T. Rebollo, an antiques dealer from Mechanicsville, Pennsylvania, made
a startling discovery down the road from his shop. He had always been
fascinated by another antiques shop in a nearby 1820s stone house, but
every time he tried to visit it, the shop was closed. As it turned
out, the shop, which belonged to Joseph Stanley, had been closed since
the 1980s. Upon Stanley’s death last year, some of the items in his
shop went on the auction block. One of them was an early 19th-century
walnut desk made by John Shearer.
When Rebollo went to the auction’s preview, he saw the desk, but
at first walked by, thinking it was just another "oddball"
desk. But something told him to look at it more carefully, Upon
opening the lid, he discovered carved columns, scallops, and faux
stone-block arches inside–all common Shearer touches. Only about 50
pieces of furniture made by Shearer in Maryland and Virginia are
believed to exist. Looking inside, Rebollo found Shearer’s signature
on the drawers and case of the heavy desk.
Originally listed with a pre-auction estimate of $1 ,000 to $1,500,
Rebollo found himself up against some stiff competition and ended up
paying $42,700 as the winning bid. And while this may seem like a lot
for one piece, Rebollo is confident he’ll find a buyer with deep
pockets that will pay 25-50 percent more for the desk than he paid for
it at the upcoming Philadelphia Antiques Show.