Curious Objects: Noah Wunsch Was Born to Collect

Benjamin Miller Curious Objects

As a kid, Noah Wunsch played with blown-glass staffs and dueled his older brother, Eric, with antique swords (safely corked), and while he’s more peaceable these days, in his high-ceilinged apartment overlooking Gramercy Park, he still surrounds himself with fine things. Collecting is a serious business for the Wunsch family, which oversees the Wunsch Americana Foundation, a lender and giver of early American decorative arts objects to institutions across the country, but in Noah's private life one rule guides his hand: “no matter what you're buying make sure you like it.“ In this episode of Curious Objects, Ben takes the measure of Noah’s treasure—which ranges from a 60 BC Visigothic belt buckle to the zany artwork of Genieve Figgis—and learns how the collection was built.

  • Kyoto table by Shiro Kuramata, 1983. Except as noted, all photographs by Katherine Lanza.

  • The Rockcats by Robert Mapplethorpe, 1980, installed in Noah’s living room.

  • Stuffed chair by Katie Stout, 2017.

  • Federal bookcase with lion-head finials and 1700s frame.

  • Detail of the lion-head finials.

  • Three Genieve Figgis paintings above two glass portraits, 1800s.

  • Carved mahogany corner chair by John Goddard for John Brown, Newport, 1760. Wunsch Collection, on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art; photograph by Jai Lennard.

  • E. Martin Wunsch, Noah’s grandfather.

  • Visigothic belt buckle, 60 BC.

  • Detail of a Tiffany Studios floor lamp.

  • Signet and Little, Brown and Company editions of J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.

  • Detail of a 1790s sword with eagle head pommel.

  • Detail of a 1790s sword with eagle head pommel.

  • Indie Wunsch.


Noah Wunsch is the Senior Vice President, Global Head of eCommerce at Sotheby's. Noah also manages The Wunsch Americana Foundation along with his father, Peter, and his brother, Eric. The foundation was started in 1946 by Noah's grandfather Eric Martin Wunsch.