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Amelia Jeffers Brings Back Decades-Old Tradition At Garth's Barn

Exciting Plans In The Works For Both Her And The Garth's Name


Published on Antiques and Auction News – November 10, 2023


The Jeffers' Thanksgiving Weekend Auction includes this important 19th-century oil-on-canvas painting of Yosemite Valley, ex. Don Jansen.

Amelia Jeffers was wrapping up year-end auction planning, cataloguing, and marketing at her eponymous auction firm when an unexpected turn of events in late October brought about a significant change affecting not only her fall auction schedule, but the course of her business moving forward. Finalizing the cataloguing and ads for a Thanksgiving Weekend Auction that is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24 and 25, at The Garth's Barn in Delaware, Ohio, Jeffers was on track to revive a "Black Friday" tradition that had lasted for more than 60 years. Traditionally, it ranked as one of the biggest and most important sales of the year. Jeffers' return to the historical barn last year marked a pivotal moment for her personally and professionally: within the walls of the 200-plus year old building is where she had "grown up" in the auction business under the tutelage of Tom and Carolyn Porter as a co-owner of Garth's Auctions from 1996 until her departure in 2017. It was also where her four children had grown up; Jeffers lived on the property for a number of years when they were young. The traditional Thanksgiving Auction was coming together beautifully with choice objects from consignors throughout the country, including an original Alexander Calder with Pace Galleries provenance, an important Vermont chest attributable to Ebenezer Wheeler, an early scherenschnitte found in Tryon, N.C., and a variety of other fine art, folk art, early furniture, and American decorative accessories.

Also selling in the Thanksgiving Weekend Auction is this vibrant four-color painted corner cupboard from southeastern Pennsylvania in untouched condition.

"I am really proud of the way my business has grown incrementally over the past 18 months," said Jeffers. "The Thanksgiving Auction at The Garth's Barn marks my second auction in that facility and is an assemblage my team and I have worked hard to pull together. We had a schedule for 2024 that had teed up a single-owner collection under contract now and a number of others in various stages of confirmation. And then I got the call, for me, the call of a lifetime." The call Jeffers referenced came from a representative of her former company, who approached her with an opportunity to take on their existing clients. Over the coming days, she would learn that Garth's would no longer be conducting auctions, leaving behind a large amount of consigned material in a massive Columbus, Ohio, warehouse, including the collection of the late Bruce Knight and his wife, Vivalyn. Conversations with her team, with Vivalyn, and a little soul searching led Jeffers to accept the opportunity. Jeffers has agreed to take over the warehouse and assume responsibility for contacting each consignor personally to explain the situation and offer options that include picking up their items or placing them in the care of Jeffers moving forward. She has rolled the first of the consignments into her existing Nov. 24 and 25 sale and has scheduled the 60-year collection of Bruce and Vivalyn Knight for Jan. 5 and 6, 2024, also at The Garth's Barn in Delaware, Ohio. "It is a wild but exciting time for us," Jeffers said when describing the mood around the warehouse.

A painted stepback apothecary will highlight the December single owner auction.

"My team is hustling. We already had an additional single-owner online auction scheduled for Friday, Dec. 8, and it could be a sleeper. I was worried about getting it all done, but Vivalyn encouraged me when we agreed to sign together that it was going to be a lot of work in a short amount of time, but to not forget to have some fun in the process. We are definitely having fun." The Dec. 8 online-only auction features a collection of country Americana assembled over more than 40 years, with great painted furniture, early advertising, primitives, toys, early toys, textiles, and stoneware, with select additions bringing the catalog to more than 350 lots. While both the Thanksgiving and December auctions are posted, Jeffers' team is simultaneously completing the printed catalog for the Knights' January auction. The printed catalog will be available for pre-order for $25 but free for those who make the trek to the preview and auction. "There is nothing like the energy of a great in-person auction!" stated Jeffers. Bruce and Vivalyn Knight are well-known, having established the monthly Springfield Antique Show and Flea Market and the Heart of Ohio Antique Center, both icons in the antiques industry. The family's lifelong collection will be one of the most significant sales held at The Garth's Barn in many years, encompassing more than 800 lots of important Americana, folk art, and decorative arts. "The Knight collection is a whole other story on its own," noted Jeffers, promising more information to come. All auctions will be conducted on LiveActioneers.com and Invaluable.com, with absentee and phone bidding also available. For more information, call Amelia Jeffers at 740-815-7016 or visit www.ameliajeffers.com.

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