Turner Auctions + Appraisals is pleased to offer the Steve and Linda Stuart Collection of American Art Pottery. Acquired over two decades from the Midwest and California by avid enthusiasts and antique dealers, the live online auction features over 120 lots, including many Arts & Crafts works and a Tiffany Studios lamp.
Born and raised in Lansing, Michigan, Steve and Linda Stuart collected American art pottery for over 20 years. Steve’s enthusiasm for antiques began well before then, when he started refurbishing vintage furniture pieces found at farm sales and auctions in the Midwest, using gentle chemicals to avoid damaging the wood, sanding them by hand, and refinishing them to bring out their natural finish and beauty. He appreciated the older furniture because of it was of better quality and not disposable, as much furniture was in the 1970s.
Over time, the couple evolved beyond collecting furniture to include American art pottery, visiting local flea markets and antique dealers, and even standing in the Michigan snow to acquire items from farm auctions. Linda says, “Steve collected what he liked most and what he liked most was American art pottery.” He enjoyed talking to dealers and was on the hunt for items of high quality in pristine condition.
In the early 1980s, the Stuarts moved from Michigan to Northern California, where the couple’s personal interests took a professional turn. They launched Stuart Antiques, in business from 1985 to 2000, offering farm furniture, American art pottery, Native American rugs, primitives like pie safes and jelly cupboards, and more at numerous antique shows and San Francisco Bay Area collectives like the Antique Society of Sebastopol. For Steve, dealing in antiques and refurbishing furniture became a full-time job; Linda worked elsewhere, but enthusiastically assisted in their retail and collecting ventures.
The items in the upcoming auction are from the Stuarts’s “personal stash,” as Steve called them. These were the ‘cream of the crop’ – gems from their own private collection, showcased in their home, and never shown or offered for sale by them. Among their treasures are Arts & Crafts pottery and a Tiffany Studios lamp acquired in the 1980s.
Steve passed away in 1995. Now, after three decades in Northern California, Linda decided recently to return to her Michigan roots to be close to family. As she moved and downsized, the couple’s precious collection of American art pottery has been in storage, with beautiful items unable to be appreciated as they had been before. As she offers her collection for sale, Linda says, “Steve and I had a wonderful time collecting through the years. I hope others can now enjoy them as much as we did.”