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Early 20th Century Design

Toomey & Co. Auctioneers is well known for its expertise in early 20th century design. In the 1980s, the company was at the forefront of the revival of the American Arts & Crafts Movement under the former Treadway Toomey Auctions partnership.

We have conducted numerous auctions of early 20th century design from prestigious collections. In May 2012, we sold La Hacienda: The John L. Jerome Collection, which was the most important collection of early Gustav Stickley pieces ever sold at auction. The collection of Robert and Elaine Dillof was sold in December 2014 and is considered today to be the most important single-owner sale of Arts & Crafts furniture and decorative arts to date. In June 2015, we handled selected works from the Roy and Sarita Warshawsky Collection, including a rare Art Nouveau hair comb by René Lalique that sold for $205,500, the highest price ever achieved at auction for a Lalique comb.

In addition to Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau, Toomey & Co. Auctioneers has extensive knowledge regarding works by architects from the Prairie School, as well as material from the Art Deco period.






Contact a Specialist

john walcher toomey & co auctioneers

John P. Walcher

Vice President
Senior Specialist



John P. Walcher, a Vice President of Toomey & Co. Auctioneers, is a Senior Specialist in the Early 20th Century Design Department and joined the company in 2013. John was raised in Springfield, Illinois and holds a degree in Biology from Western Illinois University. Prior to and since joining the company, he has assisted with numerous consignments from important private collections, estates, and institutions.

While at Toomey & Co., John has helped oversee many important collections including: the Robert and Elaine Dillof Collection, the Warshawsky Collection, the Estate of Candice B. Groot, the Estate of Robert E. Beck, the collection of Governor Jim Thompson, and the Estate of Robert E. “Butch” McGuire, among others. He also managed the sale of deaccessioned objects from the Art Institute of Chicago.

John has been in the auction industry since 2000 and long held a passion for the fine and performing arts. He is currently a member in the following organizations: Sustaining Fellows at the Art Institute of Chicago, Antiquarian Society at the Art Institute of Chicago, New York Silver Society, Irish Georgian Society, Joffrey Auxiliary Board (chairman emeritus), Advisory Board of Common Threads, Central Illinois Numismatic Association (life member), and the Illinois State Museum Society (life member).

In addition to being a Vice President and Senior Specialist, John is a licensed auctioneer and acts as the primary auctioneer for Toomey & Co. He also regularly assists many charitable organizations by offering his services as a professional auctioneer.

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rebecca williams toomey co auctioneers oak park il

Rebecca Williams




Rebecca Williams joined the company in 2015. She is from Columbus, Ohio and moved to Chicago to pursue the arts. She received a Bachelors of Art History degree from DePaul University and a Masters of Art History degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Rebecca started her career in 2008 working with decorative arts as a member of the European Decorative Arts Department at the Art Institute of Chicago. Prior to joining Toomey & Co. Auctioneers, she worked as a 20th century design specialist at a Midwest auction house. Rebecca has experience working with important collections: she assisted with the Warshawsky Collection and the Estate of Candice B. Groot and managed the Wilbert & Marilyn Hasbrouck Collection of Books on Frank Lloyd Wright, the Prairie School, and related material.

Outside of her work in the auction industry, Rebecca has worked as a volunteer for the Richard H. Driehaus Museum and the Glessner House Museum. She currently sits on the Collections Committee at Pleasant Home Foundation, a Prairie School house museum designed by architect George Washington Maher.

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