of the 13 Hongs of Canton, the warehouses where trade between the West and China was conducted from 1757 to 1842. The scene was popular in China Trade paintings from the mid-18th century, with this one, dating from circa 1830, showing Spanish, American, British, and Dutch flags and showing the buildings that were reconstructed after a catastrophic fire in November 1822. It was estimated at $3,000-$5,000 and hammered for $11,500 ($23,000 with buyer’s premium). The pendant picture showing shipping on the Pearl River was offered separately with an estimate of $2,000-$3,000 and sold at $6,250 ($7,810 with buyer’s premium).

Appealing more to Chinese taste was a late Qing or Republican carving that used the natural contours of a pink coral branch to depict birds perching on the limb of a tree laden with cherry blossoms. It hammered to an online bidder via LiveAuctioneers for $4,600 ($5,750 with buyer’s premium) against an estimate of $300-$500.

Slotin plans back-to-back sales of folk pottery face jugs, quilts and African American memorabilia Feb. 10-11

Lanier Meaders face jug with double row of teeth, estimated at $1,000-$2,000 at Slotin.

BUFORD, Ga. — Folk art specialists Slotin kicks off its 2024 season with back-to-back online sales featuring folk pottery, jugs and handmade quilts on Saturday, February 10, followed by the Richard Harris African American Experience collection liquidation on Sunday, February 11. Both catalogs are now open for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

Collectors of Lanier Meaders (1917-1998) have a whopping 20 lots from which to choose in the sale. Best known for his face jugs, Meaders inherited the Georgia pottery works his grandfather founded in 1893, which was later operated by his father Cheever. The alkaline-glazed stoneware he produced is coveted today. The top-estimated Lanier Meaders face jug, at $1,000-$2,000, features a double row of teeth in the finish, something rarely found in Meaders’ collected works.

Lanier’s brother Edwin also checks in with seven lots featuring his trademark blue rooster designs. Standing out from the blue glaze is this early ash-glaze green rooster in mint condition. Undated, the rooster is estimated at $1,000-$2,000.

Rounding out Day One is a fine selection of handmade quilts. Affairs of the Heart by Aie Rossman won first place at the AQS International Quilt Show in Nashville, Tennessee and measures 102in square. It is estimated at $800-$1,200. Elizabeth Spannring won second place at the AQS International Quilt Show and first in the Road to California Quilt Show in 2005 with Temperamental Tulips?, an 85in square machine-appliqued and -assembled design. It is similarly estimated at $800-$1,200.

At 293 lots, the African American Experience sale on February 11 is a moving historical review of Black history from slavery days to the civil rights era of the 1960s and beyond. Runaway slaves were a constant problem for their owners, as seen in this 1854 broadside offering $100 for the capture and return of a man called Henry to his owner, Alexander Spottswood Grigsby, who was a prominent Fairfax County, Virginia, businessman and slave dealer. The broadside is further distinguished by its mention of the fact that Henry escaped from the county jail along with a white inmate, a 25-year-old man named James Henry Beach, who was being held on a felony charge. It is uncommon to see broadsides from this era about black and white individuals who escaped together or at the same time. The historical artifact carries a $6,000-$8,000 estimate.

Enemies of the slave trade were known as abolitionists, and they used common imagery of a kneeling, chained slave begging for mercy as a way of identifying their organizations and eliciting sympathy for their cause. This trade sign for the Anglo American Abolitionist Society is undated but certainly from the 19th century. Made of carved wood, the 57in figural sign is estimated at $2,000-$4,000.

Also featured in the February 11 sale is a collection of 21 lots of Black Panther-related materials, with an emphasis on numerous editions of the group’s Intercommunal News Service newspapers. The highest-estimated lot, at $1,500-$2,000, is The Black Panther Manifesto, a 1970 poster issued by the Panthers during chairman Bobby Seale’s imprisonment for contempt of court as he was facing prosecution for inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Featuring excellent artwork by Black Panther Emory Douglas, it focuses on an illustration of Seale strapped into an electric chair next to a lengthy statement made by Black Panther Minister of Information Eldridge Cleaver.

Pair of emerald green tulip vases should bloom at Jeffrey S. Evans, June 15-17

Boston & Sandwich Glass Co. pair of pillar-molded cut-notch tulip vases in deep emerald green, estimated at $8,000-$12,000
Boston & Sandwich Glass Co. pair of pillar-molded cut-notch tulip vases in deep emerald green, estimated at $8,000-$12,000
Boston & Sandwich Glass Co. pair of pillar-molded cut-notch tulip vases in deep emerald green, estimated at $8,000-$12,000

MT. CRAWFORD, Va. – Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates will hold its 44th Semi-Annual Premier Americana Auction from Thursday, June 15, through Sunday, June 17. The three-day event features nearly 1,500 lots consigned from several important collections as well as a large selection of choice objects from various individuals, estates and institutions. Each session will commence at 9 am Eastern time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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Oldest schoolhouse for Black children in US moving to Colonial Williamsburg

Image from the move of the Williamsburg Bray School to the Historic Area of Colonial Williamsburg on Feb. 10. Photo by Brian Newson, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
Image from the move of the Williamsburg Bray School to the Historic Area of Colonial Williamsburg on Feb. 10. Photo by Brian Newson, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
Image from the move of the Williamsburg Bray School to the Historic Area of Colonial Williamsburg on Feb. 10. Photo by Brian Newson, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) – A building believed to be the oldest surviving schoolhouse for Black children in the U.S. was hoisted onto a flatbed truck on February 10 and moved a half-mile into Colonial Williamsburg, a Virginia museum that continues to expand its emphasis on African American history.

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60-year African Americana collection offered at Guernsey’s, Feb. 28

Joe Louis boxing memorabilia, part of the 20,000-piece Meaders collection, est. $2 million-$10 million
Movie poster touting Lena Horne’s film debut as ‘The Bronze Venus,’ part of the 20,000-piece Meaders collection, est. $2 million-$10 million
Movie poster touting Lena Horne’s film debut as ‘The Bronze Venus,’ part of the 20,000-piece Meaders collection, est. $2 million-$10 million

NEW YORK – Guernsey’s will auction more than 20,000 historic African American objects owned by 90-year old Staten Island resident Elizabeth Meaders on February 28. This important collection will be offered as a single lot on the last day of Black History Month. The lot is estimated at $2 million-$10 million. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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