What was to have been the furnishings for a planned Washington, D.C,, mayor's mansion now sit in Brockett's Row Antiques and Fine Art, 227 South Washington Street in Alexandria. The exhibit will be on display through the end of July. It's also for sale — to those with modern bank accounts.
Collected by philanthropist Betty Casey for placement in the anticipated "Casey Mayor's Mansion," most of 300 pieces were destined for the formal portion of the structure, according to Elizabeth Haynie Wainstein, owner, Brocckett's Row Antiques.
"We will have the collection until it is sold or at least until the end of the year. However, after July, I will probably move some of my regular pieces back in and place some of these in storage. I had to put many of mine in storage to make room for this collection," Wainstein explained.
This past week there was an open house at the shop which drew several hundred people to view such choice items such as a Gilbert Stuart painting of George Washington and a chest on chest from Boston, circa 1760-80, priced at $110,000. "We sold quite a few pieces over the weekend," Wainstein said.
In addition to a vast array of early American furniture pieces there is also a variety of art, china dinnerware, Derby and Staffordshire figures, Minton Majolica, silver candelabra and three full dinner service. One of the most conversational wall pieces is a framed sampler of Mount Vernon Estate done by a New Jersey schoolgirl in 1838.
"Mrs. Casey had been collecting the pieces for four or five years to specifically furnish the mansion. But when it became apparent it was not going to be built she decided to give the money to the Salvation Army to finance a large recreational center in Anacostia," Wainstein explained.
"We have sold individual pieces for her in the past and a business associate of mine, Piotr Pawlowski, persuaded her to bring the collection to us," she said. Profit proceeds of the sale will go back to the Casey Foundation for other philanthropic endeavors, according to Wainstein.
THE PORTRAIT OF Washington proved to be a total surprise to Wainstein and those attending the private reception last Friday and Saturday nights. "It was not among the original collection delivered to us. I just got a call and asked if we would want it in the exhibit. Of course, I didn't hesitate," she said.
Although Wainstein would not reveal the asking price for the portrait because it was marked "hold" for a potential buyer, she did admit it was the most expensive piece in the collection. "Let's just say it's in the six figures," she confided.
Primarily American in origin, the collection encompasses items from the extremely rare to the more familiar. It includes a Queen Anne walnut chest on frame originally owned by Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence; a rare Federal serpentine-front chamber table; a Philadelphia high chest, circa 1750, priced at $39,000; and paintings by such artists as Jane Patterson and Jamie Wyeth.
But not all items are priced in the stratosphere. For the light-of-wallet, Wainstein brought out a 20th century, Queen Anne-style, foot stool. "This is the lowest priced item. It is marked $20," she noted.