Collecting Natural History: Time travel in your hands
June 08, 2012 | view archive
We are presenting to very important auctions on Saturday, June 23. Both auctions consist of objects that help tell the history of time and place on many levels.
A collector of natural history may gather a variety of materials that represent the world, past and present, around them. Fossils, rocks and minerals give testament to the earth as it was long before there was recorded history. Anthropologists learn about the people who inhabited the earth by studying artifacts that tell the story of their everyday life and the tools and objects that they crafted and used to survive. Natural life, like plants, insects and animal specimens have assisted biologists, naturalists and scientists learn about living things.
Collectively, all of these things tell us the story of our planet.
Collectors who gather these types of objects are part of a passion and tradition that reaches back centuries.
On of our nation’s most famed naturalists and preservationists, Theodore Roosevelt said, "There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm.” We have to agree with Teddy’s statement. The thrill of being outdoors and making the experience personal is the very essence of colleting.
Thus, the hunt for and acquisition of an object or specimen becomes part of its history.
When it comes to artifacts, the best attraction for many is that they don’t have to travel far to find the greatest treasures. Earl Townsend started collecting artifacts as a boy, on his family’s
Artifacts can be found in fields, along river beds, creeks and streams: any place that was once inhabited by humans. It is in places like these that the passion begins for many collectors.
The very best pieces from Townsend’s collection have detailed provenance, tracing the history of the objects back to the time and place they were found. The Smithsonian Bird, for example, was discovered prior to 1882, in Vernon County Wisconsin. It is considered the finest porphyry granite birdstone discovered to date.
The June 8, 2012 issue of the New York Times shines the national spotlight on The Townsend Collection Part II and Townsend’s particular passion for birdstones. Read the article here.
The June 23 Natural History Auction includes a dazzling collection of rare and wonderful minerals. Admired for their natural beauty, many refer to minerals as “Mother Nature’s art.”
Like snowflakes, no two examples are exactly alike. Considering that there are approximately 4,000 different mineral species—and that number continues to grow—stepping into this world of collecting opens the door to limitless possibilities. Of the 4,000+ known species of minerals, there are about 500 that collectors seek out for their aesthetic beauty and color.
The artifacts, fossils, minerals and taxidermy offered in The Townsend Collection Part II and the Dan Ripley Select Natural History Auction on Saturday June 23 provide you with a rare opportunity to touch history and connect with the earth that reaches far beyond the boundaries of traditional collecting.