Seller Story

Michael Shaheen, Washington, DC


When Michael Shaheen Jr. retired from a career at the Department of Justice, he threw himself into collecting art, antiques and silver. While he’d always been interested in history and craftsmanship, his affinity for art from other cultures was deepened during his work trips to Russia, where he went as part of an advisory team to transition the country after the fall of the USSR. He returned to the US and started collecting himself; and also invested in the independent jeweler and silversmith shop that is now Alexandria and Company (formerly Lawrence Miller & Co). His son, Tim Shaheen, manages it the studio and boutique today. “Michael passed onto Tim an appreciation for craftsmanship and history that rings true to how he runs his business now,” says Meaghan Foran, Tim’s business partner and wife. “Michael loved finding an incredible piece that held within it not only a story but a detail of a craft that is often lost in modern mass-produced items. He was a natural storyteller himself and I think he appreciated it in other art forms.”

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Seller Story:  Michael Shaheen, Washington, DC
Seller Story:  Michael Shaheen, Washington, DC
S.B. & Co. Silver Plate Grape Motif Footed Platter

S.B. & Co. Silver Plate Grape Motif Footed Platter

Final Bid:
$55
Lynn Dutton Watercolor Painting "Morning Fog at Shuter's Hill"

Lynn Dutton Watercolor Painting "Morning Fog at Shuter's Hill"

Final Bid:
$57
Antique Canton Covered Casserole and Meat Dish

Antique Canton Covered Casserole and Meat Dish

Final Bid:
$90
Gorham Mfg. Co. Silver Plate Five Light Candelabrum

Gorham Mfg. Co. Silver Plate Five Light Candelabrum

Final Bid:
$110
Filigree Accented Sterling Silver Demitasse Spoons

Filigree Accented Sterling Silver Demitasse Spoons

Final Bid:
$14
Openwork German 870 Silver and Reticulated Sterling Silver Salt Cellars

Openwork German 870 Silver and Reticulated Sterling Silver Salt Cellars

Final Bid:
$363
Early 18th-Century Hand-Painted Manuscript Page from the Dala'il al-Khayrat

Early 18th-Century Hand-Painted Manuscript Page from the Dala'il al-Khayrat

Final Bid:
$125
Pewter Tone Mug

Pewter Tone Mug

Final Bid:
$12
18K Yellow Gold Cultured Pearl Ring

18K Yellow Gold Cultured Pearl Ring

Final Bid:
$130
Hand Painted Persian Manuscript "Poems of Asaf"

Hand Painted Persian Manuscript "Poems of Asaf"

Final Bid:
$210
Antique Gold Gilt Vanity Mirror

Antique Gold Gilt Vanity Mirror

Final Bid:
$14
Late 15th-Century Miniature Hand-Painted Vellum Page from French Book of Hours

Late 15th-Century Miniature Hand-Painted Vellum Page from French Book of Hours

Final Bid:
$312
Stone Top Side Table

Stone Top Side Table

Final Bid:
$20
Watercolor on Paper of Greek Ruins

Watercolor on Paper of Greek Ruins

Final Bid:
$31
Miniature Medieval Hand-Painted Page from a Book of Hours "The Annunciation"

Miniature Medieval Hand-Painted Page from a Book of Hours "The Annunciation"

Final Bid:
$515
14K Yellow Gold Necklace

14K Yellow Gold Necklace

Final Bid:
$409
Michele Reday Cook Oil Painting "Peaceful Harbor"

Michele Reday Cook Oil Painting "Peaceful Harbor"

Final Bid:
$215
Pair of Antique Chairs with Caned Seats

Pair of Antique Chairs with Caned Seats

Final Bid:
$22
Hand-Painted Latin Sheet Music Manuscript Folio

Hand-Painted Latin Sheet Music Manuscript Folio

Final Bid:
$206
Vintage 9K Yellow Gold Watch Fob Pendant

Vintage 9K Yellow Gold Watch Fob Pendant

Final Bid:
$215
Vintage Mahogany Knee-Hole Desk

Vintage Mahogany Knee-Hole Desk

Final Bid:
$30
Antique Hand-Painted Page from a Persian Manuscript

Antique Hand-Painted Page from a Persian Manuscript

Final Bid:
$190
14K Yellow Gold Gemstone Scarab Bracelet

14K Yellow Gold Gemstone Scarab Bracelet

Final Bid:
$145
Early 16th-Century Page from a Book of Hours "The Coronation of the Virgin"

Early 16th-Century Page from a Book of Hours "The Coronation of the Virgin"

Final Bid:
$654
O. Tyborski Oil Painting on Board "On The Road Again"

O. Tyborski Oil Painting on Board "On The Road Again"

Final Bid:
$70
Malachite Beaded Necklace and Chip Inlay Earrings

Malachite Beaded Necklace and Chip Inlay Earrings

Final Bid:
$46
Victorian 15K Yellow Gold Diamond Pendant Brooch

Victorian 15K Yellow Gold Diamond Pendant Brooch

Final Bid:
$125
Ruth G. Thomson Watercolor and Ink Painting "Summer Morning in Founders Park"

Ruth G. Thomson Watercolor and Ink Painting "Summer Morning in Founders Park"

Final Bid:
$10
Six Late 15th-Century Hand-Painted Pages from French Book of Hours

Six Late 15th-Century Hand-Painted Pages from French Book of Hours

Final Bid:
$403
La Pierre Mfg. Co. Weighted Sterling Silver Candlestick Holders

La Pierre Mfg. Co. Weighted Sterling Silver Candlestick Holders

Final Bid:
$100
Henry Winkles Engraving on Paper of Freiburg Minster

Henry Winkles Engraving on Paper of Freiburg Minster

Final Bid:
$8
Watson Co. Sterling Silver Tray Frame

Watson Co. Sterling Silver Tray Frame

Final Bid:
$95
Medieval Hand-Painted Vellum Page from Illuminated Breviary Manuscript

Medieval Hand-Painted Vellum Page from Illuminated Breviary Manuscript

Final Bid:
$166
14K Yellow Gold Ruby and Diamond Hinged Bracelet

14K Yellow Gold Ruby and Diamond Hinged Bracelet

Final Bid:
$674
Monna Kauppinen Pastel Drawing on Paper of Cherry Blossom Branch

Monna Kauppinen Pastel Drawing on Paper of Cherry Blossom Branch

Final Bid:
$60
Late 15th-Century Hand-Painted Vellum Pages from a French Book of Hours

Late 15th-Century Hand-Painted Vellum Pages from a French Book of Hours

Final Bid:
$282
14K Yellow Gold Amethyst Pendant

14K Yellow Gold Amethyst Pendant

Final Bid:
$383
Late 16th-Century Miniature Hand-Painted Vellum Leaves from French Book of Hours

Late 16th-Century Miniature Hand-Painted Vellum Leaves from French Book of Hours

Final Bid:
$237
Hand-Painted Manuscript Page on Vellum "Petrus Lombardus"

Hand-Painted Manuscript Page on Vellum "Petrus Lombardus"

Final Bid:
$101
The Stieff Co. "Puritan-Engraved" Sterling Silver Creamer and Sugar Bowl Set

The Stieff Co. "Puritan-Engraved" Sterling Silver Creamer and Sugar Bowl Set

Final Bid:
$256
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Seller Story:  Michael Shaheen, Washington, DC

As silver experts at Alexandria and Co. what can you tell us about some of the pieces in the sale?

The SB & Co plate with the grape motif is from Tim’s mom’s side of the family. Polly Dammann was a lawyer at the DOJ and her grandfather, Charles McLaughlin, was a famous artist. This particular plate has the initials ABCD engraved on it, which stand for Aileen Byronne Cowardin Dammann. It’s part of a larger collection of family silver that we still have and use. Tim remembers that Gorham candelabra as one of the silver items that was always on display in their home. The creamer and sugar bowl set, from the Stieff Co., the Baltimore maker that was founded in 1892 is interesting because typically they created much more ornate, repoussé-style pieces that were reflective of the greater Baltimore aesthetic at the time — the heydey of silver manufacturing. These have a simpler, “Puritan” design that makes them unique.

What about the manuscripts and Russian idols?

Michael wasn’t religious, but he was intensely interested in the personal meaning that religious artifacts held and to both the craftsman and the audience. With the manuscripts it’s a similar story. Some of them are of Ottoman descent; the Shaheens were likely Ottoman. His dad was Lebanese, so I think he wanted to collect and appreciate pieces from his family’s ancestral land.

What about the watercolors?

If Michael came across a painting he liked, he had no hesitations buying it. He always took time while traveling to seek out local artists and bring home art that was emblematic of the place. The column painting, for example, was purchased in Italy from a local artist. Tim remembers their living room walls were completely covered in art. Michael even contemplated a ceiling mural for their home!