New York Woman Auctions Her Personal Collection of 20,000 Artifacts Documenting African-American History | News

An unprecedented personal collection of more than 20,000 artifacts documenting the hardships and triumphs of African-American history is up for auction. CBS New York reports that the coins, accumulated over seven decades by Elizabeth Meaders90, will go up for auction on March 15, with bidding starting at $1 million.

Meaders, a retired teacher, currently displays the entire collection at her Staten Island home. The assortment of pictures, posters, signs, statues and memorabilia tell a complete story of the black American experience. She bought the pieces mainly with the modest salary of a teacher and the refinancing of her mortgage at least twice.

She is hesitant to auction off the pieces that have taken a lifetime to collect, but Meaders thinks the time is right as she suffers from diabetes and other ailments, reports Smithsonian Magazine.

“It also takes up too much space in my house. It’s overdue, really,” she added.

Every inch of his three-story home displays a piece of black history. Some of the highlights include an FBI wanted poster for a Black Panther activist Angela Davis and the 1920s death mask of the Jamaican-born black nationalist Marcus Garvey.

Each room in his house represents a different era or theme. For example, the ground floor lounge at Meaders pays homage to black athletes. At 18, she began collecting items related to the man who broke the racial barrier in Major League Baseball, Jackie Robinson. His sports collection has since included a life-size wax figure of Hank Aaronand boxer Ken Nortonheavyweight championship belt.

“Everywhere, everyday black history is being made. So it’s up to us to embrace it, respect it and promote it,” Meaders told CBS New York.

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Putting a value on Meader’s unique collection is not easy. “Unlike other collections which are rather lavish and contain things like Lincoln’s autograph, Elizabeth has filled in all the gaps in the minutiae of the story”, Wyatt Dayformer head of African Americana at Swann Auction Galleries, said Smithsonian.

Some experts say the true value of the collection stems from its comprehensiveness and the story behind the collection.

Diane DeBloisaGatherin’ co-owner valued the collection at $10 million, The New York Times reported. DeBlois said Meaders’ ability to raise money through fundraising efforts such as bake sales and school raffles to outbid established collectors only enhances the value of his collection.

Elizabeth Meaders, Black Art

Arlan Ettinger of the Guernsey auction house, which will host the auction, told CBS New York that the sale of a large collection like Meaders’ is unprecedented, adding that he hopes it remains intact and will perhaps be transferred to a museum.

“Hey, Mayor Adams, come on. New York City, with all its grandeur, doesn’t have a full-fledged African-American museum, and you have one here on Staten Island,” Ettinger said.

If it doesn’t end up in a museum, Meaders said she would like to see it included in barack obamaThe Chicago Presidential Library currently under construction in Chicago, among other places on his wish list.

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