Sotheby's Americana auction reveals 'unknown' $3m Townsend furniture

An 18th century John Townsend chest of drawers is set to shine at Sotheby's Americana auction in January.

The mahogany chest, signed and dated in 1756, when the renowned cabinet maker was 23 years old, comes to auction on January 21 with a $3m high-end estimate.

The previously undocumented piece stands as his earliest surviving high chest, as well as one of the earliest known works by his hand.

It is likely Townsend's 'masterwork', produced to show he had completed his apprenticeship.

A previously unknown mahogany chest of drawers, attributed to Townsend, circa 1765, will also feature at the two day sale.

John Townsend chest
Townsend’s $3m estimated ‘masterwork’

The auction will also include a silk American flag, carried into the historic civil war battle of Shiloh by William Shallenberger of the 55th Illinois Company, in 1862.

The 55th Illinois is credited as having saved the Union army's left flank at the battle. The flag comes to auction with a high-end estimate of $40,000.

We currently have a Cuban flag inscribed by its recent leader Fidel Castro, and revolutionary Che Guevara.

Signed prior to the Cuban revolution, it is a superb piece of history, and can be yours today for £100,000.

Sotheby's Americana sale will also offer collectors the opportunity to bid on silver, folk art, prints and carpets, in addition to English pottery and Chinese export porcelain.

Sotheby's big rival Christie's is holding an Americana week of its own in January.

A rare copy of John James Audubon's The Birds of America, valued at $7m to $10m, is the anticipated star of the show.

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