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Home | Articles | Fond Recollections: An Interview with Albert Sack

his year has witnessed the passing of three giants in the world of antiques, Harold Sack, Jess Pavey, and Israel "Zeke" Liverant. Each man held a tremendous love of his craft that was contagious, each man relished the joy of discovering a great object, and each man had a warm demeanor that encouraged fast and enduring friendships throughout the dealer, museum, and collector communities. One man who over the decades shared the passion of American antiques with all three gentlemen is Albert Sack of Israel Sack, Inc. We spoke recently with Albert about his relationship with these special individuals who made such a difference in the world of antiques.

Albert’s best friend was Zeke Liverant. Zeke passed away on October 8th at the age of 83. We asked Albert to describe their bond and he told us that "we developed a relationship, a friendship, a trust, warmth, we were like brothers."

Zeke Liverant with Albert Sack, September 1995. Photo courtesy of Maine Antiques Digest.
"I met Zeke in 1948. As a dealer in Connecticut he had an established rapport with many of the old Connecticut families from whom he bought truly wonderful things. I bought great things from Zeke including a highboy with gilt shell now in the Kaufman collection. His reputation for finding quality antiques led my father to suggest Zeke to a journalist, Bob Wallace, from Life magazine who was looking for a story about a dealer. Bob lived with Zeke for a week and was so impressed that he wrote a twelve-page article called 'Zeke the Seeker.'"

"Zeke was respected among collectors and colleagues alike. He sat on museum boards, sold pieces to major museums and became one of New England's leading dealers. We had many good times together, helped each other form some wonderful collections. Zeke was a man of great integrity, humor, and warmth."

Like Zeke, Jess Pavey, who died this past July at the age of 94, was responsible for discovering some of the most important pieces of Americana. "I first met Jess in 1946. He worked a great deal with my father Israel and my brother Harold. They worked together to form some of the greatest collections. Jess would bring clients from the mid-west to New York and we would go to Reuben's for lunch and Gino’s for dinner. They would stay for several days, sometimes they would buy something, and sometimes they wouldn’t. We developed friendships, relationships. Jess was all about developing relationships. And he bought the best. The piece came first, its purity, then its aesthetic merit—but it had to be the best."

Within a week of Jess Pavey’s passing and four months to the day of Zeke Liverant’s death, Harold Sack, Albert’s older brother, died on July 8th at the age of 89. "When Harold died we got hundreds of letters," Albert said in a pleased voice, proud of the difference his brother made in the lives of others. "It was incredible. He inspired people to go a step above, to a higher plane, and they did, and they all loved him for it. Harold had a great interest in people and developed lasting relationships and friendships. If there is one thing I want to convey about Harold, it was his warmth; people were inspired by him and felt a warmth toward him."

At the end of our conversation Albert noted that "sometimes people forget the important role that dealers have had in the formation of many of the great private and museum collections in this country. Dealers like my father, Harold, Jess, and Zeke were pivotal in discovering and educating people about American antiques, and collectors need to continue to rely on the advice and knowledge of the dealer community." Albert further noted that "the antiques world is great when it is built with trust, friendship, and a common goal to buy the best"—Harold, Jess, and Zeke all shared these beliefs and lived by them. Thank you Harold, Jess, and Zeke for all that you gave to your community, and thank you Albert for your recollections.

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