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Auction Finds ... and the stories · 3d ago

Called scraps, but these pictures are far from it

The small embossed pictures were in no sensible order in the box on the auction table. I suspected that they had been removed from an old Victorian scrapbook where they had been carefully pl...
Auction Finds ... and the stories · 3d ago

Oversized figures of Christ, African female & Marlboros

One week, the auction house had a larger-than-life figure of Jesus Christ that looked as if it had been taken from a church. A few weeks later, it offered a larger-than-life figure of an Afr...
Auction Finds ... and the stories · 1W ago

Memory jug beckons to an African folk art tradition

Did you see the memory jug, my auction-buddy Rebecca asked as I was examining items in the back room of the auction house. To be honest, I had no idea what a memory jug was but was not surpr...
Auction Finds ... and the stories · 1W ago

From $170,000 to $600,000 – record-breaking African American art sale

The audience seemed to be ho-hum as artist Charles Ethan Porter’s beautiful yellow sunflowers went for $40,000. I didn’t observe much stirring when William H. Johnson’s jitterbug dancers sol...
Auction Finds ... and the stories · 2W ago

Artifacts tell their own story of Martin Luther King’s life

One artifact was a photo of Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, two men who sought freedom for African Americans in their own ways. Another was a large pinback button from the Southern Chr...
Auction Finds ... and the stories · 2W ago

The endearing pocket knife

When I was growing up, men fought with switchblades. Too much drink mixed with a bump or a slight would draw out the switchblades on many a Saturday night at juke joints in the South. With a...
Auction Finds ... and the stories · 3W ago

Promise of fair treatment made & broken at 1939 NY World’s Fair

The newspaper pages were tucked behind a seemingly unrelated art print of a stone church. I was a bit interested in the artwork but was more intrigued by the newspaper. I assumed that it con...
Auction Finds ... and the stories · 3W ago

A 2nd Laura Wheeler Waring’s portrait of James Weldon Johnson

The auction house had played the portrait prominently on its website. That was understandable since the artist who painted it and the subject were both famous African Americans. The auction ...
Auction Finds ... and the stories · 4W ago

The documented life of peace activist Ethel Taylor

The woman’s history was laid out on the table like an open book: passport, CIA file, photos, bio, airline tickets, FBI file, political cartoons, thank-you letters from POW families. It remin...
Auction Finds ... and the stories · 1M ago

Rattlesnake keychain, widemouth bass mailbox & more

The rattlesnake was showing its fang, but who could blame it. Someone had chopped off its head and made it into a keychain. The rattlesnake’s angry countenance was one of two on a shelf in a...