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March 24: The Antiquer

Lawrence Bush
March 23, 2017

Albert M. Sack, author of the 1950 book, Fine Points of American Furniture: Good, Better, Best — which became the Bible of the American antiquing business and went through twenty-four printings before being updated in 1993 — was born in Lynn, Massachusetts on this date in 1915. His father was a cabinetmaker from Lithuania, who developed a family business with his sons, Israel Sack Inc., for which Albert served as chief buyer. Their efforts elevated the commercial appeal of American antiques and eventually brought about million-dollar auction sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s. Albert “introduced the general public to the aesthetics of American antiques after World War II, right at a time when people had a little money and were starting to go to the country on weekends,” according to Morrison H. Heckscher of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Sack’s book showed “how to compare what you saw in these little antique shops with a model of what was quality furniture.” He died at 96 in 2011.

“[H]e was a fount of information about antiques and such fun to joke with, as his humor was witty and dry. Albie was one of the foundations of the business and a staunch supporter of the antiques world.”--R. Scudder Smith, Antiques and the Arts Weekly

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.