William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty Lists Folk Art Collector’s Restored Antique Colonial


Historic former home of antique, folk art and Americana collector Mary Blair Sams is now for sale, items will be sold at Sotheby’s “Americana Auction”

Cornwall, Conn. – July 15, 2015 William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty announced today that the firm has listed an updated antique Colonial home, which for years has served as the perfect backdrop to various antique, folk art and Americana collections. Located in the town of Cornwall, Conn., the historic residence is the former home of well-known collector Mary Blair Sams and her American Folk Art business known as “Ballyhack Antiques,” named after the property. A select group of the Sams’ collection will be sold by Sotheby’s at their New York City Auction House. Agent Ira Goldspiel from the firm’s Kent brokerage represents the listing, which is offered at $875,000.

As antique aficionados, Mary and her husband, Dr. William Rashbaum, purchased the home in 1989 with plans for a historic restoration in mind. After a nearly two-year project under the guidance of renowned restoration architect and Cornwall resident Tim Prentice, the residence was fully refurbished, boasting the return of its original wood panels and floors to their former condition, uncovered beams and a new foundation built under the original 1760 portion of the house. Originally a weekend retreat, the Cornwall home became Sams’s permanent residence in the late 1990s, as she continued to expand her American folk art business. While she did not have a formal showroom in the house, Sams displayed many of her whimsical items throughout its interior, making for an authentic antique atmosphere. Some of the unique items from the home will be sold at the Sotheby’s Auction House as part of its “Americana Auction,” which is scheduled for the week of January 18th, 2016. During this week, various major antique events take place annually in New York City, one of which includes the 62nd Winter Antiques Show.

The property itself boasts an interesting history, once serving as a stagecoach on the Hartford to Albany line as well as a progressive school in the second half of the 19th century. The school had a number of Native American students, and the first marriage between a Native American man and Caucasian woman in the state of Connecticut was held at the house during this time. For many years, the residence also served as an operating farm, gaining the name “Ballyhack Farm,” which the property is still known as today.

The restored Colonial rests on over 19 acres of open land complete with surrounding woods, stone walls and perennial gardens. Inside the 3,665 square-foot house, original details blend seamlessly with modern conveniences and luxuries. The property consists of six subdivided parcels of land, which was approved in 1989, totaling 19.4 acres. The house is situated on an 8.3-acre lot.

“This home is truly special in every sense of the word,” Goldspiel stated. “Not only does it offer an amazingly rich 250-year history, but it also contains great character forged by its former homeowners. I am proud to be representing the hidden treasures of this residence—an antique gem in the heart of Cornwall.”

For more information on the property, located at 16 Furnace Brook Road, please visit the firm’s website here.

About William Pitt and Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty

Founded in 1949, William Pitt and Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty manages a $3.3-billion-plus portfolio with more than 1,000 sales associates in 26 brokerages spanning Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Westchester County, New York. William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty, combined with partner firm Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty, is the largest Sotheby’s International Realty(R) affiliate globally and the 28th-largest real estate company by sales volume in the United States. A full-service real estate firm headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, William Pitt and Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty provides ancillary services including commercial services through its affiliation with Building and Land Technology, a second-generation development company based in Stamford, Connecticut; William Pitt Insurance Services; and an award-winning global relocation division.  For more information, visit the website at williampitt.com.

Sotheby’s International Realty’s worldwide network includes more than 16,570 sales associates located in 760 offices throughout 60 countries and territories.

William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty Contact:

­Ira Goldspiel

Real Estate Agent



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News TimesStamford Advocate
Jul 15