THIRTEEN HISTORIC SAMPLERS, DATING FROM 1758 TO 1866, WILL BE SOLD NEW YEAR’S DAY BY KEN’S ANTIQUES & AUCTION, IN KINGSTON, GEORGIA – Kingston, Ga. – Thirteen historic samplers, all from a single Boston-area family and dating from 1758-1866, will be sold as part of a multi-estate sale to be held New Year’s Day (Jan. 1) by Ken’s Antiques & Auction. The samplers are in a remarkable state of preservation. Kingston is located just northwest of Atlanta, in Bartow County, right off Rte. 411. The sale will begin promptly, at 10 a.m.
“I was extremely fortunate to have acquired all 13 samplers from the daughter of a Mr. William Ogram of Boston, a career military man who moved quite a bit before settling in Atlanta as a teacher,” said Bill Smith, a Georgia-based antiques dealer-collector. “The daughter had no interest in keeping them after her father’s recent death, and she sent out feelers to people I happened to know.”
Smith, sensing a treasure trove, moved quickly to purchase the group. Each sampler was priced individually, and fairly, he thought. “Plus I was the first one out there to see what she had, so that definitely helped,” he added. “The original idea was for her to sell them in an estate sale, but her address in Atlanta allowed for zero parking, so that was out of the question. I was just a lucky guy.”
About half the samplers had been displayed as wall hangings – some in their original frames – while the other half were in the basement, wrapped in newspaper dated 1953. “The ones that were in newspapers are in truly spectacular condition, because they have been kept from the sunlight and other elements all these years,” Smith said. “But the framed examples are also in fabulous shape.”
All of the samplers were executed by young girls, one of whom was only seven at the time.
It was common during that period for girls whose parents could afford it to be sent to ladies’ seminaries to learn how to sew – not just curtains, but a truly fine and beautiful seam. This was accomplished by creating “samplers,” which often featured the alphabet, numbers, poems and folk art-style depictions.
The original purpose of the samplers was to preserve and hand down old and intricate patterns in a convenient form. That ensured that future generations of schoolgirls would continue to sit and practice needlepoint, too. Thousands of samplers still exist today, and some are quite valuable. Condition, of course, is key, as is age and provenance. Some have sold for as much as $50,000 or more.
Samplers were stitched on a variety of fabrics. Mr. Smith isn’t sure what his samplers are made from, but it could have been bolting cloth, tammy wool or cotton. The oldest one, dated 1758, has a lot of writing (poems and sayings of the day, mostly), as well as numbers, letters and flowers. String coming off the sides was used to affix the sampler to its wooden back, a common practice of the time.
The next oldest one is dated 1801 and was done by Sarah Crofs, just 11 at the time. Her sampler has two poems, both by her: “Sara Crofs is my name / With my needle I write the same / And if my skill had been better / I would have amended every letter.” And, “When this you see, remember me / And keep me in your mind / Let all the world say what they will / Speak of me as you find.”
One, dated 1836, by Cordelia Kletts, is huge for a sampler – 18” x 20” — and features what might be the White House, or a plantation-style home. It also has the alphabet, in two different styles; doves in flight; and trees. The one from 1842 is even larger — 18” x 28”. It boasts fabulous needlework; trees; and four sayings, including the Lord’s Prayer. It is housed in what might be the original frame.
The one done in 1834 was stitched by seven-year-old Eunice McCoombs. It measures 12” x 12” and is the simplest of the group, probably because of the young girl’s age. Besides the alphabet and numbers, the only other decorations are flowers. The most recent sampler, from 1866, has a lot of needlework; poems; a large building; doves; and more, all in a creative, almost geometric design.
The samplers are expected to take center stage, but the auction will also feature about 1,000 other items in a broad range of categories. Included will be a Lionel train set from the 1940s, still in the boxes and in all-original condition (O Gauge, with four cars, tracks, relays, and hand-painted tunnel); a Sevres urn; Southern pottery; and a wide array of American antiques from the late 1700s to the 1930s.
The sale will also feature bronze sculptures, signed by listed artists; early oil paintings by listed artists; fine period furniture; porcelains; silver; jewelry; Persian rugs; and more. “It will be a huge mixture of items,” said Ken McLeod of Ken’s Antiques & Auction. “We’ll be selling all day, from 10 in the morning until 7 at night.” For more information, click on the website at A preview will be held on the day before the sale, on Monday, December 31, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Information is also posted on (ID # 1419). The auction will be held at Ken’s Antiques & Auction’s climate-controlled showroom, located at 26 West Railroad Street in Kingston, between Cartersville and Rome. The firm is always accepting quality consignments for future auctions. To consign an item, estate or collection, call (770) 364-6281, or e-mail to [email protected]