Monday, October 27, 2014

Pirate at the Table

September 19th is National Talk Like a Pirate Day!  This is definitely my favorite new make believe Holiday.  It is always fun to take on another persona and escape the workaday existence many of us lead.  Although my own life is sometimes mired in Mundania, in my work I am very fortunate. In the auction business, everyday is different, unique, a departure from the routine. 

I have very little control over what crosses our threshold and what I uncover in New England's stifling attics and musty basements.  Some days it is the rare and desirable, others it is just the flotsam and jetsam of objects from other (often deceased) peoples lives. But every day is different and every thing has a unique a story and connection.

I happened to be cataloging a piece from the Mayflower Society Collection which was fitting for September 19th.  A tavern table sat before me which may be the earliest example we have ever seen. The legs and base stretcher are elegantly vase and block turned oak. This ancient piece boasts a Queen Anne style carved apron and board top. The table shows the scars of three centuries, wear, scratches and what I just love to see, the small holes which indicate Powder Post Beetle damage.  This generally accompanies great age and often evidences a Cape Cod origin.

My mind begins to wander, could this piece have sat in the ancient Tavern at Point Jeremy in Welfleet.  It was a notorious haunt of the disreputable at the dawn of the 18th Century. Pirates were known to frequent this "bucket of blood". Buccaneers with Cape Cod ties include my favorite Samuel "Black" Bellamy, who lost his life as his Flagship the "Whydah" went down during a Hurricane in 1717.  Could Sam have sat at this table drinking rum and planning his next voyage?

Pirates seem to live in our collective imagination.  They were the original rebels and malcontents, living by their own code and often paying the ultimate price.  My imagination races to Nix's Mate, in Boston harbor.  It is an unremarkable pile of rocks which is visible only at low tide just outside the narrows.  This is the spot which the authorities hung gibbeted Pirates to rot and serve as a warning to all sailors shipping in and out of the port of Boston.  

Our auction on November 8th offers a rare opportunity to own this early 18th Century tavern table.  Pirate history aside this table truly speaks to you.  AAARHHHH Matey we hope to see you at the auction.