Final Federated Church Auction Breaks All Prior Records

Chair artisan and auction co-chair Tim Bardsley (blue tee shirt) celebrates with successful bidders Jessica Klein (left), who bid on the Sturbridge chair on behalf of Beverly Leaman, of Lancaster, PA; Andrew Allt of Sturbridge (center left), winner of the second Sturbridge chair and Karen Schoch, of Henniker, NH (center right), winner of the Publick House Chair. Ms. Schoch has been attending the auction annually since 1991 and has three additional Sturbridge chairs at home. Ann Maher, of Sturbridge (right) took home Publick House chair #50.

Bidding was hot and heavy at the 71st and Final Federated Church of Sturbridge and Fiskdale Antique Auction on the Sturbridge Common with the Sturbridge Chairs (#27 and #28 in the series) and The Publick House Chairs (#50 and #51 in the series) breaking all previous records, according to auction co-chairs Tim Bardsley and Bob Cordell.

“We had an outstanding day,” said Cordell. “The auction attracted a wonderful crowd that was ready to bid, the weather held out, and a number of items brought record prices!”

The enthusiastic audience hollered and cheered as auctioneer Gwen Carbone, of Robert E, Glass Auctioneers, deftly negotiated the price on both chairs to new heights with obvious emotion in her voice. When the dust settled, the two Sturbridge chairs sold for a new record for this series of $5,000 apiece, more than doubling the previous record of $1,900 set in 2019. The Publick House Chairs set another new record, selling for $3,000 apiece, beating the previous record price of $2,500, also set in 2019.

These highly prized chairs, artfully restored and decorated in bronze and gold powder stenciling with a lovely Sturbridge or Publick House scene by auction artisans Tim Bardsley and Brian Rhea, are part of a limited series with only one of each produced each year and they are only available at the Federated Church annual auction. Due to the pandemic-related cancellation of last year’s auction, two chairs were up for sale during this final auction.

Total sales for the final auction also set a new record, according to Bardsley. Previously, the top three revenue-producing auctions were the 70th, the 60th, and the 50th.

“We are extremely grateful to everyone who contributed in any way to our 71st and final auction,” he said. “Everybody had a part to play, and every part is important. Volunteers, donors, bidders, local businesses. God blessed us richly and we will be forever grateful.”

To watch a video of the exciting bidding online, visit the Federated Church of Sturbridge and Fiskdale Facebook page at