Finding something I love in any given auction is usually a very easy task. The hard part is narrowing it down to just one item to write about. There are so many categories that make my heart skip. The upcoming auction from the collection of Joyce Bowes Collis is no exception. I first met Joyce around 1996. Visiting her home on the banks of the Conestoga River with the Hunsecker’s Mill covered bridge in the background was just a relaxing sight. An interesting note about the longest covered bridge in Lancaster County is that it cost $1,988 in 1843 when it was originally constructed. Hurricane Agnes carried the bridge downstream to its destruction in 1972 and it was reconstructed the following year for $321,302. Sorry for getting sidetracked. I would visit Joyce often, sometimes it was once a year, while other years I may have visited ten times. I was always trying to get her to part with some of the amazing collections she diligently put together. I will tell you that those were usually very tough negotiations, she never forgot the who, what, where, and when of everything that she tucked away in the house. More times than not I was able to get something consigned for an upcoming sale. As whatever item was carried to the truck she would always proclaim “Let me know what Pookie thinks about it”, referring to Ron in an endearing nickname. When the catalog gets mailed you will see some really neat things. Joyce loved anything with a painted surface, she loved all of those useful Pennsylvania Germanic items with a sprinkle of the English countryside decorating her walls and cupboards. She had a great eye for meshing all of those things together creating this iconic collection. Since the sale is a few weeks away, June 24th and 25th, 2021, I will get a chance to put a spotlight on a few of her cherished antiques. However, with 775 lots there is so much that you will get to discover for yourself. My pick for this week is the very first antique you would see upon entering the home from the back porch. The door opened and you were immediately struck by lot #490, a New England Chippendale painted birch chest of drawers. Not just any old paint, but a very warm and for my eye the perfect shade of blue. I never failed to mention to Joyce that I had a perfect spot for it and my birthday or Christmas was right around the corner. So, to whoever buys it I will let you know that my birthday just passed the week before the auction and Christmas is closer than you think… and yes, I still have the perfect spot for it!
by: Jamie Shearer