Augusta Auctions represents museums, historical societies, universities and other institutions bringing to market museum deaccessions and patron donations, with sale proceeds earmarked to benefit their permanent collections. Our company also represents individuals and select estates in the auction of rare fashion items.

Consignors, both institutional and individual, are assured that their textile treasures will be treated with respect and will benefit from our targeted marketing programs directed to our customer base around the globe.

Serious buyers from the international fashion, museum, film and textile worlds travel each year to New York City, Vermont and Massachusetts to attend our specialty auctions. Consigned lots benefit from lively bidding online or at our various sale venues. 

Our founder, Karen Augusta, passed away on October 26, 2019 after a  courageous battle with endometrial cancer. During her life, she had dedicated her knowledge and talents to increasing the appreciation of fashion and textiles as an overlooked art form. She purchased, sold and appraised antique clothing, rare laces and textiles over a five decade career. A link to her obituary can be found here.

Augusta Auctions was created in 2000 to assist the family of Sue Varner (The Suzi's), in Farmville, Virginia. Karen and her husband developed the company to market Sue's historic clothing collection after her brutal ax murder. Karen and Sue were colleagues from the early days of the vintage movement. From this tragedy evolved America's premier company for auctioning vintage clothing and historic fashion.

Karen was a member of The Costume Society of America and The Textile Society of America. She served, for thirteen seasons, as a fashion and textile appraiser on the popular PBS series, Antiques Roadshow.

The guiding principles throughout her life were to treat everyone fairly and with compassion. She always went the extra mile to help others and make everyone comfortable. Her warmth and concern for people's needs was genuine.

Incredibly proud of her website and the information it contained, Karen constantly updated its contents as she learned something new. She viewed the site as a teaching tool and the best way to document the incredible pieces that crossed her path. She maintained her past sale archives, photo galleries and the searchable database and made them all available for free to fashion students and researchers around the world.

The staff of Augusta Auctions will continue to incorporate Karen's principles to guide the business as we expand into this new decade.

 

Bob first met Karen in college in New England in 1969. They had been married and worked together in their historic farmhouse for almost four decades.  In addition to developing several area businesses over his long career, Bob loves building new things. He created the internal systems used to catalog and present historic fashion to our customers, collectors, costumers and researchers. Augusta Auctions adds more than ten thousand fashion and textiles objects to our catalogs each year and makes this knowledge searchable at no cost to students and scholars around the world.  Our database has been integrated into the search tool on this website, providing the most comprehensive searchable clothing and textile guide anywhere on the web.

Contact Bob

Jules has always been an avid student of the arts with wide ranging interests - from weaving to pottery to photography. After studying Environmental Science at the University of Vermont, she decided to pivot away from the sciences and devote her life to the creation and preservation of beauty. Seeking an apprenticeship, she began studying with Master Jeweler, David Walter, who developed and produced work over 35 years for Buccellati, Schlumberger & Tiffany & Co. For over seven years, Jules studied all aspects of haute joaillerie from construction to design to gemology to business management and became, in her own right, a master jeweler. Fortuitously, the day she decided to leave the field of jewelry was the very same day she met Bob and Karen. For the last year and a half of Karen’s life Jules worked closely with her to catalog each item for auction and, like many before her, was astounded by both the breadth and depth of Karen’s knowledge, as well as her kind and generous spirit.  Since her passing, Jules and Edward Maeder have collaborated in the production of the catalogs, striving to bring the same integrity and passion to this valuable historical record. Jules also oversees all aspect of daily operations, from styling in the photography studio to managing inventory and consignment inquiries.

Edward Maeder has been involved in the world of textiles since he began to embroidery at the age of three.  Fascinated by all forms of textile creation - from weaving to knitting, lace making, tailoring and historic pattern making, printing and dying, beadwork to porcupine-quill work - as well as textile conservation.  As a textile conservator he studied with Karen Finch, OBE at Hampton Court, and at the Abegg Stiftung, in Switzerland. A Wisconsin native, his undergraduate degree was from the U of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, in theatre, art, art history and textiles. A graduate of the Courtauld Institute of Art, History of Dress program, University of London, he has held curatorial posts at FIT [Fashion Institute of Technology] NY, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Founding Director of the Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, Ontario, CA, and Historic Deerfield in Massachusetts. Edward is the President of the Board of Directors of the National Museum of the American Coverlet in Bedford, PA, on the board of the Honorable Cordwainers’ Company, Williamsburg, VA, a Fellow of the Costume Society of America and a frequent lecturer and consultant across the country and abroad. He acts as an expert witness for court cases involving shoes and fashion.  He is a Research Associate in the Theatre Department at Smith College, Northampton, MA.

Elizabeth has been a lover of fashion, art, and history since her early childhood, spending her free time visiting museums, learning to sew, and working behind the scenes in the theatre. In 2019 she graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in history and theatre arts, and it was early in her studies that she first had the opportunity to work with the school’s Antique Clothing Collection.  She spent three years working closely with the items in the collection in addition to completing more traditional coursework in costume design and American history. She puts the skills she gained from this hands-on education to good use in the studio, where she steams, dresses, measures, and takes notes on damages on daily basis, and works to pack everything up to ship after the auction is over.

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