The Caribbean: St. Croix

Great finds

Auction Fever in St. Croix
Every first Sunday in March, antiques collectors flock to the big white tent next to the Whim Plantation Museum, which is housed in an 18th-century sugar-plantation house overlooking the Caribbean near Frederiksted. They come to cast their bids in the annual antique-furniture auction (which benefits the museum), now in its 20th year and considered the source for fine West Indian furniture. Whim specializes in pieces made throughout the 18th and 19th centuries by indigenous craftsmen on St. Croix, Martinique, Jamaica, and other West Indian islands. The most highly sought after pieces integrate English, French, and Danish designs in rich hardwoods. Many were made with elaborate lathe turning techniques and have African-Carib elements such as carved pineapples and sunbursts. At the last Whim auction, bargains included a 19th-century mahogany center table from St. Croix ($3,000) and a superb 19th-century mahogany rocker with a cane seat, which sold to Charles Turnbull, the governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands ($1,200). The auction also puts on the docket fine American and European antique furniture. At 52 Estate Whim on Route 70, Frederiksted; 340-772-0598;