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Case Auctions
Live Auction

Summer Fine Art & Antiques Auction - Day 1

Sat, Jul 8, 2023 09:00AM EDT
Lot 195

Andrew Clemens Labeled Sand Art Bottle, Flag Design

Estimate: $10,000 - $14,000
Sold for

Bid Increments

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$0 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000
Andrew Clemens (American, 1857-1894) patriotic sand art bottle with the original label. Apothecary style glass bottle with round flat-top stopper and a cylindrical body filled with multicolored, layered sand in decorative stripe, swag, wave, and geometric patterns, one side with vignette of a 30-star American flag, the alternate side with a banner enclosing the name MRS. A. HARRIS. The base retains the original paper tag reading PICTURED ROCK SAND PUT UP BY A. CLEMENS DEAF MUTE McGREGOR, IOWA. 5 5/8" H. Note: Andrew Clemens was born in Dubuque, Iowa, in 1857 and later moved to the town of McGregor. At the age of five, he contracted an illness (possibly encephalitis) which caused him to become deaf and mute. Clemens lived his entire life in Iowa, near Pikes Peak State Park. He and his brothers frequented an area of the park called Pictured Rocks, which was famous for its sandstone bluffs that were veined with iron and mineral deposits, resulting in over forty different shades of stone. He attended the Iowa School for the Deaf and as an adult he began working with this sand to form detailed pictures in glass bottles. His brothers helped to gather the sandstone and grind it into fine powder which Andrew used for his designs. Clemens created his designs using self-made tools, including "brushes" of tiny hickory twigs and bent fish hook tools; no glue was used. Clemens secured the sand with a scrap of velvet near the stopper, then sealed the lid in place with wax. The bottles were well received by the public - particularly riverboat travelers to McGregor, seeking souvenirs - and he was able to earn a livelihood selling sand art bottles until his death in 1894 at the age of 37. While many were sold, few have remained intact over the years. (Source: the Des Moines Register & The Smithsonian Institution).


Both the stopper edge and bottle rim with slight scattered chipping.

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Bank: Pinnacle Bank
150 Third Avenue South, Suite 900
Nashville, TN 37201
Phone # (865) 766-3000
Swift Code: PNFPUS44
Routing, Transit, ABA: 064008637
Beneficiary: Case Antiques, Inc.
4310 Papermill Drive
Knoxville, TN 37909
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Private Illinois collection.