Adam Weitsman, who runs a $1 billion scrap metal empire in New York State, amassed one of the world's largest private collections of 19th-century American decorated stoneware, valued at about $10 million. Weitsman has donated it to the New York State Museum in Albany.
"I'm the gruff one, they're the polished ones and I like our partnership," Weitsman said of his collection to the Times-Union. "I'm not a sophisticated guy. I'm in the scrap business. I like acquiring art to give to museums so average people can enjoy it. I never believed in collecting things you don't share with anybody."
The 45-year-old head of Upstate Shredding has a background in art history, with years of work at New York galleries, culminating in his legacy as an astute collector of early American crockery.
Weitsman began collecting at age 11. "Some of my best childhood memories were searching for stoneware," he wrote in his collection's forthcoming catalog. "It is not about collecting the pieces, it is all about the hunt for them.
A 260-page catalog, "Art for the People: Decorated Stoneware From the Weitsman Collection," is scheduled to be published by the State Museum this summer. All proceeds of the $65 volume will go to the museum.