Chillingworth Puts Collection Up for Auction

Famed dealer plans to downsize

Photo Provided An auction at Peter Chillingworth’s Scenery Hill farm in rural Washington County, Pennsylvania, will take place Oct. 18-20.

There are collectors — and then there are collectors. Peter Chillingworth is one of these other collectors, those who have a great eye, an appreciation of history and the opportunity to acquire first class antiques.

With a long history of managing antiques shows and himself an antiques dealer, calling him an expert may be an understatement.

A resident of Scenery Hill, Pennsylvania, Chillingworth has directed the annual Oglebay Institute Antiques Show since 1999, so he is well-known to antique collectors, dealers and enthusiasts in the area.

Naturally, it’s big news if he’s having a sale. The Peter Chillingworth Auction will take place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18-20, in Scenery Hill. It gets started at 10 a.m. each day with preview at 8 a.m. There also is a preview party and champagne toast at 7 p.m. Oct. 19 that is open to the public.

When I called him to ask why he’s decided to downsize, he explained, “It’s been a cumulative thing, something I’ve thought about for a while. It just hit me that I may as well do it now.”

He and his wife Kathryn “Cappy” plan on moving to a smaller place, somewhere in Washington, Pennsylvania, with less upkeep. Currently, the couple resides on an historic, 19-acre farm, brimming with valuable antiques.

Chillingworth tells me that he started collecting when he was just 5 years old.

“A couple who lived in New Alexandria, Pennsylvania, had an antiques shop in the barn and spring house. My parents would go to see them and they gave me an 18th-century wrought iron divider antique tool.” Thus his passion for antiques began.

“I had a great interest in antiques from a young age thanks to my mother. I also portered for her in my teens when she managed an antique show held for years at the Episcopalian church in Indiana, Pennsylvania,” he said.

Though he has mixed feelings about selling his treasures, he also told me he doesn’t have a favorite item in he sale, “these are all things that have appealed to me. They are like my children.”

This onsite auction is so good it features several well-known auctioneers at the helm, including Amelia Jeffers (formerly of Garth’s Antiques) along with Wheeling’s own Jim Frio and Shane Stack.

A massive inventory of 1,500 lots that include period tools, lumber, antique shop inventory and their personal collection, the auction is perfect for anyone looking for fine antique furniture and decorative arts from the Federal, Chippendale and Queen Anne periods.

There also will be an art collection focused on accomplished artists of Pennsylvania sold, and the contents of the cabinetry shop, which includes antique tools and lumber.

“It is such an honor to be approached by Peter and Cappy to conduct this auction,” Jeffers stated. “The Chillingworths are long-time friends, and I can’t imagine many more exciting reasons to jump on board an auction than this.”

Chillingworth first opened an antique shop in March of 1961.

“We lived in the village of Scenery Hill for 27 years, and the shop was in our home for 25 of those,” Chillingworth said. “In 1986, we bought our homestead on the outskirts of town, and after restoring the buildings; including the 1859 Federal style home, we moved our shop to the property.”

Thursday’s auction will include the period tools of Chillingworth’s workshop, including an early, decorated treadle lathe, over 250 hand planes by identified makers, several very good work-benches and stunning period lumber.

Friday’s session will focus on antique furniture and smalls, with a preview party featuring champagne and the items to be sold Saturday, a showcase of the best pieces from the Chillingworths’ collection and antique shop.

Chillingworth has spent a lifetime seeking out and living with quality antiques, and he has served as show manager of respected shows including the The Brandywine River Museum of Art Antiques Show in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and the Oglebay Institute show. He plans to continue managing these shows and others, as well as setting up occasionally.

“I’ve come to the realization that it is time to move on,” he said. “I will still be buying and selling antiques, but on a limited basis.”

The address of this historic farm and site of the auction is 1416 Daniels Run Road, Scenery Hill. You can get there either through Washington, taking U.S. 40 east, or you can travel along I-70 east, then I-79 south, taking the first exit for 40 (exit 33), then look for Daniels Run Road.

If you can’t make it to the auction, there also will be online (via invaluable and auctionzip), phone and absentee bidding. A full-color, printed catalog is available. The website is

For comments or suggestions on local treasures to be featured in Antique of the Week, Maureen Zambito can be reached via email at or by writing in care of this newspaper.


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