It was the special genius of 18th and 19th C. craftsmen to make ordinary objects
extraordinary.  Utilitarian furnishings like small looking glasses and watchholders were
carved and painted.  Color and design turned pantries and table top boxes into decoration.  And early lighting took on a gallery of  forms limited only by the gifts of the individual 
artisan.  We do our best to bring you the rarest and most distinctive accessories in the 
hope that they will brighten your home as they did other homes centuries ago.   

Halsey Munson Americana
204 North Summit Avenue
Decatur, Illinois  62522
Phone:  217-972-4645

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18th C. Walnut Slide Lide Spice Box 

Extremely good curly walnut dovetailed slide lid spice box with a raised panel lid. The interior is divided into six compartments. Figuring on all sides of the box. No breaks or repairs except a single helper nail in the bottom. The rest are forged iron sprigs and the box is almost certainly 18th C.  9” x  6” x 2¼”. Shrinkage split in the one-board base.


Early 19th C. CT Tole Bread Tray

Excellent American painted tinware bread tray with a very good crystallized bottom. The repeated red and green motifs on the rim are classic design elements used by the Oliver Filley shop in Bloomfield, CT. And the yellow band enclosing a dark wavy line is a design form first seen in the Connecticut Filley shop. 12 5/8”L. Ca 1805-1825. Ex-Harry Hartman.

19th C. Pantry in Verdigris Green

Ca. 1850-1875 pantry box in a striking shade of verdigris green that matches almost perfectly the honest weathered surface of a really good 19th C. weathervane. 9½” with several helper nails with irregular heads and the painted initials “OH” on the bottom. 


Small Mulberry Pantry Box

Pure 19th C. 6” pantry box in undisturbed crusty mulberry paint so deeply oxidized it looks almost black. Two old lid cracks, both tight. Iron nails and wooden shoemaker’s pegs and not one missing. An extremely solid box. I love the way this one looks on a stack.  


Painted and Signed Oval Pantry Box

Excellent oval three-finger pantry box from the first half of the 1800s. Two bevel-edged swallowtail fingers on the base, one short finger on the lid. Copper nails. The initials “P n B” are deeply incised into the lid. The unusual sea foam green paint is unquestionably original. 8” x 5 3/8”. The box has two small holes just beyond the tops of the fingers, that suggest its owner may have used it as a thread box and fed the strands out through the holes—a colonial archetype for the Shaker sewing box.  


Four 19th C. R.C. Remmey
Stoneware Tavern Mugs

Rare set of four ca. 1850-1860 barrel form pint tavern mugs, attributed to Richard Clinton Remmey of Philadelphia, the last of the legendary Remmey family of potters. Cobalt decorated, with a cobalt infilled inscription to a patron known as “Mc C.” Save for one in-the-making salt drip, all four are quite literally perfect.

Late 19th C. Carved Apple Tray 

Elegant apple or fruit tray carved from a single block of maple. The tray has canted sides, arched ends that are thicker than the sides, and a slightly domed base carved like the bottom of a kitten head basket. Probably the late 1800s, possibly early 1900s. 12”L x 8”W. This is the only apple tray of this sort I’ve seen. 


Outstanding Folk Art Herb Chopper 

There are herb choppers….and then there are HERB choppers! And this is one of the best I’ve ever seen. 6” X 9” with a cut steel blade and an intricately carved handle in what appears to be hard maple. Although the French made some very nice food choppers in the 1800s, many of which were imported to America, this imaginative design is strikingly similar to kitchen implements made between 1850 and 1890 by a craftsman named Leonard Bailey in Boston, MA. 


Rare George & Martha Washington Chalkware Portraits 
Extremely rare pair of chalkware shadowbox portraits of George and Martha Washington in original polychrome paint. Following his death, images of George became enormously popular. As his legend grew, portraits of Washington appeared in oil, reversed on glass and carved in wood. This, however, is the only example of our first president and his wife I’ve ever seen created as glass enclosed high relief chalkware images. The glass is original—wavy and with imperfections—and glazed into the rim of each chalkware box. I’ve seen only one other example of this form and I suspect they were created in Pennsylvania in the first half of the 1800s. Ex-David Good.   $1,575

18th C.  Native American Burl Bowl   

This unusual 18th C. hewn maple burl bowl is in the shape of a basin. Classic deep swirling grain pattern. Dry interior surface. A very rare form illustrated in plate 7/16 of Steve Powers definitive study, North American Burl Treen, in which he estimates that only 3-5% of all American burl bowls were made in maple.  The date 1818 is incised on the underside, accompanied by the initials “EES” and “EHS,” probably those of early colonial owners. 8” x 11 ¼” x 3 ¼”. Great Lakes region. Notch in the rim of one short side, smooth and ancient, that was clearly there in the making. 1770-1800. A choice piece of early American burl. 

Dovetailed Table Top Box
in Blue Paint
A box is a box is a box. Except when it’s not. Sometimes it’s the exception to that rule. Sometimes it’s meticulously dovetailed. Sometimes instead of a slanting lid, its top is flat, hinged exactly in the center, with an applied square nailed rim all around beaded at the lower edge. And sometimes it’s in original, heavily oxidized blue paint. 14” x 15” x 5½”. Although its use is obviously an open question, my guess is that it may have been used as a bible box. Ca. 1800-1840. Probably New England. 

19th C. Wells Gaylord Painted Mirror

Vivid Federal looking glass with half-spindle turnings with untouched paint decoration and original mirror plate. Federal looking glasses in original surface have become increasingly rare. Although absolute attributions are rarely possible with early furniture, this mirror is distinctive enough to make that possible. Based on his labeled work, this looking glass was almost certainly made in Utica, NY by Wells Gaylord between 1826 and 1845, the last six of those years in partnership with his brother, Edwin. Winterthur scholar Charles Montgomery had in his personal collection a labeled Gaylord looking glass with identical painted decoration. 10½” x 12½”.   SOLD
Pristine Mortar & Pestle - Original Red 

Unusually good 19th C. spice mortar with no cracks or splits. Not easy to find a mortar and pestle that started life together, especially with no damage, but these did, and the paint on both is original and dry. The pestle is well turned and its wear pattern matches the mortar. The mortar is 6” tall with a nicely dished rim and incised rings. 9½” to the top of the pestle. 


Perfect Windsor Green Slide Lid Box 

A beautiful thin stock pine slide lid spice box in an unusual vertical profile—and in original, thin, dry Windsor green paint. This is from my own collection and absolutely perfect with no splits or repairs at all. Correct in-use thumb wear. Fine iron sprigs at all seams. Clear jack plane marks. This is the definition of “untouched” made flesh. 5” high x 4” long. Ca. 1830-1850. Spice residue on the floor of the box and it’s probably held many spices over the course of its life, but the aroma today smells to me like cinnamon. 

19th C. Decorated Frame In Original Paint

Excellent paint-decorated mid-1800s frame in original red and black paint. All original, never cut down, square nailed corners reinforced with small period screws. Size overall, 10½” x 12½”. Rabbet, 10⅛” x 8¼”. New England. 


Unusual 19th C. Lakota Indian
 Tobacco Box

Small birch bark snuff boxes aren’t uncommon. A wrap of bark, a fitted bottom and press-fitted lid. Usually, they’re about 1½” x 2½” or so. This box is an entirely different animal. 6” long x 4” high x 2¼" deep with nine wraps of shaved birch, a hardwood base and a concave hollowed hardwood lid with a worn leather pull tab—all in ancient oxidized red paint. Fine square nailed construction. Comparison with museum plains Indian artifacts suggests that this may have been have been a Lakota tobacco box, perhaps the source of refill.


Small Early 19th C. Wallpaper Box
Very good dome topped wallpaper box just 7” long. Marbleized paper over pine, with original iron latch, plate, lock and brass lid boss. Faceplate is attached with small rosehead nails, one of which at the lower right corner has lost its head. Paper coverage on the exterior is an amazing 90+%. The blue polkadotted interior paper is almost perfect. The matching cloth hinge may be an early replacement. 7”L x 3¼”H x 4”D. Ca. 1810-1820. A sweetheart! $565

Ca. 1810-1840 Painted 
Pennsylvania Knife Tray
Excellent early 19th C. cutlery tray in untouched condition. Canted white pine walls with rabbeted corners and deeply scrolled rims on all sides, meticulous square nail construction on a projecting base, all in absolutely original deeply worn salmon-red wash. The inner surfaces show the abrasion of decades of metal utensils. I caution any who are looking for pristine paint (eg. early 20th C. repaint) that this is not for you. This is the real thing and the surface is an aged, scrubbed red wash that fades from base to rim like a sunset. 14½” x 11”. I don’t think country treen gets much better than this. Ex-Dr. James Sutherland collection
Rare 18th C. Japanned Bible Box
Mid-18th C. English pine bible box in original japanned surface with polychrome figural decoration. This decorative style started, not surprisingly, in Japan in the 17th C., done there painstakingly with multiple coats of tinted lacquers. The style traveled to England in the early 18th C. (then to Boston and New York in the Mid-18th C). Japanning was used on everything from papier mache to highboys, usually in Oriental themes. But this is the first japanned bible box I’ve ever seen on these shores. Boxes like this were also used to store the periwigs that were obligatory for refined men and women of the period. Apparently, the box is all original with the possible exception of the lock which may be an early 19th C. replacement. Forged iron hinges with rosehead nails; the box is constructed with T-head nails. The decoration is definitely the work of a non-professional, perhaps a young woman educated in one of the seminaries, and the tableau on the lid appears to be a courting scene. 15½ x 10½ x 6¼”. $875