Auction of American Folk Art & Toys at Doyle on January 23

  • NEW YORK, New York
  • /
  • January 14, 2020

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Silk-on-Silk Needlework Picture, probably Fredricksburg, Virginia, circa 1790. Similar to an example by Mildred Gregory Washington (1777-1805), niece of George Washington. Est. $20,000-30,000. Lot 235.
Ruth Whittier Shute and Samuel Addison Shute, Portrait of Two Children from the Prescott Family with a Dog, circa 1831, Watercolor and pencil on paper. Est. $100,000-150,000. Lot 373.
Uncle Sam Cast Iron Mechanical Bank, Shepard Hardware Co. Height 11 inches. Est. $3,000-4,000. Lot 35.

Doyle will present the auction of Cherished: American Folk Art and Toys from the Estate of a Private Collector on Thursday, January 23 at 10am. Scheduled during Americana Week in New York, this landmark single-owner collection comprises over 400 lots, including tin and other toys, mechanical banks, samplers, decorative art, paintings and works on paper.

The collector had a keen interest in childhood, as seen by the myriad objects that were made by or treasured and cherished by children in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Together they weave a tale of the delights and education of the child throughout American history.

The sale begins with toys and mechanical banks. These objects developed during the Industrial Revolution when toys began to be mass produced in metal instead of the traditional homemade toys of cloth and wood. Cast iron mechanical banks were a novel way to promote savings among children. Often depicting a historical figures or a humorous scene, their appeal was shared by children and adults.

The sale also includes a large group of important girlhood samplers and needlework pictures, which would have been wrought in silk or wool from the mid-18th century through the mid-19th century by young girls aged five to eighteen. Examples include renowned schools such as Mary Balch’s School in Rhode Island and Mrs. Buchanan’s School in Pennsylvania.

The collection includes fine examples of portraiture from some of America’s most noted folk painters, including works by William Matthew Prior, Jane Anthony Davis, Jacob Maentel, and Ruth and Samuel Shute. These artists captured the vitality of their subjects and give us a glimpse into the lives of the citizens of our young nation.

This cohesive collection offers a wide array of folk art and furnishings that give a glimpse into the of the world of the collector.

The public is invited to the exhibition on view from Saturday, January 18 through Tuesday, January 31. Doyle is located at 175 East 87th Street in Manhattan. The catalogue is available online at

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