“Colorfully Cast” features the eclectic collection of a couple’s lifelong interests in Americana, including a significant array of weathervanes and windmill weights.
MARLBOROUGH, MA – Skinner Auctioneers will host an online auction of Americana from January 31 at 12 p.m. through February 10, 2022 at 7 p.m. “Colorfully Cast: A California Collection” consists of the immense and delightfully rustic holdings of a California couple who have been sprucing up their homes with incisively-chosen objects from the American heartland for the past three decades. The result is a sale of vast and historically significant American treasures, retaining both the colors of their long histories and the warmth of a personal touch.
“Colorfully Cast” represents the fruits of a broad interest in American life of all varieties, from the utilities of rural subsistence to the congregations of the town square. Superlative among the collection’s array of carnival antiques is a large carousel horse in a rare prancing position, made by master woodcarver Charles Looff in the early 20th century and in fine condition today; glass eyes and jewels compliment a weathered paint job of over 100 years. A trade sign hung outside the storefront of J. N. Olweiler Clothing Boots & Shoes , and later found in the attic of the same building in Elizabethtown, PA, offers a glimpse into mercantile life of the mid-1800s.
The collection is notable for its vast assortment of cast-iron farm tools and sculpture, including one of the largest assemblies of windmill weights to reach auction in recent years. These cast iron weights, largely of Midwestern provenance from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, include a rare screw-leg rooster with vestiges of white paint, one of four known examples; as well as a hollow “mogul” weight forged by Elgin Wind Power and Pump Co, Illinois, and painted bright orange by original owner. An iconic “Rochester Rooster,” crafted by Rochester Iron Works in the 1880s, and in original condition after a century of weathering, is indicative of the couple’s great taste and sharp eye for weathervanes.
In addition to the grand objects of the American exterior, the California collection is well-furnished with folk art and homewares that speak to a warm and inviting aesthetic, which served the couple’s collecting as a guiding principle throughout. Folk carvings, cast-iron objects of architectural utility, and wrought iron sculptures demonstrate the breadth and depth of this colorful medley. A small but smartly sought selection of maritime objects includes a panbone plaque of carved whalebone depicting a naval vessel, from the mid-19th century. A delightful variety of furniture is also featured, including vintage stuffed leather ottomans in the shapes of African animals, crafted by Omersa & Co. for New England Abercrombie & Fitch stories in the mid-1970s.
The range of objects across geographical provenance and time-period speaks to the singular taste of one couple’s handpicked interests in home décor—folksy, whimsical, and unexpected. Their astute and joyful acquisitions speak to their aesthetic convictions, and provide a dash of color and warmth to the homes of future collectors.