John Brewster Jr. Portrait & Baldwin Spoon

Value (2013) | $8,100 Auction$12,200 Auction
Watch  

GUEST:
This is a portrait of my great-great-great-great-uncle, Jabez Baldwin. His sister was my great-great-great-grandmother. And he was a silversmith in Salem, Massachusetts.

APPRAISER:
And this came right through the family.

GUEST:
My mother is 90 years old today.

APPRAISER:
Today?

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
Okay, happy birthday, Mom.

GUEST:
And several years ago, she decided she wanted her children to get the family belongings while she was still alive to see us enjoy them. So she gave me this portrait, and...

APPRAISER:
It's so nice.

GUEST:
And the spoon, and several other spoons that he had made.

APPRAISER:
First of all, Jabez Baldwin, I know you know a bit about him, right? You told me you know he's a silversmith and he was born in Connecticut in 1778.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
So he actually arrived in Salem by 1802. And a building that he lived in was built by Samuel McIntyre, the famous architect, and that says an awful lot about his wealth. He was a very prominent person. So your ancestor was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He really was, he really was.

GUEST:
Yeah, it looks that way.

APPRAISER:
Yeah, he was a lucky guy. But he didn't just... he wasn't just born with a silver spoon, and he didn't just leave it at that. He was a hard worker. He was a very hard worker. He arrived in Salem in 1802, and by 1804 he married Anne Briggs, the daughter of a rope maker. And I believe that on this coin silver spoon, these are her initials, almost certainly, of course.

GUEST:
It would be most likely.

APPRAISER:
Most likely, right, "AB." I want to talk about the portrait just briefly, if I could, okay? You don't know who the artist is, right?

GUEST:
I have no idea.

APPRAISER:
Okay, I'm going to cut right to the chase, and it's very exciting, I have to tell you, because I get excited about folk art, okay? I like furniture, I like decorative arts, I like art. The painting was done by the deaf itinerant artist John Brewster, Jr.

GUEST:
John Brewster, Jr.?

APPRAISER:
John Brewster, Jr. Have you heard of him?

GUEST:
No, I have not.

APPRAISER:
John Brewster, Jr. was born in Hampton, Connecticut in 1766. He traveled around New England and painted prominent citizens of New England. He would have painted this portrait right around 1810 from the style of the dress and the style of the hair and other portraits that exist by John Brewster, Jr., and he would have done this portrait. Absolutely classic Brewster, with the eyes, the ear, the folky ear, just classic. And it wouldn't have been inexpensive. So in my opinion, it's the original frame.

GUEST:
Oh, wow.

APPRAISER:
It's the original gilt frame, gilt wood frame, with the original gilding. It doesn't appear to have been redone.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
Absolutely wonderful. The fact that they came together is great. Where do you think the money is, the spoon or the portrait?

GUEST:
Well, I used to think it was the spoon, but now I have a feeling it might be the portrait.

APPRAISER:
It's really both together. But you know, it's great, the story's great. Yeah, it's the portrait, yeah. The tablespoon, value wise, would be about $100 to $200.

GUEST:
$100 to $200, all right.

APPRAISER:
But this is a great portrait. The value on this would be, at auction, about $8,000 to $12,000.

GUEST:
All right.

APPRAISER:
On a good day, I'm going to tell you it could bring $15,000.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Keno Auctions
New York, NY
Appraised value (2013)
$8,100 Auction$12,200 Auction
Event
Baton Rouge, LA (July 27, 2013)
Period
19th Century
Form
Portrait, Spoon
Material
Oil, Silver

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