While this month’s musings are inspired by one collector and her passion for tennis antiques, our reflections delineate three of the universal driving forces that impel collectors of every genre of antiques, including our specialty which is Adirondack/rustic antiques.
On August 30, 2018 The Jeanne Cherry Collection of Tennis Antiques will be sold at Morphy Auctions in Pennsylvania.
(View lots from a desktop or laptop computer at:
On mobile devices scroll to Lot 746 from this link:
Jeanne Cherry (1932-2017), the mother of Cherry Gallery’s co-owner Jeff Cherry, was the author of a landmark book on tennis antiques, a leading member of tennis collector societies in the U.S. and abroad, a mentor to other collectors, and an indefatigable huntress of tennis antiques.
The depth and diversity of Jeanne’s collection reflect her interest in the entire breadth of tennis history and its related material culture.
She acquired antiques related to the game of tennis in every possible category—including books, ephemera, photography, equipment, clothing and accessories, toys and games, fine art, jewelry, decorative arts, and furniture.
The following sections highlight three of the motivating factors that compelled Jeanne to amass and curate her collection of antiques and which, time and again, we have also seen propelling other people’s collecting passions.
1. Fascination with History
There is an intellectual component to being a good collector, and thereby to forming a good collection. Driven by her keen intellect and unquenchable curiosity about all things related to tennis history, Jeanne was as much a scholar of the sport as she was an enthusiast.
For instance, she loved periodically living in and often traveling to England, where the modern game of tennis had its earliest origins in the 16th century game of court tennis.
Visiting museums, historic homes, palaces, and tennis courts in England and elsewhere helped her develop a grounded understanding of the broader social and cultural contexts that gave rise to tennis objects.
In addition to telling a cultural story, antiques tell a story of human innovation over time. Tennis racket shapes through the ages, for instance, are physical manifestations of how sporting practices evolved over decades and centuries.
Another area of tennis history that Jeanne found fascinating was how class and social norms played out, literally and figuratively, on the tennis court. She loved learning about and acquiring the “tennis costumes” that both men and women wore, and understanding how women in particular coped with clothing that in our modern judgment would have severely restricted any woman’s potential for athletic prowess.
2. Social Aspects of Collecting
Humans are social beings, and as such we enjoy forming and joining tribes.