Did you ever get tempted by a sand-in-the bottle at a thrift store? You might want to check it more closely before walking away. A sand bottle by 19th-century Iowa artist Andrew Clemens sold for $800,000 in March at a Hindman American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts auction. The 10 1/2-inch-tall bottle was labeled “Pictured Rock Sand, Put Up By Andrew Clemens, Deaf-Mute, McGregor, Iowa” inside the bottle under the faceted stopper. The intricate sand art bottle was made five years before his death. One side depicts a coal burning locomotive stopped at a railroad station, with freight cars stretching into the distance. A single figure is seen handling a large piece of freight, with others stacked on the siding in front of a train station. The other side of the bottle is divided into two decorative panels. The top features a spread-winged eagle clutching arrows and green olive branches in its talons, and a patriotic shield and ribbon banner proclaiming E. Pluribus Unum. Below a sidewheel packet boat under a full head of steam is depicted with the name St. Paul in block lettering on the paddle box. The steamboat is set off from the rest of the bottle by a sharply delineated frame of sand grains.

This sale is the sixth time Hindman has sold a Clemens sand bottle for six figures, including the record auction price of $956,000 for the artist in September 2021.

sand in a bottle patriotic art andrew clemens

Photo: Hindman


One response to “Sand-In-A-Bottle Art Sells For $800,000”

  1. ponderosa says:

    I can’t believe this. Not the price but the amount of work it would take to make. How long did it take to make? How much did they sell for when they were new?

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