Monday, December 16, 2013


So many objects come through our doors, such a diverse variety it blows my mind.  The different uses and reasons for creation range from fine art, created for adornment and pure expression to weapons meant for warfare.  All of these objects have their own unique story to tell, since they cannot relate it directly, close observation and careful research can tease it out of the past.  Some things we can hold and truly feel an energy and history associated with them.   Antique Militaria is a category which truly exemplifies this phenomena.

An interesting collection of weapons and accoutrements will be featured in our January 21st Auction, ranging from a civil war Remington Zoave Rifle to an Early 19th C. British Bandsman's sword.  What truly draws my eye is a salty model 1841 Cutlass made by Ames Mfg Co for the United States Navy.  This piece has the look!  The hilt is brass with a grip made in a fish scale pattern, with numerical rack marks.  The blade is marked with a faint 1842 date.  Holding this piece can carry one back to the early days of the United States Navy.  Was this cutlass aboard a ship in the African squadron, running down slavers off of Sierra Leon?  Did it ride upon a blockade ship during the Civil War?  Was it in hands of a boarding party during the war with Mexico?  This piece truly speaks to you.

Another military piece which carries a compelling  history is the Model 1866 Allin Conversion Springfield Trapdoor.  These muskets armed our boys during the Indian Wars of the 1870's. They were lethal, but already obsolete when issued due to a single shot capacity.  I imagine this weapon griped  by a Pony Soldier fighting the Sioux.  Out on the barren plains, he would have been cursing it's limited capability in the face of an enemy armed with repeating rifles.

I have been working on a large lifetime collection of Militaria over the past few months, which we will feature in a specialty auction this Spring.  This amazing group spans both time and the continents, it includes everything from revolutionary war uniforms to one worn by an SS General during the second world war.  I will share some highlights in the coming weeks. Until then, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


I absolutely love antique signs,  porcelain advertising signs, hand painted carved wood signs, street signs, posted signs, trade signs, loud signs and subtle signs.  I wonder at the art, what the written word evokes in the mind of its reader.  The symbolic aspect of signs is truly worth contemplating.  

There are several signs still in use Today which I absolutely covet.  One is attached to the building of a South Shore car dealer and has probably been there for seventy years,  it is the iconic Art Deco Pontiac logo in neon.  Another is a hotel sign which dates from the 1940's in East Greenwich Rhode Island.  It is part of a small town main street vista, which can act as a time machine if you look long and hard enough. This Neon flange sign advertises a lounge and weekly rates

  Signs have been with us for a very long time.  While visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum one can see the remains of painted signs on the ruins of the Ancient Roman equivalent of a strip mall.  18th and 19th Century signs often appear in the shape of the goods or services they advertise, to speak to the many illiterate potential customers.  I once owned an early painted French metal sign in the shape of a woman's shoe.  Early twentieth century porcelain signs demonstrate this art in high form.  These signs show the artistic potential, when color and design intersect.  I am always thrilled when an early porcelain sign crosses our threshold.

I sometimes wonder  how our sign resonates in the minds of people passing our business offices.  The day it was hung will always reside in my memory as both a moment of pride and anticipation.  Does our sign create a positive response?  Is it's message clear?  Did we get the color right?  I welcome you the reader to let me know.  Until then my hunt for early signs continues.  Please join us for our January 21st Auction, at 83 Court Street, look for the "Auction Today" signs out front.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


My favorite two aspects of my job are getting the stuff and selling the stuff, I guess that is my job when distilled and boiled down.  Auction night was a true success.  A large audience greeted me as I ascended the podium at six o'clock, with many familiar faces and some new as well.  I felt like the first couple of lots started us off a bit slow, as we had a flurry of left bids which won, but then the crowd kicked in and competition heated up the cold November air.

  The Plymouth specific antiques ignited interest with strong bids for the Indian Arrowheads and Antique Souvenir Porcelain.  The early Plymouth colony deed captured bids from the phone, floor and internet, before selling to a Cape Cod dealer.  Silver was another strong category.  Most of these glittering lots sold to the floor.  The large Dominick & Haff flatware set broke the $3500 mark, which I think will please our consignor!

I had a wonderful time bid calling and can't wait to do it again in January.  I would like to thank everyone who joined us for a great evening out, at America's Hometown Auction.  Thank you Chef Steve Coe of Bokx 109 for some truly amazing food and Bartending Service of New England for libations.  I am always grateful for my crew, which in my opinion is the best in the business.  I will see you all again January 21st, 6:00 P.M. at 83 Court Street.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Anticipation is the watch word of the week.  The catalog is completed, everything is tagged and carefully packed up.  The crew is confirmed, as is the chef and bartending service.  We are ready to go!  I love this week as it gives us time to reflect on over two months of accumulation.  I recall house calls from Boston to Truro,  the interesting people I have met and the precious objects which have joined our November 19th Lineup.  The hard work is complete, now the real fun begins.

We have over 260 lots of everything from 19th Century Kitchen Primitives, to Antique Georgian Silver and everything in between.  Paintings are strong in this sale, my personal favorite is Lot #1, a small 19th C. Oil on Canvas of a shipwreck dated '73 (1873).  We also have dozens of "organic" lots.  These are items from Plymouth, Massachusetts and New England, from wonderful 19th Century Primitives with Southern New Hampshire provenance, to a 17th Century Deed from a Cape Cod Indian Sachem.  The details of this important lot can be found in a fantastic story in the November 13th Edition of "The Old Colony Memorial", by Emily Clark.


  For the silver magnates, over 500 Ozt of Sterling silver spanning 200 years and many famous makers awaits their bid.  In this category a beautiful 19th Century flatware set by "Dominick & Haff" is a true standout, 90 pieces of over 150 Ozt Sterling Silver.  The true show stopper has to be the pair of British Silver Tea Caddies.  Hand chased, with ram finials, WOW!

Please join us for a wonderful night out, Tuesday, November 19th at 83 Court Street, Plymouth MA.  We have a great sale with Beer, Wine and food prepared by Chef Stephen Coe of BOKX109.  Competitive bidding and opportunity await.  See you at the auction!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


One of my favorite forms of Art is jewelry.  It is a combination of metallurgy, nature and human artistic expression.  Something deep within our DNA attracts us to these objects of beauty.  Our eyes are drawn to gold, our pupils become fixated on a diamond's brilliance.  Is it the beauty both man made and natural which connect us to these objects, or do we just respond to things which sparkle?  For me antique and vintage jewelry hold a special allure.  Whether the ornate detail of a 19th C. Victorian Brooch, covered in mine cut diamonds, or the aerodynamic lines of a 1930's Art Deco Bracelet, I see the beauty.  

This week a call delivered an incredibly diverse collection of fine jewelry.  This group spans a century, from the 1890's to the 1990's, every piece has two common attributes: quality and beauty.  The first work of art presented, was a massive opal and diamond pendant dating from the early 20th C.  The center stone is a round cut Opal with sunrise colored fire, surrounded by over 4c of mine cut diamonds and another pear shaped stone suspended beneath.  Next came a three diamond ring, with stones that appeared to be internally flawless under the 10X of my loupe.  Both these pieces have been sent out for a full appraisal. 

My absolute favorite piece in this collection is an English, Victorian Cameo Necklace in it's original fitted box.  This piece consists of six hand carved Italian Shell Cameos set in 15K gold.  The quality and beauty of this piece is simply remarkable.  In total this call netted over thirty pieces of fine jewelry, which will be available to the highest bidder in our January 21st sale.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


In my regular work week I see hundreds of things.  Some things have a definite and finite value, for example, scrap gold and silver.  Simply weighed and assayed it is a math problem, a calculation with a numerical solution, the answer... value.  Many things however, defy a simple formula, a beautiful unsigned 19th Century painting for example.  Although we can estimate its value based on experience and sales records of similar paintings in style, age, subject and execution, the true value is enigmatic.  In real terms, it is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it and no more.  This applies to anything in fact, from a house to a bottle of California Cabernet.

Everything we sell at auction has a monetary value.  This value is simply the highest price bid by the last bidder.  I see many objects however, which have a value which transcends dollars and cents.  Some things have historic value, educational value, cultural valuenostalgic value Some things also possess a deeper value... soul.

Two of these soulful items came through our doors this month from two different consignors.  Antique 19th Century game boards.  One of these wonderful examples of American folk art was created from wood,  maple to be exact.  An artistic execution in curly maple, blond and darker wood, with a hand made check inlay make up this beauty.  The other is a wonderful reverse painted glass board in an oak frame. They are of a similar vintage and purpose.  What makes them most alike though is soul.

I imagine the place of honour these remarkable works of art held in their respective households over the past century or so.  They were passed down from generation to generation. They were venerated as each family recalled time spent as children and adults in fierce competition.  Whether a fast paced game of checkers, or a strategic duel of chess,  the laughter, tears, victory and defeat these boards witnessed give them that all important element...soul. 

Soul cannot be pegged to a monetary system.  It cannot be monetized in dollars, euros or yen.  But these boards will sell to the highest bidder Tuesday evening on November 19th.  You could write the next chapter in their respective lives and add to their soul.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


A gentleman crossed our threshold with a very large box of silver.  I am always thrilled to have precious metals show up, although often upon closer inspection I see the dreaded letters "E.P.N.S" or "Rodgers & Co".  I would estimate that for every piece of Sterling Silver, I see 20 pieces of electroplate.  So with this ratio in mind, I am usually a bit skeptical.  

As we began to unpack the box, the first thing I saw was a beautiful heavy gauge water pitcher.  It looked like early 20th Century Gorham, but I held my breath as I inverted it and made out the marks.  Wrong! It was signed Wallace, but also carried that wonderful word "STERLING".  Another Pitcher followed, this one signed "Gorham" and fortunately "STERLING".  Alright, I was beginning to get excited.  The next piece was a large oval serving tray.  It had a beaded edge and was heavy.  Underneath I beheld another one of my favorite markings "TIFFANY & Co".  I just love anything made by this legendary producer. 

The box turned into a second box and then a third.  Another solid silver tray appeared.  A beautiful Sterling flatware set was the finale.  Late 19th Century heavy quality from a rare and elite maker, with 117 pieces.  After we unpacked this collection and weighed everything, the total was nearly 400 Ozt of .925 Sterling Silver!  

These beautiful and artistic pieces generally sell simply for the price of silver they contain.  I am always amazed, as it is the biggest bargain in the business,  all of the artistry of design and fine craftsmanship comes free.  Antique Sterling Silver draws the eye like nothing else and we are always grateful when it comes through our door.  We will be offering almost 600 Ozt for our November 19th sale! Looking forward to seeing you at the auction.

Monday, October 7, 2013


An ordinary phone call.  The caller has an antique Victrola.  She attended our last sale and saw one sell for good money, so we booked an appointment.  As I pulled into the unpaved drive and came upon the beautiful lakeside home, my optimism began to soar.  I hopped out of the Jeep and sampled the air, a perfect 72 Degree Indian Summer's day.

I was greeted by a smiling woman, who thanked me for coming.  She explained that she was downsizing and was ready to sell some of her things.  As we walked through her home, I quickly realized that she had been a collector for many years, with a keen eye for the interesting, eclectic and unusual.  She explained that she was a veteran of countless auctions and estate sales over the years and simply bought things which spoke to her.

We began our tour in the kitchen, which was full of vintage gear, including a working 1920's "Sunbeam" mixer, with original bowl and a beautiful porcelain scale.  A stack of yellow ware mixing bowls and a super tin lot made our list.  Around the corner I spied a simply amazing turn of the century flip top Physician's cabinet, with black glass top.  This piece was in beautiful original condition, with a gold manufacturers label.  I just love a collection like this. The objects seem unrelated, except for the cool factor!

As we continued our progress, the collection began to show another common thread.  Most of these pieces were from the first three decades of the twentieth century, an epic period of American design and ingenuity.  In the basement an iconic example greeted us, an early Barber's chair.  I love this heavy metal!  The chair was a classic, with a Chicago maker mark, original headpiece and upholstery.  As I was thinking how great this would be for our sale, little did I know that the best was around the corner. 

As I entered the next room I beheld an amazing sight:  A colossal antique sidewalk scale towered over everything.  It was an absolutely superb example, the best I have ever seen.  Heavy porcelain over iron, a fluted column supporting a lollipop dial with reverse painted glass.  This piece came from the North End of Boston, where it enticed curious pedestrians for decades.  What an amazing piece of Americana!  I can't wait to see this baby in our catalog.

It was another great week of our endless treasure hunt.  I am ready to do it again.


Monday, September 23, 2013


The best stuff just keeps on rolling in!  Our November 19th Sale is shaping up to be exactly what I had hoped for Thanksgiving in America's Hometown.  Months ago I thought a sale centered around as many local items as possible would generate some excitement.  When I say local, I mean Plymouth, Massachusetts and New England,  things connected with our Pilgrim past and of course artifacts left by Native Americans.  

An old collection of pre contact stone arrowheads and tools found in Plymouth came through our doors.  A stone mortar and pestle was my favorite along with some magnificent quartz bird points.  Continuing with this theme, a 1682 land grant to Plymouth Colony from a Wampanoag Sachem, for land in Yarmouth was consigned for November's sale.  Another rare piece of Americana is an 1818 Proclamation from Massachusetts Governor John Brooks in an exceptional state of preservation.  

A large group of Currier and Ives Lithographs has also come in, including a very apropos "Pilgrims Landing at Plymouth".  A grouping of early 20th Century Plymouth souvenir porcelain plates and pitchers, along with sterling silver spoons followed.  These lots were accompanied by a great collection of kitchen primitives including some 18th Century wrought iron!  

With two months before the sale, I cant wait to see what we uncover in the attics and basements of the Old Colony,  we will keep you posted.  As always looking forward to seeing you at the auction.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


The crew looked sharp, the lighting was perfect, the hall was decked and the crowd pulsing with optimistic energy, even the weather was a ten!  After my pre flight Patron shot (a theatrical superstition), I was thrilled to take the stage.  Three hours and 241 lots later I felt a feeling of gratitude wash over me as a brilliant evening began to wind down.  

What a strong sale!  To me the highlight of any auction is the unexpected result.  Our pair of Jerusalem Bezalel Torah Finials filled the starring role, hammered at $30,000 three times high estimate with fierce competition from three bidders, one on the phone from Israel.  It is amazing Today, how technology allows us to project our consignments to a global audience.

The collection of 19th Century Canton Porcelain had a strong showing as the lots topped our high estimates and saw great action on the floor.  Militaria was another extremely strong category.  The collection of Cavalry swords saw action, selling to the floor, phones and left bidders.  The Civil war Starr Carbine rose to $1,500 and a pair of World War One Grenades fetched a stunning $750.  I just love selling military items as they just draw the interest of the crowd like no other category. 

I am very thankful to all of those wonderful people whose hard work makes these sales a success!  My crew is simply the best, everything ran smoothly and flawlessly.  Thanks to the management and employees of Memorial Hall, New England Bartending Service and Chef Steven Coe.  Thank you to everyone who came out for the sale, I appreciate your business and enthusiasm.  Our next sale is scheduled for November 19th, at 6:00 P.M. at 83 Court Street, Plymouth, MA.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


This business, like many others, looks easy from the outside in.  It seems a simple recipe: you get a bunch of interesting stuff together (art, furniture, antiques and the like), advertise the sale, mix them all together in a hall and sell it off to a mob of people.  It always looked this simple when I attended sales.  Technology seems to make this process even easier.  Throw some pictures up online and get an even bigger crowd!

When I embarked on this career, I had no idea of the complexities and frankly the hard work which goes into this business.  As this idea took form in my head, I didn't even dream that I would spend entire days with a digital camera, solving problems like: How do I photograph a mirror straight on without a reflection of god forbid me in the picture (I am still trying to solve this), or spending twenty minutes removing lint from a black background.  Another action which never entered my dream was six hours of stickers.  That's right, six hours of placing lot stickers on 300 items, from jewelry to rugs, from furniture to paintings.

This seemingly endless work does offer a compelling reward: an endless treasure hunt!  From a basement in New Bedford akin to Silence of the Lambs which yielded a dozen early 19th Century books, including a rare "History of the Hawaiian Islands", by Jarves, published 1848 in Honolulu and a salty looking "American Ship Master's Guide", by Francis Clarke, Boston 1838.  These books looked to have been in situ since the 19th Century, when square rigged whalers ruled that seafaring town.  This call demonstrates the wonderful diversity I see, as the books came along with a stunning Peter Hunt sideboard and four chairs.

Another reward in this business are the simple challenges.  Climbing a rickety ladder and removing a Deco light fixture, cutting through fabric wrapped wires strung in the 30's all the while praying, "God I hope I cut the juice on the correct switch in the Medieval looking fuse box".  But when the fixture is freed, I am thrilled just knowing that it will become another great lot in our next sale.  

Every call I go out on is completely unique.   Some calls can be frustrating when I find nothing of merit and calculate the dinosaurs burned to get there and back.  Sometimes the people I meet are the best part of the experience.  Often the people can make an everyday object exponentially more interesting by telling the story behind it.  I'm not talking about the Hummel that was Grandma's favorite, I'm talking about the gentleman handing me the 1st Marines uniform he personally wore on Guadalcanal fighting the Japanese in 1942.

All the hard work which goes into every sale is laid bare for all to see on auction day.  Our team is made up of truly talented and hard working people and I am grateful for them.  I am so lucky to do this for a living, I love my job and can't wait to see you on September 10th at 6:00 P.M.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


What a collection! With a tremendous grouping of World War One militaria under our belts, including edged weapons and some top notch German Helmets, the door has opened.  A Boston consigner has brought us a superior collection of swords.  These weapons include two Revolutionary War Horseman's Sabers and a half dozen Civil War period Cavalry swords.  One of the "wristbreakers" has its original Rock Island Arsenal hangers!  These weapons are completely untouched and original, just what we want.  The pieces we have for the September sale are just the tip of the iceberg, this collection is deep.  I can't wait to bring in the rest.

I was fortunate to meet with my Porcelain expert this week and furthered my education in 19th Century Chinese Export.  The quality collection of Canton shines with a new light to my eyes and has his blessing.  A ginger jar with Bonzai tree decoration is my favorite and looks to be 18th Century.  The china trade was just as hot two centuries ago as it is Today.

As Summer comes to its close, I reflect on not enough beach time or fish caught, but I am thrilled with the quality of antiques and art which has past our threshold.  The subtle changes which herald Fall's approach have begun, cooler nights and the last rush to the Cape.  But Football is just around the corner, Hallelujah!  Our September 10th sale comes after what I hope will be a strong Brimfield for our dealers.

I want to recognize the passing of a dear friend, our dog Benny died peacefully last week.  You dog lovers know the pain we are feeling with his passing.  He was a sweet and happy soul who will be missed.

Monday, July 29, 2013


We had some truly remarkable consignments come through the door this week.  My favorite, just for the beauty and quality has to be the two sets of Norwegian Enamel (Vitrious Glass) over silver spoons.  These are simply works of art, ten demitasse and ten large spoons, demonstrate the splendor of simple objects at the beginning f the 20th Century and the level craftsmanship we cannot touch Today.

Sharing the stage and in the same genre, a beautiful Tiffany and Co., silver basket weave plate came through the door.  This was accompanied by three small portraits on Ivory and some early Chinese export.   I am getting excited as our September Antiques sale is coming together, this stage in the process is my favorite, hunting high and low for the right stuff!

Militaria seems to be popping up everywhere lately.  I had a wonderful house call in New Hampshire, with a collection of World War One weapons secured to the walls and ceiling, untouched for over fifty years.  I love finding these pieces "in situ" and absolutely original.  This collection will be an interesting addition for September and should add up to 40 plus lots! I am working on a local collection as well.

The hunt will continue this week with house calls from Cape Cod to Maine.  If you see me cruising New England's back roads, you will know it is me by the ear to ear smile, I just love what I do.  I can't wait to see you at America's Hometown Auction,  September  10th 6:00 PM.

Friday, July 19, 2013


I would like to thank everyone who attended our Summer sale Tuesday evening, as well as our hard working staff, who made it a true success.  I would also like to thank the staff and management of Plymouth Memorial Hall, a simply exceptional venue in the heart of America's Hometown!  

The crowd was buzzing, the air conditioning ice cold and the auction red hot.  The Bartending service of New England was pouring well needed drinks and Chef Steve Coe served up some truly amazing culinary creations.  As I took to my pulpit, I saw smiles and heard laughter, the energy was truly positive.  I just love what I do!

In three and one half hours we sold 286 lots of Antiques, Art and Furniture.  Watches Jewelry, Silver and Paintings proved to be our strongest categories, with fierce competition and active bidding.  The collection of Pub signs also was a favorite.  A beautiful vintage Geneve Universal watch climbed to $2,000 and eclipsed my expectations as did the early wood carved Madonna at $800.  I love these diverse sales, there is something for everyone.

Silver and gold appear to be on the mend with prices creeping higher.  We have some high quality English Sterling Flatware in our September sale and some fine jewelry.  I am taking in some period furniture next week and a 60's Rolex watch.  Looking forward to our art and Antiques sale, September 10th at 6:00 PM.  Thank you again for supporting J. James Auctioneers & Appraisers, America's Hometown Auction.  I hope to see you in September!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

J. James Auctioneers and Appraisers AUCTION 7-16-2013

The Heat is on!  July in New England, 6 days of 90+ , I would complain, but then I could not whine about the frigid darkness that is February.  We have such extremes in New England, in temperature, weather, topography and culture.  The breadth of almost 400 years of history (additionally 15,000 years of Native American pre-contact), gives us fortunate Antique nuts very fertile ground for discovery! A Cape Cod house call this week illustrates this wonderfully.

It looked the part in every way, classic Federal proportions, double chimney, glazed foyer, and brick painted white.  Inside a treasure trove of fine American and English Period Queen Anne and Chippendale Furniture!  The most remarkable looking glass I have ever beheld greeted me at the entrance, beautiful lines, primitive glass, crafted first quarter of the 18th Century.  Next I beheld a period Rhode Island occasional table and a C. 1750 tiger maple candle stand.  Chests of drawers, untouched with original brass pulls, a blanket chest with the most exquisite dovetailing I have seen.
The floors were adorned with 19th Century Persian rugs, a simply beautiful Antique Roomsized Caucasian stood out.  A dream come true!

It is truly remarkable when a collection of this quality comes to light.  True period 18th Century furniture doesn't just turn up every day. I crawl around hundreds of damp basements and stifling attics in search of a stick of it.  What a great house call, the treasure hunt continues!

Oh, I almost forgot, Join us for an exciting evening on July 16th, 6:00 PM at Memorial Hall, Plymouth, MA for our Summer Auction.  We are offering 300 estate fresh lots of Art and Antiques, with Beer Wine and Chef prepared fare.  Join us for a memorable evening, I can't wait to see you there!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

This was an interesting week at America's Hometown Auction, our house calls have yielded some exceptional consignments.  My favorite item is A Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Commissioned painting by celebrated Cape Cod Artist Ralph Cahoon and this one is spectacular! Every artistic element a collector and enthusiast could wish for is here: Playful mermaids netted by Jack Tar Sailors, Ships, Whales, Hot Air Balloons, even Nobska Lighthouse in the background.  Painted in 1977, Oil on Board, titled Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, in the foreground, with the Atlantis Ship and a Sailors Valentine for "Alvin" (the famed deep sea submarine), on a whale's tail.  This beautiful Painting will be for sale to the highest bidder at our September 10th Auction.

We were fortunate to uncover some other interesting items for our September sale, including a collection of Early 19th Century American weight driven Mantel Clocks,  some rare and colorful early European Travel and Exposition Posters and I am crossing my fingers for a 1967 BMW R69S Motorcycle!  This bike is simply amazing!  Totally original paint, with matching numbers!  I can't use enough exclamation points to convey my excitement!!!!!  Sorry, classic bikes get me a bit overexcited.

I also had the opportunity to conduct a "roadshow style" appraisal at Plymouth Plantation this week.  I met some really nice people and appraised some interesting items.  My favorites included an iconic weapon of the American Civil War, an 1863 Remington Zoave Rifle in near Mint unissued condition, a bronze Eastlake style hotel inkw
ell, some 18th Century Georgian Silver and a Shreve Crump & Low Silver pocket watch.  I really enjoy these events, as you never know what will land on the table.  It can be a challenge meeting such a diversity of objects, but offers a great opportunity to learn.

We closed out the week in our office, finalizing our advertising piece for the July 16th Sale.  Looking through our lots I realized what a great sale we have put together!  Six weeks of gathering consignments from the four corners of the earth (including central Florida!) and the fruits of our labor can be viewed at our website  I am excited and can't wait for the sale.

It is time to catch my breath and do some fishing.  The Striped Bass have been hot in Plymouth Bay.  I have even heard rumors of early Pogies in the harbor.  Live lining Blue Fin at Stellwagen Bank, is just around the corner.

Monday, June 17, 2013

J. JAMES AUCTIONS : Martha's Vineyard House call.

Driving to the Cape this morning I realized how grateful I am for my career choice.  I was heading to my house call on Martha’s Vineyard to appraise some Art, French Faience Pottery and some other antiques.  I just made the 9:45 boat to Vineyard Haven, which Today was the cargo ship “Governor”.  I always enjoy the secondary boats which make up the Steamship Authority’s Fleet, these small boats lend a much more intimate experience crossing Vineyard sound, without the throngs of tourists.  Quiet reflection is encouraged. 

As we pushed off from Woods Hole, I noticed the diesel salt smell I grew up with and although the sky was grey, bright smiles lit the passengers faces including mine!  Wind was about 8-10 mph North West and Seas were 2-4 with occasional rollers shifting the deck noticeably.  I sat on the Port gallery seats, for a simply amazing view of Woods Hole with Nobska light house in the distance.   The sea was a deep green and the air crisp, a fine crossing lay ahead.

As the island slowly came into focus, I could clearly pick out individual boats mored in the harbor including the “Black Dog” schooner flying a fluttering Flag with the Labrador profile known far and wide.  As we touched land I quickly called my clients and met them at the wharf.  I told them how excited I was to be on island and happy to meet them both.  We hopped in their SUV and headed Up Island to Edgartown. My new friends shared some of their experiences living on the Vineyard and I confessed my envy. 

After a tour of their beautiful home, I was shown into the kitchen to behold an interesting collection of Art and Antiques.  My eye was immediately drawn to a fine 1950’s Nantucket basket, embellished with an artfully executed Scrimshawed Whales Tooth.  Some fine French Faience Pottery adorned the table with copious piles of Dedham Pottery behind.  A Nantucket street scene, done in pastel by Ron Abbe was leaning against the wall and a small plain box sat on the tables edge.  It held a vintage 1950’s 18K Gold Cartier Tank Watch.  Simply beautiful and in pristine condition.  My absolute favorite though was an Antique Porcelain Bay State Paint sign, with the Smiling  Painting Pilgrim.  I simply love the early signs, cool graphics and super colors.  Is there a better place to sell the smiling Pilgrim than at America’s hometown auction?

After a wonderful visit, my new friends asked me to lunch at on of my favorite Vineyard haunts, “News from America”, exceptional pub food, with a nice selection of drafts, including my favorite, Otter Creek Copper Ale.  I was relieved when my hosts ordered drinks, giving me the green light for a well earned afternoon Pint!

After a quick ride to Oak Bluffs for the boat home,  I find myself looking down at a Striped Bass Blitz under the wharf.  These were large fish 30-45” knifing in and out of a ball of sand eels.  Simply amazing you could sight cast on these silver beauties, if I only had my gear!  I was so engrossed with action, I almost missed my ride back, the “Island Home” ferry. I ran up the long dock to the boat and grabbed a prime spot on the stern weather deck. The afternoon sun was blazing in a blue cotton ball cloud sky, the breeze was light and I took a moment to acknowledge how grateful I was for my career choice.