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      The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation interprets the origins of the idea of America, conceived decades before the American Revolution. The Colonial Williamsburg story of a revolutionary city tells how diverse peoples, having different and sometimes conflicting ambitions, evolved into a society that valued liberty and equality. Americans cherish these values a […]
    • Name our lamb!
      We’re asking for your help again this year to name the Colonial Williamsburg lamb. Last year, you gave us William and Mary. It’s a new year and we have a new lamb. This woolly addition to our Leicester Longwool family needs a name. Everything WILLIAMSBURG will bring an ewe and a lamb to the Williamsburg Farmer’s ... Continue Reading »
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      By Toni Guagenti Even the biggest fans of Colonial Williamsburg sheep can be mystified by their unusual habits and characteristics. In our fifth installment of our week-long Sheep Week series, you can study our list of 13 odd sheep facts and then try your hand at our quiz. Ewes can be ... Continue Reading »
    • Quiz: Test your sheep knowledge
      How much do you know about sheep? Take our six-question quiz and find out. Failed miserably? Brush up on your sheep knowledge with our Sheep Week series, April 14-18, at history.org. (Photos by Dave Doody) Now that you know so much about sheep, wouldn’t you like to help us out? Suggest a name for our lamb.
    • Sheep Week, Day 4: How teens help to preserve historic sheep breeds
      By Toni Guagenti One word that will never describe Ivory: patient. The Leicester Longwool ewe stood in a trailer on a recent day bleating incessantly, waiting for her return journey to New Jersey from Colonial Williamsburg. Click on the photo to write your own caption! Ivory was in ... Continue Reading »
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Colonial Williamsburg Cleans Out The Attic

Tools, machines and antique artifacts from Colonial Williamsburg went on the auction block in Indianapolis, Ind., on Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24.

“It is unusual. These items are from a very highly respected institution. It is a great opportunity for those interested. The items have been in storage for a lot of years,” said Martin Donnelly, owner of Live Free or Die Auctions, which will conduct the sale at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center.

Many of the items to be sold have been stored at Colonial Williamsburg, a historic district in Williamsburg, Va., since 1935. Most of them date from the 19th Century and are not consistent with the Colonial Period, which is why they are up for bid. “There has already been a tremendous amount of interest from people who are aware we have these things. (Some people) have admired and looked at them for years. Each item will have the logo of Colonial Williamsburg on it,” Donnelly said.

The hand tools and shop accessories were once used in the shops at Colonial Williamsburg but have been replaced with functional period reproduction tools, a practice consistent with modern curatorial practices. “The tools will go to collectors. Using the tools in the shops degrades them, and the mission of Colonial Williamsburg is preservation,” Donnelly said.

All of the proceeds from the sale will benefit the collections acquisition fund of Colonial Williamsburg.

One of the highlights of the auction will come from Lot 500, an ivory-tipped cabinet maker’s plough plane, which is expected to bring $5,000 to $10,000, Donnelly said.

This high-quality 1880s tool, made by Sandusky Tool Co., was used by woodworkers to cut grooves for panels on cabinets, he explained. It has brass wheels and arms, which are ivory-tipped.

“It was top of the line and would have cost several months’ wages,” Donnelly said.

Other impressive items are watchmaker and clockmaker tools.

“They have visual appeal and are not readily available. These items are in nearly new condition despite being over 100 years old,” Donnelly stated.

Donnelly predicted that rare planes by Stanley Rule and Level Co., the largest toolmaker in the U.S., will be in high demand due to their superior condition and the added value of having been stored in the attic of the State Capitol Building.

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