Rare textiles, vintage fashions are on the auction block in Bellows Falls

Massive two-day sale will benefit many institutions

BELLOWS FALLS — Augusta Auction Company, self-described as the largest specialty auction house in North America for historic costume, vintage fashion, and rare textiles, will hold a two-day Discovery Sale Saturday, July 30, and Sunday, July 31. Sales begin both days at 11 a.m.

These sales will be held under the tent adjacent to the company's cataloguing studio at 33 Gage Street, Bellows Falls. Collectible pieces from more than two dozen museums, historical societies, university collections, estates, and individual consignors will cross the block at Augusta's fast-paced, two-day sale.

This unique auction features clothing, ethnic textiles, accessories, hats, antique fabrics, laces, and beaded items from the 1700s through the 1990s. Many of these pieces have been in back rooms and closets of American museums and historical societies for more than a century.

Rarely is this number of vintage objects available to collectors in any one place. The Discovery Sale enables Vermont fashion lovers to acquire unique museum pieces from institutional collections at very low cost.

The museum boxes for the coming sale include day and evening gowns, designer clothing, shoes, 18th- to 20th-century vintage clothing, jewelry, 1920s swimwear, and personal clothing items from the closets of Doris Duke and Monique Van Vooren. A sneak peek into some of the boxes reveals clothing by Pucci and Bill Blass.

More than 200 boxes will be opened (8,000-plus items) and laid out on tables in the large tent. Bidders will have time to look over the items and move their selections to the bidding table. All bids start at $25.

This is an old-fashioned country auction held at a very fast pace. Bidders must be present at the auction as no phone, absentee, or internet bids are accepted. The auction will be called by auctioneer Leila Dunbar. Dunbar is an Antiques Roadshow appraiser and veteran of Sotheby's Auction House in New York City.

Augusta Auction Company was founded in Vermont in 2000 by historic and vintage clothing expert Karen Augusta. For 13 years, she served as the lead fashion and textile appraiser for the popular PBS TV series, Antiques Roadshow. She died in 2019 and the company has continued under the direction of her family and staff.

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