Andrew Clemens sand bottle brings $23,000 to Cowan's

A sand bottle created by celebrated artist Andrew Clemens has seen some of the highest bids in Cowan's July 13 auction of Fine and Decorative Art.

Andrew Clemens sand bottle
Clemens' work is unusual in that he used no glue, relying only on friction to hold his intricate designs together

The superb decorative bottle sold for $22,800 as a rare surviving example of Clemens' work.

Andrew Clemens was born in Iowa in 1857 and at a young age contracted encephalitis, which caused him to lose his hearing and speech. He was then enrolled in the Iowa State School for the Deaf and Dumb.

During his summer vacations, Clemens would spend time collecting coloured sand from the nearby Pictured Rocks. Sorting the piles into the different colours, he then produced the amazing sand art bottles, for which he used no glue, only tools that he had fashioned himself.

At first, the designs used in Clemens' work were simple, usually geometric patterns on a white sand background. However, as his skill increased, his range broadened to ships, flowers, flags and eagles.

Clemens died aged 37 in 1894 and is thought to have produced hundreds of bottles, yet only a few survive today.

Civil war carved pipe
Carved pipes from the US civil war era are popular collectibles, known for this historic importance and beauty

Also selling among the folk art on offer was a Reuben T Woodward carved pipe from the civil war-era.  

Bringing $15,600, the pipe is carved with the words "Fraternal friendship and love/ Our God and our country forever/ This pipe made from wood dug on New Bern/ Battlefield and made and carved by R T Woodward of Mass 21st Vol who was/ wounded in the above battle March/ 14th 1862."

Guernsey's will offer a staggering array of Americana and folk art in its Harrisburg auction, which runs from July 15-21.

Sign up to our free weekly newsletter for more of the latest collecting news delivered straight to your inbox.

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock