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NHS Acquires Rare Red Slipware Plate

August 14, 2005 –NHS President, Gail Wall and board member Dick Ventre, thought all was lost that dark and stormy day as they returned home from Boston.  Armed with a bankroll of $15,000, they just could not compete in the fierce bidding on a rare piece of Norwalk redware pottery, which proudly bears the words “Norwalk, feb’y 13, 1854.”

Desirable to pottery collectors nationwide, this artifact was clearly of special importance to the Society as it was manufactured at the foot of Mill Hill (the site of the Society’s headquarters) in Asa Smith’s pottery works, one of the oldest and largest in all of Norwalk.When the plate was initially put up for auction by Boston’s Skinner Auction House (in conjunction with eBay’s Live Auctions to broaden participation), word spread quickly throughout the collector/dealer world.  But, by the time NHS was notified of the event, only five days remained until the auction date.Many share credit for this story’s happy ending, but pivotal was the action of good Samaritan, David Smith of Arts and Antiques Weekly.  Smith contacted the winning bidder, NY redware dealer Gary Stradling.  Stradling, a good Samaritan himself, offered to ‘sell’ the plate to NHS for essentially cost plus expenses rather than to private collectors for more than twice as much.

The NHS is proud and grateful that the Norwalk Pie Plate is now a shining jewel in its redware collection. The Norwalk Pie Plate will be on display for an upcoming exhibit on Norwalk Pottery.The NHS would like to thank all those involved, especially those who made the 54 pledges.  Among them are: Carl Kuehner of 35 Glover Partners, Michael DiScala of M.F. DiScala & Company, State Senator Bob Duff, State Representative Chris Perone, Norwalk Historical Commissioners: Marilyn Robinson (chair), Carol Ann Falasca (vice chair), Ralph Bloom, Marija Bryant, Debbie Mathies; City Council Members: Doug Hempstead, Gwen Briggs and Kelly Straniti; Board of Education Member Bruce Kimmel; Norwalk Preservation Trust President, Tod Bryant; ZBA Commisioner, Gordon Tully; Planning Commissioner, Leigh Grant; Assistant to the Mayor, Ed Schmidt, the Norwalk Rotory Club and the Norwalk Village Green Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
See articles related to this event at Antiques and the Arts Online: Article 1 Article 2