Published: June 21, 2022
CAMBRIDGE, MASS. — Two hundred fifty items from Bill Samaha’s collection were sold at CRN Auctions on Sunday June 19. Carrying the highest estimate, and garnering the highest price of the sale, $915,000, was John Brewster Jr’s portrait of his half-sister, Betsy Ann Brewster (1798-1838). This portrait by Brewster (1766-1854), a deaf itinerant painter, was well known in the folk art world, having been included in an exhibit of his work at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It was purchased by a private New England collector, underbid by dealer David Schorsch. Samaha’s collection included exceptionally fine American furniture, and one of those pieces, a circa 1770 Boston Chippendale mahogany oxbow chest earned $122,000, the second highest price of the sale. A superb Eighteenth Century Nantucket child’s brace-back Windsor armchair realized $50,020 and there were several more pieces. The collection included other folk art, with a bright, unsigned painting of worshippers arriving at a country church selling for $67,100. There were numerous surprises as other items such as whaler-made accessories, firearms, trade-signs, clocks and smalls drew strong interest, both from bidders in the room, on the phones and online. Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium. A full report will follow.
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