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.