American auctioneer Garth's is building up to its 'Early American Antiques and Decorative Arts' auction at the end of this week. For fans of historic antiques and collectibles from the Land of the Free, this is a prime opportunity to collect or invest with a good price range on offer.
At the top end of the scale is an ancient but remarkable blanket chest, allegedly crafted by Johannes Rank of the Rank-Selzer families of makers and decorators. Hailing from Dauphin (now Lebanon) County in Pennsylvania, the decorated chest is dated 1791 - only 10 years after the American Revolution.
The antique chest is made from poplar wood; the dovetailed case, over three drawers with red rims, is painted blue. The original paintwork is faded but remains intact. On the front, three yellow 'tombstones' are painted with pots of orange flowers inside. The chest rests on bracket feet.
This beautiful relic from the earliest days of modern America has an estimated price of $16,000-22,000, and is likely to be popular with collectors of and investors in classic Americana or hand-crafted furniture.
A pre-revolution inlaid schrank (a tall wardrobe-like German chest with double doors) is also likely to attract attention. This piece, crafted from walnut in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, is dated 1765 on the front. The letters 'Geo. R' also adorn the inlaid, indicating it was made my furniture maker, George Rahn.
The two doors feature a single star design; this 'knock-down' type inlaid has two dovetailed drawers and an interior divider. It is in wonderful condition considering its age. With an estimate of between $5,000 and $10,000, it may be the subject of fierce competition.
These two highlights are relatively inexpensive for an investor with cash to spend and a passion to indulge; for collectors with more modest means, the Garth's auction has a plethora of low figure antiques.
Georgian antique furniture has been highly successful of late - for example, this side table recently starred at Bonhams, where it sold for $351,000.
Garth's auction has much to offer; there are over 800 items in the first session alone - which commences the morning of March 11. In any case, there are plenty of good investment opportunities for budgets of all sizes.