Everything must go: AMC show sells off set pieces

WASHINGTON — The AMC show about espionage during Colonial times in America is ending, and everything must go.

Set pieces and props from all four seasons of “Turn: Washington’s Spies” are going on the auction block.

So if you’ve ever wanted your house to look like George Washington’s Mount Vernon or Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, you have until July 10 and July 11 to make your bid. Auction items may be viewed in person Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at a warehouse at 4300 Caroline Ave. in Richmond, Virginia; you can also view them online at Cannon’s Online Auction.

Below are some curious items you can purchase, including a replica of the first submarine used in combat.

Benedict Arnold redcoat The coat was worn by actor Owain Yeoman, who played the treasonous Benedict Arnold. Yeoman’s character used to wear a blue uniform, as Benedict Arnold was a general in the Continental Army, a hero in the Saratoga campaign and a trusted friend of George Washington before Arnold colluded with the British. (Courtesy Cannon’s Auctions)
Turtle (submersible) The show made a replica of the primitive submarine the Turtle. The original Turtle was built in 1775 by David Bushnell. It was described as having the shape of two upper shapes of a tortoise joined together. It was 8-feet-long, made of oak and completely hand-powered. The Turtle made several attempts to sink British ships but it was never successful due to operator Ezra Lee’s lack of skill. It was lost during the Battle of Fort Lee. (Courtesy Cannon’s Auctions)
Metal tub In Colonial America bathing was somewhat of a rarity. Edwards Park wrote in the Colonial Williamsburg Journal, “It’s safe to assume that we would have found the entire Old Dominion — in fact, all thirteen colonies — afflicted with B.O.” But because everyone stank, no one noticed. Colonists viewed bathing as more curative than hygienic and did so infrequently.  Ablutions during Colonial times usually meant sponging off’ or, if you were fancy, wash basins or pitchers (these are also items that are being auctioned). Tubs were usually made of wood, and it was a total production to have a bath in Colonial America. The tub would have to be lugged from the laundry house or wherever it was kept, and water hoisted from a well would have to be brought in. (Courtesy Cannon’s Auctions)
Andirons They’re iron bars upon which logs are laid for burning in a fireplace. They are meant to improve air circulation in the fire. (Courtesy Cannon’s Auctions)
Bed warmer This Colonial version of a hot water bottle is called a bed warmer. This is how people could transfer the heat of the fire into their cold and drafty bed chambers. It works by filling the bed warmer with hot coals and placing it under the covers. See a video of how it worked. (Courtesy Cannon’s Auctions)
Cue sticks and balls The Billiard Congress of America wrote that George Washington reportedly won a match in 1748. Billiards was popular among the wealthy in 1770s.  Billiards also appeared in public houses. John Adams wrote in 1761 that in most country towns, there was a sign in almost every other house for the game. . (Courtesy Cannon’s Auctions)
Coffee grinder Coffee did not become popular in the Colonies until after the Boston Tea Party  in 1773. Coffee was a status symbol, for although it was cheaper than tea, making coffee was more labor-intensive, as it required grinding the beans. With coffee came coffeehouses. At the Green Dragon on Boston’s Union Street, British soldiers, governors, officers, revolutionists — some plotting the Boston Tea Party — converged for a cup of coffee, tea or spirits.   (Courtesy Cannon’s Auctions)
Signage Need your shoe fixed? Need your horse’s shoe fixed? Need a wig? Look for a sign, some of the first art produced in Britain’s North America. Because many people could not read, tradesmen and shopkeepers used pictures to advertise what they did. You can bid on the various signs the show used to display Colonial trades and businesses. (Courtesy Cannon’s Auctions)
Foot warmer Another way to transport heat. Similar to the bed warmer, the inside of a foot warmer or foot stove, contained a bowl made of pottery or metal on which charcoal was placed. You put your feet on top and the holes enable the heat to escape, keeping your feet toasty on long carriage rides. (Courtesy Cannon’s Auctions)
Pole screen You can bid on several pole screens used in the show. What are these intricately decorated pieces? More than a decoration, they shielded people’s faces from the direct heat of the fire. They are also known as fire screens. (Courtesy Cannon’s Auctions)

The show, about a spy ring that operated during the American Revolutionary War under George Washington’s orders, premiered on AMC in 2014. Its fourth and final season started in June.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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