“Made in the USA” was once a familiar phrase, most often referring to factory-made goods produced by American labor. In an age in which so many products are imported, antique Americana – whether handmade or manufactured – is noteworthy and no longer taken for granted. There is no doubt that you will be obsessing over the more than 72 vintage items have been curated in this week’s Americana auction.
Few forms exemplify Americana more than a figural weather vane. While weather vanes were often produced in factories in the 19th century, many others were the work of local metalsmiths. All are now considered folk art. Several examples have been curated in this sale, including one that depicts a locomotive and caboose marked “St. J & LC” (St. Johnsbury and Lamoille County Railroad), which operated in Vermont and Maine. This unusual weather vane was handmade circa 1920.
Handmade locomotive and caboose weather vane, circa 1920, 14 inches high by 24 inches long. Estimate: $1,000-$1,500
No toy of the 19th century represents the American spirit better than the cast-iron mechanical bank, which demonstrates ingenuity and Yankee thrift. A J. & E. Stevens William Tell bank, which depicts the famous marksman, is featured here.
Rifleman, or William Tell, cast-iron mechanical bank, patented in 1896, 6 3/4 inches high x 10 1/2 inches wide x 4 inches deep. Estimate: $450-$600
Decorated stoneware has not lost its luster among collectors, especially when the hand-decorated design is unusual and nicely executed. A 2-gallon ovoid crock decorated with a large and bold floral design is a fine example. It is marked “William H.E. Warner/West Troy, N.Y.”
Two-gallon decorated stoneware crock, William H.E. Warner, West Troy, N.Y., mid-19th century. Estimate: $300-$400
Collectors of firefighting memorabilia will be interested in an early 20th century fireman’s retirement plaque. The large plywood shield was presented to O.E. Berkan, who served on the Newman (Calif.) Fire Department from 1909 to 1939.
Twentieth century fireman’s commemorative retirement plaque, circa 1940,
shaped plywood, 23 x 23 inches. Estimate: $800-$1,500
Another unique item curated in the sale is an oil on board painting titled “Fish Houses” by Long Island, artist Whitney Hubbard.
Whitney Hubbard, “Fish Houses,” oil on board, carved gilt frame, 14 1/4 x 16 inches framed, 8 inches x 10 inches board. Estimate: $500-$800
Additional handcrafted items in the auction include tramp art boxes, patchwork quilts, hooked rugs, trade signs and whirligigs. Click here to view the full Americana sale and be prepared to be taken on a trip back in time.