Back in December, one of the local auction houses had their big, classy auction. Not the auction house that has the fancy, quarterly catalog sales but another one. It was a very good auction, however. There were several pieces there that were purported to be by Thomas Day,  (c. 1801 – 1861), a free black American furniture designer and cabinetmaker in Caswell County, North Carolina. I say purported only because it is hard to say definitively if they are by Thomas Day, he didn’t sign his work, no labels, no catalog. There is much out there that is in the style of or from the Thomas Day school. Many of us believe that these are.

A nice dresser with mirror.

A nice dresser with mirror.

Pocket screws were being used in the 1850's.

Pocket screws were being used in the 1850’s.

And another example:

Dresser with no mirror.

Dresser with no mirror.

And a table:

I wouldn't mind owning this one whoever made it.

I wouldn’t mind owning this one whoever made it.

Then there was this miniature chest:

Unknown ancestry but nicely made.

Unknown ancestry but nicely made.

Many great pieces but there was one I became infatuated with. I don’t know why but I have a fascination with primitive boxes like this one:

I lusted after this box.

I lusted after this box.

And equally the contents:

Pictures would be nice but I wanted the cigars.

Pictures would be nice but I wanted the cigars.

Unfortunately, the auction was the Friday night in December when I had cleverly avoided a Carolina beach weekend by fleeing to the Boston area. Rather than leaving a absentee bid (which I always lose), I tried bidding live on-line. I sat there in my hotel room on a Friday night waiting patiently for the box to surface. Then my turn came and I sprang into action getting caught up in the bidding frenzy. I suddenly was $350 over where reason told me I should stop and about $450 over what I thought I could afford. I paused briefly and the auction mercifully ended. I lost but I like to believe that I cost the winning bidder some money. It’s not much but it’s all I have. Winning would have been nice but I would have had to pay too much plus the 15% buyers premium. And explained to my wife and the cats where it came from. It would have been a lasting reminder of my lack of self control and discipline. Cool box, though. There were a few other items I placed bids on but my heart wasn’t in it. They were pro forma bids just served to further depress me when I didn’t win. Like this other box:

It's also blue and primitive. Just like me.

It’s also blue and primitive. Just like me.

Click HERE to see the other worthy items in the auction. I didn’t win them either. Two auctions of note this weekend. We’ll see…