Kennett Collection Sale

For any serious bonsai enthusiast on the Eastern Seaboard, there was one place to have been on March 14th. Gateway Garden Center in Hokenssin, DE was host to over 400 bonsai being sold from the legendary Kennett Collection.IMG_9006

Almost all the trees had been imported from Japan and were being sold at amazing prices. I actually passed on buying things last month in Japan in anticipation of this sale.

Museum Curator Jack Sustic, myself, and Museum volunteer Ted Pickett drove up that morning and arrived an hour early. People had already began to muster, circling the perimeter trying to locate the trees they wanted.

There were buyers from Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and even Houston, Texas. Let me know if I missed any.

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IMG_8995A tent had been set up with cashiers, heaters and best of all free coffee and donuts.IMG_8998

IMG_8991The rules were simple and as fair as possible so that everyone got a chance to get a tree.

IMG_8988Each person pulled a wrist band out of a box and that determined when you could go in.


Peter Warren MC’d the event, going over everything in detail and bound everyone to a gentlemen’s agreement to abide by the rules.IMG_9004


IMG_9002In what we can hope will become as iconic an image as the original, Peter pumped up the crowd with the shout of “Bonsai Power!”.


Jack at the starting gate waiting for his group to go. No one dared to try anything funny with what I assume were the first bouncers ever at a bonsai sale.

I was in shortly after Jack and was able to photograph the trees. Enjoy.

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The first group went in at 10 am and apparently this maple was the first tree purchased, by 11:30 over half the bonsai were sold.
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It was a great experience, even for those who didn’t get exactly what they wanted. Thank you to Mr. Paul and everyone involved in orchestrating this event. It’s exciting to know that so many fine bonsai have been distributed around the U.S. and I assume we will be seeing many of them in upcoming exhibitions.

9 thoughts on “Kennett Collection Sale

  1. So were you and Jack just window shopping or did either of you make any new acquisitions for your home collections? πŸ™‚

  2. Terrific event! Great pictures which helps me to relive the moment…Breath taking experience. I hope this happens again in my life time. I got lucky and scored the big beech and beautiful Kabudachi Japanese Maple

  3. Wow…great event. Thanks for bringing us closer to this sale of epic proportions!

  4. Hello, thank you very much for sharing all these pictures of a quite amazing collection.
    I only have a regret, as in many blogs, too much is dedicated to Juniperus trees that, even breathtaking, seem to me always the same kind of variations of deadwood with beautiful movements.
    Pines varieties used to play this role before and are now relegated in second division.
    If you have any photos of deciduous trees, could you please imagine make an upadate of your post, as many trees seen in photographs background seemed quite nice ?
    Once again, wonderful post and I share both admirative comments of readers and your frustration in front of a “winner takes all” impossible dream.
    Thanks also for the pleasure of reading you regularly, Emmanuel

  5. Hi Aarin. It was nice to meet you there. The sale was a once in a lifetime experience–such palpable excitement. We were fortunate to take 17 trees back to MA. For those of us with blue bands, the frustration of seeing so many specimen trees carted away before we had a chance to pass through the gates of (bonsai) heaven was acute–but these pictures help alleviate the pain. The rough bark maple (#312) was repotted in last night’s study group at Bonsai West. Oh, and you left out Nebraska and Toronto! πŸ™‚

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