William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty Lists Historic Residence of Renowned Art Collector Mary Blair Sams

Sotheby’s Auction set to sell folk art and Americana collection in upcoming “Important Americana” Sale

Cornwall, Conn. – December 17, 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 backdrop to an antique, folk art and Americana collection set to appear in an upcoming Sotheby’s New York City Auction House sale. 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. Selections from Sams’ collection will be featured in the sale “Important Americana,” scheduled for January 22nd and January 23rd, 2016, at 2 PM. Agent Ira Goldspiel from the firm’s Kent brokerage represents the listing, which is offered at $875,000.

The auction will showcase pieces including silver, carpets, Audubon prints, Chinese export porcelain, furniture and folk art. The exhibit will be open to the public from Wednesday, January 13th to Friday, January 22nd, with Sams’ “Rare and Important New Orleans Voodoo Clock” predicted to be a highlight of the auction event.

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, a new foundation built under the original 1760 portion of the house and of course, her unique collection displayed throughout. 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.

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. Details on the Sotheby’s auction event, “Important Americana,” are available 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 29 brokerages spanning Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Westchester County, New York. William Pitt and 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 approximately 18,000 sales associates located in approximately 825 offices throughout 61 countries and territories.

William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty Contact:

­Ira Goldspiel

Real Estate Agent



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