If you ever wanted to meet a man by the name of Spencer Marks, you would have to meet two men. One is named Spencer Gordon and the other Mark McHugh. The amalgam is simply the name of their antiques business in East Walpole, Mass. Both of these young men are born merchants, which you will discover when you read on. For one thing, they are familiar at keeping long working hours. Idleness is not one of their features.
After gaining college degrees, Mark from the University of Massachusetts and the Albert-Ludwig University in Germany, and Spencer from Boston University, they found they had time on their hands. They decided then to turn their collecting passion into a wonderful antiques business.
In 1988 friends 'pushed' them into trying their hand at selling some of their antiques at a local show. After two long days of hard work, the pair earned a profit of $25 and thought, 'This is our future?'
During this period, Spencer, an undergraduate history major, furthered his education on a graduate level in decorative arts, studying with such luminaries in the field as John T. Kirk and Edward S. Cooke, Jr. Mark, the more analytical of the two, went on to study computer programming after earning a BA/teacher certification.
For years both men were in love with the researching of antiques. As a matter of fact, Spencer and Mark have amassed a superb research library that has taken over two full rooms (and growing) in a wonderful 200 year old Colonial house. 'Our books are the best investment we ever made,' Spencer reported.
'At this point, we have nearly 900 monographs, many of which are seminal pieces of research,' Mark contributed. 'Our silver and furniture research collections rival those at many fine educational institutions. We also have a nearly complete run of the Magazine Antiques and a complete set of Silver Magazine, not to mention many other learned journals and several hundred auction catalogues.'
'We research everything we purchase,' Spencer continued, 'We have been lucky enough to have obtained some wonderful silver presentation pieces and studied their history before selling them to clients.'
Mark interjected, 'Although it's time consuming, we enjoy the challenge of deciphering armorial devices and researching inscriptions. Our extra efforts are appreciated by our customers.'
Among their favorite pieces was a silver tea caddy which was inscribed 'to Virginia Rolette Cameron from Chester A. Arthur.' After long hours looking through newspapers on microfilm, the two partners discovered Ms Cameron was a prominent senator's daughter who received the caddy as a wedding gift from the President of the United States. It's no small wonder their client list consists of prominent private collectors and major institutions across the country including Yale University Art Gallery and the Carnegie Museum.
Over the years, Spencer Marks Antiques has obtained important presentation pieces by Paul Storr, Gorham, Tiffany and others. A rare silver hot milk jug by Wood and Hughes from New York was presented to the important abolitionist, the Reverend George B. Cheever, D.D., by 'His colored friends as a small token of their high regard for him as a faithful Minister of the Gospel, and the fearless Advocate of Liberty to the Oppressed Slave. Dated 1862.'
From the very beginning, these two dynamos have expended great efforts to build their business to establish themselves as major dealers.