Ashton Villa, Galveston Texas
Cat’s Meow Village 1996 Galveston Series
The vintage wooden collectible Ashton Villa, from the 1996 Galveston Series is a classic example of Americanized Italian architecture. Since this is a retired piece it is no longer available at the “Official” Cat’s Meow Village website, but it is still available at other web sources. The best value source for this piece is probably ebay, it may also be found at Appletreedeals or with a google search. Prices range from an ebay auction price starting at .99 to retail sales prices at online sites for around $21.95.
The 1996 Galveston Series was first issued in 1996, (of course), and retired in 2001. First year issues generally go for slightly more than later issues, but piece condition is always a major factor. Since these pieces are 12 – 22 years old, (or more), and were probably in someone’s collection, it is important to try to get as much condition info as possible. This means pictures, so you can see for yourself what you are buying.
The production process for this series has the piece info and Faline’s stamped signature and date of issue on the bottom left corner of the back side of the piece. And as in all authentic CMV pieces, look for Casper the cat somewhere on the piece. On the Ashton Villa, Casper is sitting on a second story window sill, watching all the arrivals.
Occasionally pieces can be found that were in retail inventory and never collected or displayed by anyone, but even then, due to various storage methods, item condition still needs to be seen. Any good source for CMV pieces should be able to provide good clear front and rear view photos. That was the case with the Appletreedeals.com source, plenty of pictures and a good item description.
Ashton Villa was built in 1858-59, the first of Galveston’s Broadway palaces, as well as the first brick house to be built in Texas. Built by James Moreau Brown, a wholesale hardware merchant, railroad corporation president and banker. Brown was one of the richest men in Texas, and Ashton Villa was one of the grandest homes in the state at the time it was completed. Filled with antiques, family heirlooms and original art, Ashton Villa today provides an intimate glimpse into the life of a prominent Victorian family.
Once serving as the headquarters for the Confederate and Union armies during the Civil War, This Italianate dwelling was slightly ahead of it’s time. Ashton Villa boosts brick and plaster from Philadelphia, ironwork from England, and hand-carved walnut valances from Paris. Artisans were even brought from France to apply gold leaf ro interior friezes and medallions. Saved from demolition by the Galveston Historical Society in the 1960’s, the mansion is the city’s oldest house open to the public. Ashton Villa, listed on the National Register of Historic places now serves as a museum.
Feel free to comment or ask questions, particularly if you can add to the history of the piece.
You might be interested in the Galveston Sacred Heart Church, from the same Cats Meow Village series.
Related tags: Cat’s Meow Village wooden collectibles, Cats Meow Houses, Cats Meow Collectible, Galveston Series