MAROON CHECKER BOARD WITH YELLOW POLKA-DOTS, FROM THE COLLECTION OF CLARKE GARRET, FAIRHAVEN, OHIO:
This striking game board was once in the collection of Clark Garrett, the legendary Fairhaven, Ohio dealer whose estate took four separate auctions to liquidate after his passing in 2002, grossing nearly $4.5 million. Checkers may be the most common form in both the 19th and early 20th centuries, but this ca 1850-1880 example is one of the most riveting I have ever encountered due to its particular combination of color and geometric design. This consists of chrome yellow polka-dots, outlined in flame red, on back squares, all of which is on an unusual maroon background and is further complimented by stripes in the same strong colors. The surface is outstanding, with just the right amount of bubbling and craquelure to make it very appealing. The frame is of mortised construction, painted black, and the back is unusual due to the covering of cheesecloth on the interior of the frame, which is thickly painted. All of the paint is original to the board, a masterpiece of American folk art.
Condition: The board was almost brown due to the yellowing of its varnish. I cleaned it lightly to reveal its true color. There is a bubbled area with minor loss near one corner, which actually adds some character to the overall presentation.