Unique Collection for Gateway Gallery Auction

. April 26, 2013

Baseball cards, coins, comic books and wine are common things to collect; but they just didn’t do it for Howard Hoffman. He focused on items that he saw as “icons of the age we live in” – advertising signs, architectural pieces, art pottery, and Americana; a collection of 400 pieces that will be sold May 4 at Gateway Gallery Auction in Chambersburg, PA.

Hoffman, 71, spent the last 50 years collecting things that spoke to him “cool stuff, primitive, factory elements, whatever struck me.” Beginning in the late 1960s, as fun outings with friends, the group went to auctions and flea markets. “I didn’t consider myself a collector, I was part of the crowd” Hoffman says. He continues “I bought items that I had an emotional reaction to, things that turned me on. Auctions sparked what lay dormant within me.”

The collection features early advertising signs including Mayo’s Plug Cock O’the Walk porcelain sign, Drink Moxie Good at Any Temperature; a Monarch Sweet Pickles counter top display; Brown’s Seeds rack; architectural fences and grates as well as deco lighting fixtures.

“Hoffman’s vision with its’ emphasis on quality and singular focus on unique, makes for a fascinating collection” says John F. Kohler, Jr. owner of Gateway Gallery Auction. “In my 44 years, I’ve not seen a grouping quite like this.”

Now entering a new phase in his life, Hoffman says he would like to “clear myself materially. I want to learn to live with less and concentrate on my family (children Chelsea and William) and friends, and, perhaps, travel.” Asked if he will stop collecting, he replies “I’d like to be free to pursue buying elements from industrial warehouses, old lighting and fixtures.” He sees great beauty in the architectural design, a true melding of form and function.

Hoffman, also, has a long-standing love of Maxfield Parish art; finding his works to be symbolic of an age that still held an idealist view of the world. Hoffman says that philosophy meshes with his own “hippy ideals.” Ideals, he says, that still exist within him, but are now tempered by world events. As Hoffman touches briefly on his love of Parrish art and his quest for great pieces, he recounts an odd story of a passionate collector of the Parrish who was often paid with exotic birds; leaving the distinct impression that there is so much more to his collection. Perhaps, these pieces truly are icons of Hoffman’s life.

The cataloged public auction of Hoffman’s collection will be May 4, 2012 at 9AM at Gateway Gallery Auction located at 643 Kriner Road, Chambersburg, PA 17202. Preview for this auction will be Friday, May 3 from 4 PM – 7 PM. Complete photos and catalog listing available online at www.GatewayAuction.com or by calling 717-263-6512.

Category: Antiques

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