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Shipping Policies

Please direct shipping inquiries to Shipping@QuinnsAuction.com. Quinn’s Auction Galleries ONLY ship with FedEx Domestic and USPS internationally. We do not ship Media Mail. Shipping costs are based on the weight of your lots and your location. We require a complete shipping address and phone number to process your shipping quote. You will receive your shipping quote in your invoice via your registered email. Once payment is received, Quinn’s will ship items FedEx ground in the United States, USPS International or release items to an outside shipper. We reserve the right to recommend an outside shipper based on fragility and size of lot. We offer recommendations for outside shipping by trusted shippers if necessary. If using an outside shipper, Quinn’s Auction Galleries is not responsible for damages by carriers or packers of purchased lots, whether or not recommended by us, and will not be liable for any losses which result. Payment Policies: Please remit payment by check, money order, cashier’s check, or wire transfer along with a copy of the invoice. For purchases under $4000 credit cards are accepted. We accept Master Card, Visa and American Express. There is a 4% service fee for use of a credit card. Invoices greater than $4000 require payment by certified check, bank check, cash or wire transfer. The Gallery must receive payment in full before any of your merchandise will be available for removal by you or shipped to you. The Gallery reserves the right to hold merchandise purchased by personal check until the check has cleared the bank.

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“Stumped” by American Politics – Past and Present

Monika Schiavo, Waverly Rare Books at Quinn’s Auction Galleries American presidential elections have always been newsworthy events, often providing unexpected twists and turns as candidates travel across the country speaking to voters. The 2016 campaign for the top job at the White House was no exception. While modern campaigns now make use of Twitter and Facebook, an item coming up for auction reminds us that the art of political debate goes back to our country’s founding. Most of us know that the phrase “stump speech” comes from the tradition of campaigners sounding off from the top of a sawed-off log. This activity raised their profile – literally – and gave them a chance to connect to a wider audience. The tree stump in the photo(s) is a reminder of a time when someone running for public office delivered speeches from a homely piece of wood instead of a fancy raised platform. This particular item was a gift from the 40th President of the United States and the First Lady, Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Imprinted on top with the double-pointed arrow brand used at their vacation ranch, Rancho del Cielo, it is a wry reminder of one small but significant part of our country’s political history. You can read more about this unusual item and see other rare and remarkable pieces of American history at www.quinnsauction.com.

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Just What is an Ethnographic Art Auction?

You may have noticed that in the past year, Quinn’s Auction Galleries in Falls Church has had a series of Ethnographic Art Auctions. You may be asking yourself, “What exactly are Ethnographic Arts?” These are objects created by indigenous groups such as Native Americans, Africans, Pre-Columbians, and Oceanic Islanders. In short, they are the items many call “tribal art.” These items include those made for religious and secular use within these cultures such as masks, figural sculptures, architectural elements, textiles, clothing, instruments, jewelry, furniture, and many more. Sometimes the items are decorative or made specifically for sale, and at other times the objects are used by the people themselves. As with all art, there are varying degrees of craftsmanship, history, and desirability among dealers and collectors that affect auction values. One of the things collectors look for most is a history of appropriate cultural use. These signs may vary from the way an object is painted to how the holes on a mask or the facial features of a statue have worn over time; all can have a huge effect on auction value. Quinn’s Auction Galleries has notably been selected to sell the Inventory and Collection from the Merton D. Simpson Estate. This Estate boasts an important collection of African, Oceanic, and Native American art in addition to a vast collection of fine art. Part 1 took place on October 1 of this year, there will, however be additional opportunities to see and bid on this important group of objects. Join us for Part 2 on December 3, 2016 and more in Spring 2017.

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Fox 5 DC February 2016

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – The Howard Wolverton Collection of Black Americana featuring artifacts and treasures of Black American history will be auctioned off Thursday in Falls Church. The collection includes items reminiscent of our country’s shameful past of hatred and racism. Jacob Johnson is the conservator and the appraiser of this collection. “The collection originated in East Orange, New Jersey,” he explained. “It originated with Howard Wolverton, who was a history teacher for predominately black students in high school there.” This collection contains more than 2,000 relics ranging from books and photos along with chains and branding irons that might be a little more difficult for people to absorb. “There are items that I have a difficult time dealing with,” said Johnson. “The shackles, the branding iron – I have a difficult time with those things. It is important because that is American history. It is the dark side of American history that many people would not accept and want to forget. But guess what? It’s part of history and we should be proud of our history. We are Americans.” For some, these items can bring out a lot of emotion. “I see people who almost draw tears,” Johnson said. “When you see how somebody was shackled, it brings tears to some people’s eyes. Can you imagine being branded with a branding iron? It’s horrific.” The pieces in this collection date from the late 1700s to the 1960s. “There are those people who don’t believe that these things should even exist any longer and there are those people who will buy them to destroy them,” Johnson told us. “It is very significant that we remember who built the country, how it was built, and it’s our history. It is everybody’s history. It is not just black people. It is American history and we cannot deny it.”

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Washington Post February 2016

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One look and you gasp.

There’s a postcard from Dover, Del., of a shirtless black man being whipped in front of a crowd of white boys and men.

“THIS IS THE WAY WE DO ’EM UP HERE,” the sender wrote on the back, amid the more standard postcard pleasantries of 1938.

There are heavy, iron handcuffs and their double-sided key.

A branding rod with the letter J. Both used on humans.

And there is sheet music for a jaunty tune called “There’ll Never Be A Coon Sit In The Presidential Chair.”

All of these items will be open to bidding at Quinn’s Auction Galleries in Virginia this week, part of a 2,000-piece collection of black Americana.

It’s a trend in the collecting world — buying up these Aunt Jemima cookie jars, pieces of the human slave trade and literature from our country’s shameful past.

Some people buy them to get them out of circulation, to prevent the children of today and adults of tomorrow from ever seeing the way we treated other humans. And to keep racists from having palpable totems of their twisted beliefs.

But like Nazi or Holocaust memorabilia, it’s complicated.

When Matthew Quinn, executive vice president of the auction house, asked his webmasters to post the collection they said, “ ‘We can’t post this stuff,’ ” he told me. “I told them we have to. This is our history.”

Yes, it’s our history — and it’s awful. But there’s one important lesson to history: We must never forget it.

And I’m not just talking about never forgetting the Big Baddies — plantation owners, human slave traders and the like. It’s easy to believe we’re nothing like them.

The items that are part of this collection — the caricature salt and pepper shakers, the cereal trading cards of awful slave scenes that kids got with their breakfast, the Currier & Ives prints ridiculing black Americans that were displayed on the walls of the turn-of-the-century everyman like Thomas Kincade prints are hung today — remind us how accepted such bile had been.

Racism ran — and still runs — through every thread of society.

“You can’t talk about it enough,” said Jacob B. Johnson III, the antiques dealer and appraiser who brought the collection to Quinn’s. “As a society, we can’t ever forget.”

Johnson was friends with the collector, Howard Wolverton, a New Jersey high school history teacher who used the memorabilia as part of his curriculum.

“He was a white man who believed in teaching American history — all of it,” Johnson said.

Ignoring how casually America ridiculed and belittled black Americans — from household products with the N-word in the name to home decor that celebrated slavery — isn’t telling the whole story, Wolverton believed.

And his collection is an amazing, cross-class indictment of America’s original sin.

“None of this was made to be collected,” Quinn said. “Whether we like it or not, it’s American culture on display.”

And along with the despicable, the collection has the celebratory, which itself becomes sad.

Wolverton, who died in 2005, had what may be the only surviving tintype — like a metal photo — of William Tillman.

Never heard of him?

That’s part of America’s racism, too.

Tillman was one of the Civil War’s great maritime heroes. He was a steward and cook aboard the merchant schooner S.J. Waring when it was boarded by confederate privateers. Being the only crew member allowed to walk freely (they needed his help), Tillman staged a one-man attack in the dead of night to kill the pirate captain and turn the ship around, back to New York.

His valor got him a $6,000 reward from the government, newspaper accolades and a spot in P.T. Barnum’s show, where he regaled his heroism.

If a white man pulled that kind of coup, we’d be driving on roads named after him.

There’s also plenty of original material from Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins, the musical prodigy who composed “The Battle of Manassas” and wowed Americans, including Mark Twain, with his astonishing musical genius. He could perfectly mimic any sound, he learned Beethoven’s 3rd Concerto in one afternoon, then played the entire piece with his back to the piano — treble with his left hand, bass with his right. In his shows, he would play “Fisher’s Hornpipe” with one hand, “Yankee Doodle” with the other, all while also singing “Dixie.”

Never heard of him either?

Yes, forgetting, ignoring and sometimes erasing the strength, heroics, bravery and fortitude of black Americans is also part of America’s continuing racism today.

And how different, really, is the 1938 public whipping in Delaware from the videos we see on a regular basis of black Americans beaten, harassed and killed by police officers today? Or the racist song of Oklahoma frat boys — “There will never be a N-word in SAE”? Or the Arizona girls who thought it would be funny to spell the N-word out on their T-shirts? We’ve already forgotten.

Author credit: Petula Dvorak

Featured in the Washington Post on Tuesday, February 16, 2016. See the original post here.

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Upcoming Ethnographic Art Auction: October 24, 2015

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We’ve got an exciting Ethnographic Art Auction planned for Saturday, October 24, 2015 at 11:00am in our Falls Church location.

Quinn’s has assembled an amazing cross-section of Ethnographic and Tribal Art including African, Oceanic, Pre-Columbian Pottery & Gold, Textiles, Native American Pottery & Kachina Dolls, and much more.

Preview is available:
Saturday, October 17th: 10:00am – 2:00pm
Monday, October 19th: 10:00am-5:00pm
Tuesday, October 20th: 10:00am-6:00pm
Wednesday, October 21st: 10:00am-6:00pm
Thursday, October 22nd: 10:00am-6:00pm
Friday, October 23rd: 10:00am-4:30pm
Saturday, October 24th: 9:00am-11:00am

See the auction catalog by clicking here.

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iGavel Auction: Fall 2015

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September 24, 2015 – October 8, 2015 **This auction is online only

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Preview Available Wednesday, Oct.1, 11:00 AM- 6:00 PM
Monday, Oct.5, 11:00 AM- 5:00 PM
Tuesday, Oct.6, 11:00 AM- 5:00 PM
Wednesday, Oct.7, 11:00 AM- 6:00 PM
Thursday, Oct.8, 10:00 AM- 12:00 PM

See the entire catalog by clicking here.

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