Published: June 6, 2016
BOSTON, MASS. — The top lot, and biggest surprise, at Skinner’s auction of the Shaker Collection of Erhart Muller on Saturday, June 4, was a Shaker painted alphabet board from Harvard, Mass., that handily surpassed its $15/25,000 estimate to attain $104,550.
The Nineteenth Century piece was fashioned from two long boards set into a blue-painted frame, having a top row in capital script and the lower row in lower case, 20½ by 159½ inches.
This board was in Muller’s house when he acquired it. The house was formerly a carpenter’s shop in the Harvard Shaker Plot. It is believed that it came from the Harvard schoolhouse which had been moved opposite the cemetery. According to Shaker Design, education for Shaker children was provided in each community by adult Believers. The boys attended school in the winter and the girls in summer; each term lasted four months.
A complete report on the auction will follow in an upcoming edition.
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