In Marin / COLLECTORS
COLLECTOR Pamela Sher
YEARS COLLECTING At least 20
HOW MANY PIECES? More than 1,000
WHY? It’s a long story, but the pursuit combined my two greatest interests, art and history.
I am a former art and history teacher. This
collection has gone on to become the core collection of the Hand Fan Museum.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRS T PIECE? A 19th-
century Viennese advertising fan with a pug on
it. We were pug owners at the time.
WHERE DO YOU FIND THE FANS? In junk
and antique stores, from other collectors and at
auction. Drouot, an auction house in Paris, has
special auctions just for fans. The museum’s collection has also grown from donations.
HAVE YOU COME ACROSS OTHER HAND
FAN COLLECTORS? Anyone with an interest
in hand fans can join a local group like the East
Bay Fan Guild, which meets in Oakland. There
are also larger groups like the Fan Association
of North America that meets annually. The
European group, Fan Circle International, is
based in the U. K. Incidentally, a new fan com-
pany created to produce modern folding fans is
just starting up here in Marin; it is called Pleat.
FAVORITE? That is like asking who your favorite child is, but a trompe l’oeil fan where mice
appear to eat the fan itself, a 19th-century
German ivory fan with carved lily of the valley
relief, and a 19th-century large French satin leaf
fan with painted roses are some of my favorites.
HIGHEST-PRICED ITEM More than $10,000
LOWEST-PRICED ITEM Free
You can keep cool in style with
this world-class collection.
PAMELA SHER IS the founder and director of the Hand Fan Museum, the only one of its kind in the United States, located right off Healdsburg’s square on its eponymous avenue. As one might expect,
a hand fan is a handheld air mover that was much
more popular before the advent of air-conditioning.
In 2003 Sher showcased around 1,200 fans in a
200-square-foot space, but has since expanded her
reach by moving 500-or-so of the collectibles from
all across the globe to a bigger space next door at the
h2hotel, a property she and her husband, Merritt,
are partners in. KASIA PAWLOWSKA