Maritime and Decorative Art from the Estate of Peter Goldstein
Lots 4501-4645 in the 2024 Winter Marine Sale
Recollections from Alan Granby and Janice Hyland:
In September 1982, Sotheby’s New York was auctioning Part II of The Barbara Johnson Whaling Collection, an extraordinary assemblance of scrimshaw objects and whaling-related books and logs. During the break between the morning and afternoon sessions, I met Alan Goldstein, Peter’s father, a long-time sophisticated collector of maritime and American decorative arts. We decided to have lunch and Peter joined us. Immediately Peter and I bonded, and thus began countless conversations discussing various scrimshaw artifacts coming on the market.
Peter was passionate and accumulated scrimshaw and related maritime artifacts very seriously, as though it was an occupation. He traveled around the country attending even the most obscure auctions and met with dealers who had fine items for sale. Peter was becoming a true connoisseur, and his criteria was that an item had to have beauty in its form, exhibit excellent craftsmanship and be in very fine condition. In his early years, he compiled fine scrimshaw teeth by the famed scrimshanders Albro, Myrick and the Arch Engraver. As time went by, Peter’s focus became more selective as he collected utilitarian forms of scrimshaw including canes, baskets, etc. Peter was captivated and fascinated by jagging wheels as each had an intentional design, displayed mastery in craftsmanship and provide such pleasure to the beholder. These charming scrimshaw pie crimpers became Peter’s passion, and with great enthusiasm and emotional sentiment, he amassed an amazing, first-rate, magnificent collection.
Peter also had a love for marine art, and he collected several fine 19th Century paintings by highly respected artists including John Ward, Charles Henry Gifford and S.F.M. Badger, as well as a few contemporary paintings by Cape Cod artist William R. Davis. His 30” globe and his height-adjustable presentation telescope were with him for over 40 years. Peter’s ship model collection was diverse, including several prisoner-of-war models as well as 19th and 20th Century examples. Of extreme merit is the 1805 letter Peter inherited that is signed by Lord Horatio Nelson and dated January 17th at 7pm.
About 20 years ago, Peter began studying Sheffield exhibition knives and, as he was educating himself, he began collecting mint examples by renowned makers Rogers and Wostenholm. Peter applied his scholarly and accomplished collecting skills, developed over decades of acquisitions, to knife collecting, which branched out to include masterpieces by many of America’s finest 20th Century makers. Like everything in Peter’s collections, all the knives are pristine examples of knife-maker art, ranging from fine single-blade knives to larger multi-blade knives. Most have exotic grips made from shell, abalone, mother-of pearl, etc., and a few have inlaid diamonds and other precious colored stones. Many have 18kt gold fittings, beautifully designed grips, and engraved and damascened blades.
Peter went to college in Colorado, where he developed an interest in and affection for Native American culture. He began purchasing the finest and most sought-after original signed Edward Curtis orotone photographs. Almost all retained their original Curtis studio frames. Peter made a point of collecting the smaller-sized Curtis photos so as to not limit his ability to display them.
Peter had a lifelong connection to the sea and owned several sailing vessels, one of which we built after a 72-foot sailing sloop. He sailed competitively and for pleasure all over the U.S., Caribbean, Mediterranean, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Maine. For more than a decade, Peter moored his boat in the Mediterranean, exploring the ports and coastlines of Europe. At the end of each summer, he would return with such enthusiasm and happy memories.
Some of the best sailing adventures I had were with Peter. We always had a great time, good food and wine, fishing, swimming and sailing in any weather. He was a great navigator, partially a result of his years flying his plane throughout the country.
In closing, Peter was a dear friend, a great collector and he loved his wife, Maria, who always shared and encouraged his pursuits, passions and happiness. At the time of Peter’s death, Maria had recently retired, and plans were underway for a new home in Winter Harbor, Maine, where they would spend summers away from the orange groves of Florida in their log cabin. She was Peter’s rock, best friend and supportive teammate!
“Every boat was kept in beautiful condition, as he treated everything in his life. He knew how to live life and was always positive and planned every trip with great detail”.
– Paul Derecktor, president of the Derecktor Shipyards and a lifelong friend and sailing companion of Peter Goldstein, recalling the beautiful pair of boats Peter kept in the Lake District of Northern Italy.