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Successful Online-Only Event Sparks Jeffers’s Next Venture

Published in Maine Antique Digest – September 2023

By Susan Emerson Nutter

Amelia Jeffers, Auctioneer & Appraiser, Columbus, Ohio

For the past few years auctioneer and appraiser Amelia Jeffers has been a solopreneur in the auctioneer business and loving it.

“There is something about only having to manage yourself which can be very freeing,” Jeffers explained. Sure, several of Jeffers’s work projects require collaborating with others, be it the real-estate business or publishing her Columbus-based magazine, Sophisticated Living. But when it comes to hosting auctions, Jeffers goes it alone. She makes it work by hiring some fantastic freelancers to get the job done, but for the most part, it’s been all Amelia.

However, there is change in the air. “I love only having to answer for me, and I can be pretty tough on me, but recently I’ve been rethinking this. People have come into my life who are really rising stars. They have freelanced for me on several projects. They are driven, hungry for work, hungry to learn,” Jeffers explained. “And I’d love to work with them on more projects on a regular basis.”

At the Midwest business where Jeffers used to work, hiring by credentials was the norm. “But I have come to find, the best hires are the ones with little or no credentials, no multiple degrees, no multiple letters at the end of their names. Instead, I want to work with those individuals who have a fire in their bellies to do the best work because this produces the best outcomes,” Jeffers stated.

Is there a caboose to this train of thought? You betcha. “My dear friend show manager and dealer Steve Sherhag of Canfield, Ohio, one of those go-getter freelancers I love working with, said to me recently, ‘So, are you going to just play at being an auctioneer? Or actually commit to being an auctioneer?’ And that’s a very fair question,” Jeffers stated.

Apparently, Amelia Jeffers is ready to commit.

Although online auctions are here to stay, and Jeffers has the nod to use the former Garth’s barn to host signature event auctions, she also owns a fabulous 19th-century storefront in old Dublin, a large suburb of Columbus. The 1500-square-foot shop on High Street houses an independent cupcake shop now, but it will become her new digs in late 2024. Yep, Jeffers is putting down new auction roots. “It’s a fantastic space with a big garage in the back,” Jeffers explained. “I’m hiring people as we speak.”

You heard it here first. Stay tuned.

Jewelry made up part of the first day of the auction. This 18k yellow gold ring with a basket-weave design adorned by a 4.50-carat natural color sapphire (changing from blue to purple-pink), size 5.75, weight 19.64 grams, accompanied by an AGL Prestige Lab report, sold for $3125 (est. $8000/12,000).

That news aside, Jeffers wrapped up an online-only auction May 25 and 26 made up of items from about 32 consignors. “Except for the Hindman/Cowan auction held that same weekend, the results of my two-day May auction did extremely well when compared to others held at the same time in the Midwest,” Jeffers noted. “The competitive part of me is very pleased with that!

“We had consignors who brought five or fewer items to the auction, with others consigning fifteen to thirty-plus pieces,” Jeffers noted. “And being fully transparent, I sold items from my own collection at this auction, specifically the fraktur and creamware.”

Charming in design, this folky painted hanging corner shelf hails from Ohio. It features an applied diamond-panel drop-front shelf and retains its original surface. Some beaded trim is missing. It also retains a sticker from the auction of the Paul Carpenter collection at Garth’s Auctions, Delaware, Ohio, October 1997. The 37" high x 14" deep shelf sold for $1625 (est. $800/1200). It is ex-Rich and Susie Burmann.

When asked what sold strong, Jeffers replied, “I think it is fair to say it was a good day to be a fraktur and a not so good day to be a drop-front desk.” Brown furniture still struggles at auction unless it has some fabulous pizzazz or desirable provenance. Fraktur, on the other hand, did very well for Jeffers.

“I’ve considered selling the fraktur over the past several years,” Jeffers explained. “There were a lot of emotions tied up in them. The pieces were acquired during my marriage, and most were purchased from good friends and dealers. But looking at it realistically, I have two kids in college. I told myself I can always rebuild a fraktur collection on my own at a later time. So they went into the auction with what I thought were very conservative estimates, and, well, they just took off.”

Consisting of a heart with two six-pointed stars and tulips and inscribed at the top “Mary Hiseller her hand and Pen Road [sic] this...1789,” this early Pennsylvania fraktur bookplate in a 7" x 5" frame, ex-Bill Samaha, sold for $4080 (est. $600/800). “The fraktur sales were a great representation of what I often tell collectors to consider when putting together and then selling a collection,” Jeffers noted. “Buy the best, and buy pieces from reputable people. When you decide to sell an item, let it go and don’t look back, and lastly, don’t expect to get what you paid for it. I try to practice what I preach, with the results this time surpassing my expectations.”

Leading the collection was an 18th-century Pennsylvania fraktur bookplate with tulips. Inscribed at the top “Mary Hiseller her hand and Pen Road [sic] this...1789,” the fraktur was estimated at $600/800 and sold for $4080 (with buyer’s premium). Ex-Bill Samaha, it was in a 7" x 5" frame.

Surrounded by a strong graphic diamond border, this 19th-century folk-art heart and tulip fraktur in an 8" x 6" frame sold for $2880 (est. $500/700). The fraktur sports the text “Love...Jan 20th 1823.”

A 19th-century folk-art heart and tulip fraktur in an 8" x 6" frame, featuring a heart with the text “Love... Jan 20th 1823,” with a flower, flower buds, leaves, and stem above, all surrounded by a strong graphic diamond border, was bid to $2880 (est. $500/700).

This 20th- or 21st-century custom-made pedal car was made for a collector, inspired by his 1940s Mercury roadster. It sold for $4687.50 (est. $400/800).
This 1961 bubble-top Cadillac Coupe Deville in San Remo Turquoise Poly paint, with 109,294 original miles, sold for $20,400 (est. $20,000/40,000). The car features a 472-cubic-inch, 375-horsepower fuel-injection engine, air ride suspension with adjustable ride height, air conditioning, and power seats, windows, and antenna.

Two cars made their way into this auction. A 1961 Cadillac Coupe DeVille in San Remo Turquoise Poly paint, with a bubble top and 109,294 original miles, sold for $20,400 (est. $20,000/40,000), while a 20th- or 21st-century pedal car custom made for a collector and inspired by his 1940s Mercury roadster realized $4687.50 (est. $400/800).

This pair of monumental 20th-century seated stone figures, clothed but in bare feet, by Ernest “Popeye” Reed (1919-1985) of Ohio sold for $8400 (est. $4000/8000).The woman is signed “E REED” on the side of the bench. The approximate height of the man is 40", and the woman is about 30" high.

A pair of monumental carved stone figures by Ohio folk artist Ernest “Popeye” Reed (1919-1985) sold just shy of a record price at auction when they brought $8400 (est. $4000/8000). “These figures were quite large. The man was 40" tall, and the seated woman about 30" tall, and the pair generated a great deal of interest,” Jeffers stated.

Also generating a bit of buzz was a framed Ohio cut-paper and ink scherenschnitte family record by John Brown (J.B.) Walker (1815-1908), which sold for $2375 (est. $1800/2500). Having an exuberant design, the piece marked “J.F. Ulrich’s Family Record” recorded the births of J.F. Ulrich (June 9, 1869), Minnie M. Wenger (April 27, 1869), and Muriel V. Ulrich (December 9, 1893), and the marriage of J.F. and Minnie (April 14, 1893).

This 19th-century Ohio cut-paper and ink scherenschnitte, “J.F. Ulrich’s Family Record,” by John Brown Walker (1815-1908), 22" x 28" (sight size), records the births of J.F. Ulrich (June 9, 1869), Minnie M. Wenger (April 27, 1869), and Muriel V. Ulrich (December 9, 1893), and the marriage of J.F. and Minnie (April 14, 1893). It sold for $2375 (est. $1800/2500).

“The consignor of this lot is a very savvy collector but had never researched the people involved,” Jeffers noted. “The Ulrich name is uncommon. When I also realized one of the birthdates recorded was the same as my own, and the fact that Muriel was such a unique name (and the name of one of my team members), I had to do some digging.”

Jeffers’s research was fruitful. She found that Minnie (Maria) Wenger Ulrich, who died March 20, 1962, and John Frederick Ulrich, who died December 14, 1945, are both buried in Fry’s Valley Moravian Cemetery in New Philadelphia, Tuscarawas County, Ohio.

“Then five days after the contents of the auction went online, I got a call from a well-known Ohio dealer who belongs to the Ulrich family,” Jeffers stated. “It was their relatives, and I am happy to report the scherenschnitte is back in the family.”

Doing research, going that extra step, is just how Amelia Jeffers is wired. It is also a great contributing factor to her success. “We had 700 to 800 bidders participating either online or via absentee or phone bidding for this auction. We had five phone lines going and used two online platforms—LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable. It was an excellent auction. I feel that rush of climbing back, of quickly catching up. I can clearly see the path forward.”

It is an exciting time to be Amelia Jeffers.

For more information, call (740) 815-7016 or go to (

With multicolor decoration, this 19th-century English pearlware platter with an embossed edge sold for $3125 (est. $250/500). The platter measures 10" x 12".
With a bird perched on a branch and inscribed lower right with text and the year 1822, this 3¼" x 3½" (sight size) Pennsylvania folk-art watercolor bird sold for $3360 (est. $400/600). In a 5½" x 5 1/3" gold-leaf frame, it is ex-Pete and Ann Lowder and ex-Austin Miller.
Featuring a full-length portrait of a woman in a nightdress and slippers holding a lantern in one hand with a bird (a parrot?) perched on the other, this Pennsylvania fraktur watercolor bookplate sold for $2520 (est. $750/1500). It is 6½" x 3¾" (sight size). The frame is 11" x 8½".

This 19th-century punched sheet tin wrigglework coffeepot with a gooseneck spout and strap handle, attributed to John Shade, Upper Swamp Creek, Berks County, Pennsylvania, sold for $2040 (est. $800/1200). The approximately 11½" tall coffeepot was sold with a 1979 bill of sale.

Titled 11,000 Ft. Altitude - Cumulus Cloud,this oil on masonite by Eric Sloane (1905-1985) sold for $3750 (est. $6000/8000). Featuring a single plane flying over a large and billowy cumulus cloud, the work is 25" x 30".
Made of polished brass and standing 20½" high, this 19th-century “crushed acorn” student lamp by Bradley & Hubbard with a 10" diameter milk glass Handel shade sold for $1562.50 (est. $100/300). It is still an oil lamp and hasn’t been drilled out for electricity.
Attributed to the Elgin Wind Power and Pump Co., Elgin, Illinois, this cast-iron full-bodied rooster windmill weight with a rainbow tail set in a nicely proportioned stone with a large five-point star on the front, 41" high overall, sold for $3875 (est. $800/1200). In great condition, with traces of paint, this garden stone is heavy. “A collector from the greater Dayton area bought this, and when it came time to remove it, there was no way we were going to be able to lift this,” Jeffers remembered. “I stepped outside looking for help, and thankfully there was a construction site nearby. I nicely asked several workers if they would possibly help me out, and they were kind enough to do so. It took three workers to move it!”
A wonderful buy at $875 (est. $300/500), this circa 1760 Queen Anne tavern table has a two-board scrub top with breadboard ends. Its top measures 24½" x 44", and the table stands 26½" high.
This nicely assembled three-piece coin silver tea set includes a teapot marked “W.B. North and Co” and a creamer and covered sugar marked “Thomson.” The set sold for $1562.50 (est. $300/500). The total weight of the set is 4 lbs. 13 oz.
Made of hollow-cast brass, this charming seated whippet, 27" high, sold for $3000 (est. $400/800).
Made of walnut, this 20th-century California grandfather clock by the Gazo Family Clock Factory with a round face and Black Forest rococo-style carving sold for $3000 (est. $400/800). The clock is 85" high x 27¼" wide x 13¾" deep.
This Reach official American League baseball signed by 24 members of the 1931 New York Yankees, including Hall of Fame inductees Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe Sewell, Earle Combs, Bill Dickey, Vernon Gomez, Chas. Ruffing, Tony Lazzeri, and H.J. Pennock, sold for $4080 (est. $3000/5000). Also included on the ball are clubhouse signatures for Joe McCarthy and Jimmy Burke. The overvarnish has yellowed and is peeling in some places. The ball and signatures were authenticated by James J. Spence Jr. and Steve Grad for PSA/DNA Authentication Services in 2002.


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