Elijah Pierce Barber Chair to Sell at Garth's Auctions National Auction firm, Garth's Auctions, in Delaware, Ohio, to offer barber chair of Elijah Pierce, from Columbus, Ohio as a part of the second anual Ohio Valley auction.
News-Antique.com - May 12,2008 - Delaware, Ohio It is hard to say if they came for a haircut, a bit of ministering, or just the friendly conversation, but the folks who sat in Elijah Pierce’s barber chair on Long Street undoubtedly got to live a piece of history. Elijah Pierce, the son of a slave who lived a life as storied as any of the wonderful carvings he produced, became one of the most well-respected folk artists of the 20th Century. All the while, paying his bills by cutting folks’ hair.
On May 23, 2008, Elijah’s barber chair will cross the block at Garth’s Auctions, in Delaware, Ohio. The firm’s owner is no stranger to Pierce and his works. “Garth’s holds the auction record for a work by Pierce. In September, 2006, we sold a terrific carved and painted panel titled, “Slavery Time”,” said an enthusiastic Jeff Jeffers. “That auction had momentum. The largest piece brought $74,750. The next lots were smaller carvings that each had a single word carved into wood: “Courage” and “Faith”. We figured that if we were pricing his work by the square inch, they were bound to take off!” And take off they did. The works sold for $10,350 and $10,638, respectively.
When asked what he expects the barber chair to bring, Jeffers replied, “With a piece like this, it is so hard to say. Elijah’s works are beloved because of the emotion and message he put into them. He had an amazing eye, and natural talent. The barber chair was a prop; it provided a means to an end. The way by which he could provide for himself and his family, while expressing his emotion and passion through his art. The estimate on the chair is $9,000 - $12,000, but until auction day, who knows!”
The chair, along with art by Pierce and other well-known 20th Century Ohio folk artists, can be previewed at Garth’s historic facility at the corner of 23 and 315 in Delaware, Ohio, through Thursday, May 22. “The auction is open to the public,” Jeffers quips, “that’s a question we get a lot. There is no secret handshake at the door! Just come on up and watch it sell. It should be quite a show!” For more information about this, or other materials offered by Garth’s, visit www.garths.com or call 740-362-4771.