Visit To Sotheby’s

Twelve members of the Loudoun Sampler Guild visited Sotheby’s auction house to see the exhibition of the Betty Ring Collection, the day before it was sold and scattered. 

There were almost 150 pieces in the collection being auctioned, and Sotheby’s had given over one entire floor to the exhibition.  Some collectors come to needlework as they would any type of arts-and-crafts or folk art, but for our group, our appreciation is enhanced because we are all stitchers ourselves.  And while the Sotheby’s catalogue is comprehensive and well-photographed, it is nothing compared with seeing the pieces in person.  The gallery guides were willing to taken pieces off the wall, so we could see them better; they provided flashlights and magnifying glasses, and didn’t mind us taking our own photographs.  I suppose it’s because Sotheby’s sees every visitor as a potential buyer. 

Note in one photo that Marty Greiner is looking at a colorful sampler from New Jersey in an arched-top frame.  That sampler garnered the highest sale price on Sunday — a whopping $1,070,500.

Sotheby’s does not annouce the names of the winning buyers.  It will be interesting to see if some end up in museums or other institutions.  I know we would all like to see the Westtown School samplers end up in the schools’ collection, for exmaple.

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2 Responses to “Visit To Sotheby’s”


  1. 1 Barbara Gay January 24, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Sad to think that the Burlington County historical society, where the million-dollar sampler originated, recently auctioned off their collection of samplers. Perhaps they didn’t realize the value of what they had. Wouldn’t it be nice if some of the proceeds of the Sotheby’s auction could go to non-profit organizations that are struggling to keep important collections open and accessible to the public.

  2. 2 maude56 January 25, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    How wonderful to have actually visited Sothebys for that sale; I watched it live on the internet from here in France and was amazed at the quality of work and prices reached.
    Thank you, all, for posting photos – although sizes were listed in the catalogue it isn’t until I saw your photos that I realised their actual sizes; often surprisingly large.


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