“Obviously I’m super happy,” the winning bidder, Kelly Kinzle, said following the auction. “Just blown away, honestly. I knew it was going to be tough to get.” Kinzle is the founder and owner of Kelly Kinzle Antiques in New Oxford, PA, and says that he purchased the 36-inch high chest for re-sale. He declined to say whether he had any buyers in mind.
If Kinzle was enthusiastic about his purchase, the consignors were ecstatic. They would prefer to remain anonymous, but attended the sale and were reportedly visibly moved by the end of bidding. “We’re just very, very happy. Very excited, I’d say.”
The consignor says he is working with Kinzle on uncovering more about the history of the chest, including trying to put together a family tree to shed more light on its origin. Despite family provenance placing it in the south, possibly Kentucky, the consignor reports that Kinzle suspects it may ultimately trace back to Pennsylvania.
The piece was an exceptionally unusual find, and sparked interest from institutions as well as area collectors. Appraisers at Cordier Auctions, based in Harrisburg, PA, ultimately classified it as a southern sugar chest, however the consignor said that their grandmother had used it as a toy chest as a child. Following the grandmother’s passing, the chest had gone into storage at an area funeral home before eventually going back into the family’s possession.