One heck of a stove plate. (Photo: Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates)

When it comes to cast-iron stove plates, it doesn’t get much better than this. Unless, of course, that piece of Americana has a great story behind it.

Offered in the November 12th Jeffrey S. Evans auction of Americana and antiques, featuring Virginia and the South, is an Augusta County, Virginia, cast-iron stove plate depicting birds in flight flanking a Masonic compass and square, all above “Bird & Miller / Massy Creek Fornace / 1775”, over tulips and roses.

The catalog notes, “This is one of only two recorded intact examples of this plate, the other being in the collection of the Shenandoah Valley Folk Art & Heritage Center, Dayton, VA. We discovered that example stored in a chicken house in Rockingham Co. in the 1990s.”

All we ever had in our chicken house were some fat laying hens and a mean-spirited rooster or two, but I love the story. And, I love this plate.