The William Oates Jeffery Netsuke Collection

The William Oates Jeffery Collection has been sold.  Please feel free to browse, but be aware the collection is no longer available for sale.

Williams Gallery West is pleased to offer for sale a selection of important objects from the estate of early twentieth century industrialist and world traveler William Oats Jeffrey. 

The collection consists of a large number of Netsuke and other ivory objects collected on three trips to Japan from 1930 to 1935.

Jeffrey ( circa 1880-1950) was raised in Cornwall, where he worked as a miner and engineer.  A mining accident in his youth resulted in a limp that lasted the rest of his life.  He moved to the United States around 1910, and co-founded the International Refining and Manufacturing Company in Evanston Illinois in 1919.  Jeffrey grew wealthy from his contributions to the company, which is still in existence today.  The Jeffrey family also owned a small island estate  near lake Vermillion, Minnesota.  

In addition to his skills as an engineer, William was also known as a photographer, woodcarver, and musician.  He had a fascination for exotic cultures and folklore, and traveled around the world many times in later life.  His family remembers him as an avid collector, with a special interest in meerschaum pipes, canes, musical instruments, and ivory.   Although most of his collection was sold at auction during the 1970s, and little of his work as a carver and photographer exists, a selection of smaller prized objects from his ivory collection has remained in the possession of the family until now.


 to view the collection


 to read a short history of netsuke

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