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Amelia Jeffers Builds Up Steam With Folk Art

Published in Antiques and The Arts Weekly — June 23, 2023

The highest result of the weekend was $20,400, for this 1961 Cadillac Coupe de Ville in turquoise with bubble top and almost 110,000 original miles. It sold to a vintage car dealer who has previously purchased from Amelia Jeffers ($20/40,000).

Amelia Jeffers, who launched her eponymous auction house in the fall of 2019, who has been slowly building her business by selling collections and consignments as they come in, spoke to Antiques and The Arts Weekly after her May 25-26 auctions, when nearly 340 lots of jewelry and coins were offered on the first day, and another 380 lots of antiques, art and collectibles followed on the second.

“I can see clearly a path beginning to emerge to [being] a full-blown auction house, which is exciting. There’s a lot of work involved but I’m grateful for my previous experiences where I jumped into every role, so now it makes me very nimble as a start-

up. I’m really grateful for that. It’s giving me what I would describe as the privilege to assemble a solid staff I can hire slowly and put together a group of people, many of whom I’ve worked with before. I feel really good about the sale.”

This custom-made pedal car, inspired by a 1940s Mercury Roadster, appealed to bidders, who drove it from an estimate of $400/800 to $4,688. A collector “out West” had the winning bid.

A 1961 Cadillac Coupe de Ville with bubble top drove to the head of the sale, earning $20,400 from a client of Jeffers in Mount Vernon, Ohio, who buys and sells vintage cars. The car, which was in beautiful condition, dazzled in a San Remo turquoise body and featured a 472 cubic inch, 375 horsepower fuel-injection engine and had nearly 110,000 original miles. Though Jeffers did not identify the seller, they were also the ones who brought her a pedal car, custom made after a 1940s Mercury Roadster, which more than quintupled its high estimate and achieved $4,688 from a collector “out West.”

  1. The seated man measured 40 inches tall, while the woman, which was signed by Ernest “Popeye Reed,” topped off at 30 inches. The carved stone pair sold to a collector of Ohio River Valley folk art for $8,400 ($4/8,000).

  2. A garden stone with cast iron rooster windmill weight sold to an Ohio collection for $3,720 after getting “so much interest.

  3. A pearlware shell-edge platter with vibrant decoration and exceptional condition sold for 10x the estimate for $3,000 ($250/500).

“Folk art and fraktur were on fire!” Jeffers enthused, noting the categories are what she personally holds near and dear to her heart. Results launched such works into the sale’s highest prices, notably a pair of carved stone figures by Ernest “Popeye” Reed

(American, 1919-1985), which featured a seated man and woman, the female figure signed “E. Reed,” that may have depicted African Americans, bringing in the sale’s second highest price of $8,400. Jeffers noted the buyer was a collector who appeared to have a specific interest in Ohio River Valley material.

A garden stone with cast iron rooster windmill weight sold to an Ohio collection for $3,720 after getting “so much interest. The star carved into the stone was awesome” that Jeffers said was “assembled some time ago, so it takes on this extra, folksy kind of nuance that makes it special.”

Dated 1789 and inscribed “Mary Hiseller” along the top, this fraktur bookplate with tulip decoration measured 5 by 7 inches and had provenance to leading Americana dealer, Bill Samaha. It found a new home with sophisticated fraktur collectors for $4,080 ($600/800).

Among fraktur lots — of which the sale presented several examples — an early bookplate with tulips bloomed the highest, selling for $4,080, more than five times its high estimate. Factors driving interest and the result of the early example included good condition and provenance to Americana dealer, Bill Samaha. It found a

new home with what Jeffers described as “a very sophisticated and deep private collection.” A folk art watercolor bird in great condition, dated 1822 that had provenance to both collectors Pete and Ann Lowder and folk art dealer Austin Miller, flew to a new home with a Midwestern collector for $3,360.

Though the jewelry selection on the first day was a bit hit or miss, offerings of coins and pens provided unique opportunities for collectors and, with regard to the latter, a chance for Jeffers to expand her expertise. Capping the pen category at $1,563 was a vintage “Omas Extra” fountain pen, Italian, Twentieth or Twenty-First Century, that had gold toned trim, an 18K gold nib and deep green faux celluloid bois barrel that retained its original case.

A sizeable selection of coins — nearly 170 lots in all — that had been sourced from a local estate and one in Florida “all did well.” At the head of the category was a single uncirculated Carson City Morgan silver dollar, dated 1880, that found a new home for $1,375. It was followed at $1,250 by a group of 41 Morgan silver dollars.

Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For information, or 740-815-7016.


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