Auction of Snow Hill pieces draws big prices

August 12, 1997

EPHRATA, Pa. - Bidders from all over the nation paid top prices for the contents of the Nunnery at the Snow Hill Cloister at Monday's auction.

"It was unbelievable. It was an education," said Shirley Baker, executive director of Renfrew Museum, one of the bidders.

The pieces sold at the auction in Ephrata, Pa., included 600 pieces of furniture, textiles and pottery that had been locked away in the rooms and attic of the 45-room brick building since 1895.

Forty 19th-century pottery bowls possibly made by Waynesboro potter John Bell commanded prices from $5,500 to $15,500, Baker said.

A set of pillow cases sold for $450, a barrel stamp with Snow Hill Society printed on it sold for $6,700, a communion plate went for $11,000, a Jacob Wolf clock sold for $19,000, and an early to mid-19th century rye straw gathering basket sold for $6,200, she said.

The auction crowd burst into applause after the cloister's dining room table went for $40,000, Baker said.


Baker managed to buy a table, spinning wheel, rocking chair and various small items like baskets, utensils and lanterns for the Conococheague Institute.

David Thomas, chairman of the Renfrew Executive committee, purchased an adult-sized cradle built by Snow Hill craftsmen, a piece the museum wanted from the beginning.

The auction started at 9 a.m. and was still going by the time Baker left at 7 p.m.

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