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Welcome to Funston Antiques

Funston Antiques buys and sells both early art and antiques as well as items of natural history. This is the same mix you’d find in a wunderkammer or chamber of curiosities…our specialty.

Posts contain a book I wrote, A Guide to Cabinets of Curiosities or Wunderkammern, showing ones you can visit today and inventory shows items for sale by category.

Read Our Book : A Guide to Cabinets of Curiosities or Wunderkammern

Latest Inventory

  • Polished Marble & Slate Humidor
    January 18, 2012
  • William & Mary Walnut Highboy C1690
    December 28, 2011
  • Pr 17/18thc Italian Giltwood/Iron Candleabra
    December 28, 2011
  • Polynesian Hardwood Slit Drum
    October 10, 2011
  • 17thc Putti Figure as a Lamp
    October 10, 2011
  • 17thc Flemish Barley-twist Table Cabinet
    October 10, 2011
  • Two 17thc Sketches, One by Godfrey Kneller
    October 10, 2011
  • French 18thc Barometer in original green paint
    May 31, 2011
  • Double Sailor's Valentine c1870
    May 31, 2011

Latest News / Press

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    Greenwich Citizen Article: Antique Show brought booths of wonder
    June 30, 2015
    Greenwich Antique Show brought booths of wonder By Anne W. Semmes Posted: 01/14/2010 6:02 PM A rich array of the decorative arts took center stage over the weekend at the 52nd annual Greenwich Antique Show held at the Old Greenwich Civic Center, with more in the mood to buy this year. There were upscale items aplenty with price tags into the six figures to grace the finest Greenwich home. Surprises included a Greenwich native who has become a collector of the rarest curiosities. "There was a lot of energy in the show compared to last year," said Josh Wainwright who with his wife Sandy Keeling Wainwright are fourth-year organizers of the show - the centerpiece of Antiquarius, the umbrella term coined by the Society for a series of events benefiting the education programs of the Greenwich Historical Society. Front and center was a pair of "really rare" globes on stands from England dating from the early 1800's that were respectively a terrestrial and a celestial globe fit to grace any hedge funder's library at a price of $48,000 for the pair. Westport dealer, George Subkoff explained that in those days the terrestrial globe makers had to keep abreast of discoveries by repapering the globes with updated maps. He was feeling chipper as "business was coming back," he said. "Everybody went on a diet," said Subkoff, "but they don't stay on a diet forever." A magnificent Queen Anne wing chair looking quite pristine from being made in 1710 was sporting its original needlepoint Subkoff believed who shared its price of $35,000. Discovered on the wall was a fierce Penobscot Indian wooden ceremonial club that a customer was hurrying back to claim for $4,800. Wainwright reported more people attended the Preview night this year - with "good sales." "People are more interested and more knowledgeable," he said. Of 39 dealers this year Rick Scott - "an oriental lacquer specialist" from San Francisco had traveled the furthest. Wainwright introduced Thomas Schwenke of Woodbury as a top dealer who started an auction house with special access to quality material. Schwenke's mix of decorative objects and furniture spelled out what show organizer Wainwright looked for with dealers. "We don't have a row of furniture, we mix things together." The Wainwrights' criteria for their dealers were "the dealers' reputation, their quality of merchandise and their presentation." "It's unfair to a patron to see a dull presentation," he said. Nicely presented in the Carlson & Stevenson booth was a Renaissance style portrait in a fine frame. "They have the ability to locate things," Wainwright said of the booth's Vermont based dealers. The frame was 1910, the painting a surprising copy done by the framer's wife. Across the way was "the best Chinese export dealer in the country, Philip Suval from Fredericksburg, VA," said Wainwright. A fine "tobacco leaf" platter circa 1770 cost $6,500. At the Philadelphia based Arader Galleries booth was a rare and arresting 18th century lithograph entitled "Triumph over Adversity" showing a young man being attacked by sharks - copied from the famous painting "Watson and the Shark" by John Singleton Copley, now in the National Gallery. The miraculous rescue of the 14-year old Watson, a crewman on a trader ship, from a shark attack off the coast of Cuba in 1749 was painted by Copley in 1778 and is now dubbed the first "Jaws" attack. For those wanting a wall full of Napoleon Bonaparte's conquests, Brennan and Mouilleseaux who exhibit at the Artisan and Antique center in Stamford were offering a dozen 19th century "broadsides" or "Images D'Espinal," hand-colored illustrations that first brought the news of Napoleon's exploits. Dealer Tim Brennan likened them to the first Internet. The full set was going for $1,750 or six for $1,100. The Internet was proving helpful to a customer stopping by the jewelry-filled Macklowe Gallery of Madison Avenue. Unable to find a desired alternate sapphire and diamond ring she was shown one on the dealer's laptop computer. But the surprise of the show was the extraordinary collection of found objects of interest by Keith Funston, Jr. who grew up in Greenwich and now lives in Sudbury, Ma. His father, Keith Funston was the highly regarded former head of the New York Stock Exchange. Tucked into a corner at the show's entrance Funston Antiques was a lightening rod to old friends of Funston, Jr. At the entrance, atop a William and Mary gate leg table sat a fossil crocodile skull "from the Pleistocene age," a wart hog skull from the 19th century, a pair of baleen sheets from a whale and a bowl of green "monkey balls." Filling the double booth were shelves and cabinets full of shells and strange native crafts, sailor's valentines, fine porcelains, English pillboxes and old books. Funston began his collecting mania as a small boy he said, "With stamps and coins." He was standing by "an important 18th century coin collector's cabinet" with 129 drawers." By college age he was buying furniture and "smalls." "I was a history major so that helped," he said. While "doing the corporate world," he spent his nights and weekends "furiously looking" and finally "pulled the plug in 1996" to enter the antique business and has been exploring the world every since for items unusual and rare. Funston has shops in Essex and Sandwich, Ma, and one in Wells, Me. He was handing out the first chapter of a book he is writing on his website (funstonantiques.com) that has no title yet but its purpose is to introduce what his crowded booth represented - a chamber of wonders or in German, wunderkammer. Funston introduces those extraordinary rooms first created in Europe in the 16th century during the age of discovery that were "designed to overwhelm you with a sense of wonder." He writes of those days when "noblemen, scholars and merchants went down to the docks and bought this new-world cool stuff, the seashells the 'unicorn' horns, the feather headdresses and brought them home." As Funston shared his travels - he takes tours to see Wunderkammers - his wife Grace chatted amiably with old and new friends. The Rev. Robert Alves of St. Barnabas Church was looking for old books. John Moore was looking for whatever caught his fancy.
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    Wunderkammer Recreation First Ever at An Antiques and Collectibles Show
    June 30, 2015
    By Jackie Sideli Keith Funston, antiques dealer from Sudbury, Massachusetts who grew up in Greenwich, will be a first time exhibitor at the much heralded antiques and collectibles show, newly named The Greenwich Show, of the Historical Society’s annual fund raiser, Antiquarius. The show opens with a Black and White Gala Preview party on Friday, December 1, and continue on both Saturday and Sunday, December 2 and 3 at the Old Greenwich Civic Center. This year’s show is updated and under the new management direction of Keeling Wainwright Associates. Funston will recreate his version of a Wunderkammer – a room of art and wonder. According to Funston, these rooms flourished in Europe in the 16th and 17th-Centuries and were an expression of appreciation for the rare and exotic, the foreign and the novel. The Wunderkammer recreation marks the first time on record that an exhibitor has attempted to bring items for sale in this format to a collector event. According to a pamphlet published by the Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, New Hampshire in 1991, “Certain works of art were considered wonders either because of their subject matter or because of the matter in which they were executed. Assembled by monarchs and princes, wealthy aristocrats, natural scientists, they included both natural specimens and man-made objects and contained hundreds, and sometimes even thousands of items. The collections in these cabinets were remarkably diverse, ranging from holy relics and antiquities to rare botanicals and zoological specimens.” Funston’s booth at The Greenwich Show will reflect a lifelong fascination with the ‘wonderful’, the rare, and of course, the marvelous. There will be exotic natural specimens, maps, European & Asian carvings, cabinets, globes- all displayed in a period-like setting, which gives the viewer a feeling of – just for a moment- of stepping out of time, and into “Wunderkammer”. Of course, all that Funston exhibits will be for sale, and he will be available to discuss with show patrons the philosophies of collecting in the emotionally and wonder based style. A quote from Rene Descartes describes it very well “When our first encounter with some object surprises us and we find it novel, or very different from what we formerly knew or from what we supposed it ought to be, this causes us to wonder and be astonished at it. Since all this may happen before we know whether or not the object is beneficial to us, I regard wonder as the first of all passions. It has no opposite, for if the object before us has no characteristics that surprise us, we are not moved by it at all , and we consider it without passion”. from ‘The Passions of the Soul’. Keith Funston’s sister, Peggy Thatcher, who died in an automobile accident in 2004, was for years on the board of The Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich. He dedicates this presentation to her memory. Funston exhibits at Essex Antiquarians, in Essex, MA, York Galleries, York, ME., Antique Associates of West Townsend, MA., and Sandwich Antiques Center, Sandwich, MA.. He also participates in several fine antiques shows, including the Wenham Museum Show in Essex, Mass., and The Tiverton Rhode Island antiques shows, in July and August, in Tiverton, Rhode Island,The Concord Armory Antiques Shows, The Martha’s Vineyard Show in August, Edgartown, MA, and Antiquarius 2006: The Greenwich Show, Greenwich, CT. Funston does perform searches to locate requested antiques or items of natural history. More Info: Listen to Keith Funston’s Wunderkammer Podcast Interview here
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    Read our book: Wunderkammer
    July 1, 2015
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