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  • The Osborn Potteries of Peabody
  • Gambrel Sticks in the Barn
  • Exploring Antiquarian Books
  • Home of Harriot Beecher Stowe

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In My Opinion

John Fiske

Auction Changes

John Fiske 

There have been a couple of big changes in the auction world recently. At first glance they do not appear to be directly related, but as I don’t believe in random coincidences, indirectly they must be. Both changes affect selling online and both reflect the opinion that online is where the action is, it is where the best development opportunities are to be found.


Digging into the Peabody Potters: Archaeology and Red Earthenware

Justin W. Thomas

It was an unseasonably warm Friday afternoon in January, when I drove with my niece, Alexis, through an old neighborhood in Peabody, Mass. This section of Peabody (formerly known as South Danvers) has changed a lot over the years; the open fields and scattered houses that once called this area home have been largely replaced by twentieth-century urban development. However, this was just not any old neighborhood in Peabody – this neighborhood was once the location of an illustrious potter’s business.


Hanging the Carcass: A Collection of Gambrel Sticks

Robert Tarule

There was a time when every farm here in New England had several gambrel sticks among its equipment. They were used in the butchering and drying of slaughtered animals, particularly cattle and pigs. I began collecting them about 40 years ago, when I was learning about early woodworking tools and techniques. Their main attraction for me was that they were cheap, often only a few dollars, as they are today if you can find them, and recognize them for what they are. The first one I happened on was a fortuitous find, since it was close to perfection. The balanced shape was pleasing, and I knew enough by then to recognize the competency of the maker.


Their Courage Changed the World: Exploring Antiquarian Books

Jan Fiore

Antique non-fiction books are tremendously popular, providing collectors around the world with colorful insights into the lives of their ancestors, and pivotal periods in human history. In some cases, they mark the moment that revolutionary ideas were first brought forward in the world. Despite the advanced age of some books, they should not be considered outdated relics of a past age; many remain highly relevant in our modern world, as they form the foundation of what people study today.


The Genteel Activist – Harriet Beecher Stowe
Inspiring Commitment to Social Justice

Jan Fiore

Hartford’s 1871 Harriet Beecher Stowe House has recently undergone extensive preservation, including state-of-the-art fire suppression, a new climate control system, and renovation of 44 historic windows. Inside, new carpeting, wallpaper and paint all reflect Harriet Beecher Stowe’s decorating choices. The museum’s entirely new interactive tour provides visitors with a conversational experience that showcases the Beecher-Stowe family furnishings and Stowe’s own decorative arts and paintings. Visitors will leave feeling inspired that they too can create positive social change, just as Stowe did with her bestselling antislavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.


Yours Sincerely

John Fiske

One of the (many) things I like about our forebears is that when they needed something, they turned to nature rather than manufacture. As a bonus, when they were dealing with a material straight out of nature, they had to work it by hand. Wood, earth, bog-iron, clay, flax – the list of natural materials is long, and right now I need to make sure that pigment is on it. I say “right now,” because I’ve been working on a project for our Historical Commission that lists all the paint colors that were available to house holders in each architectural period from 1630 to the 1920s.



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