One hundred and fifty years ago in the New England area (Pennsylvania, most likely), two brothers by the names of Thomas and Edward Moran were growing in popularity as famed artists. It was the 1860s, a decade that would later be remembered as one of the most influential in America’s history, as the Civil War raged and eventually slavery was abolished. Thomas would go on to become one of America’s most prominent painters of the western landscape, with several of his works being displayed in the White House, while Edward was known for his maritime paintings and seascapes. At that time, one of the brothers’ collaborative works was either purchased by or gifted to a family in the Pennsylvania area. That piece became a family heirloom passed down from generation to generation until, one hundred and fifty years later, it came up for sale in a local family-owned antique business. That Moran brothers’ collaborative painting, crafted during the days of Abraham Lincoln and appraised at $500,000, now hangs in an antique retail store on Stratford Road by the name of Laster’s Fine Art & Antiques.
“Many of the items that end up in the store have been passed down through families for generations,” said Ryan Laster, who manages the business with his father, Larry. “The painting by Thomas and Edward Moran is quite special as it represents both an impressive piece of work by prominent artists and a sentimental family heirloom that can be traced back directly to the days of its origin.”
Besides original drawings and paintings, Laster’s also carries leather-bound and rare books, hand-crafted furniture, antique maps, and much more. They do appraisals on coins, sterling flatware, serving pieces, artwork, sculptures, and are interested in both selling and consigning items. Specifically, Laster’s is currently interested in buying sterling flatware and tea sets. They also handle estates and can coordinate estate sales for families.
Larry Laster has a wealth of experience in the antique dealing business. Before opening the store on Stratford Road in 2011, he had worked in the business selling to designers and high-end art and antique dealers on a wholesale basis for 38 years. He and Ryan opened the store on Stratford Road in 2011 and have since enjoyed seeing the interesting pieces that walk through their doors daily, hearing the stories behind them, and helping their customers find just what they are looking for. “You never know what will come in the door on any given day,” said Ryan. “One day a lady came in to sell sterling flatware and another customer bought the flatware right away. That customer asked us to let her know if we ended up buying any bullion spoons because that was the one thing she lacked. The very next day someone happened to come in with bullion spoons, and later that same day the customer in the need of the spoons happened to drop back by the store. We love seeing those connections.”
From antique paintings to bullion spoons, it is both the historical value of the antiques and the connections made with and between customers that makes every day interesting at Laster’s Fine Art & Antiques – and fills the store on Stratford Road with stories of all kinds.
Visit www.lastersfineart.com for more details.