MACON, Miss. – A beautiful four-piece parlor suite by the 19th-century New York furniture maker John Henry Belter, in the Rosalie with Grapes pattern, sold for $11,550 at an on-site auction held Aug. 1 at Belle Oaks, one of the most prominent old antebellum homes in Mississippi. Macon is located 30 miles south of Columbus, on Rte. 45. The sale was conducted by Stevens Auction Co. of Aberdeen, Miss.
“It was a real hot day out there, but the people came to buy and they definitely went home happy,” said Dwight Stevens of Stevens Auction Company. “All the contents of this grand old mansion were sold on the premises, under large tents. People braved the pounding July sun for a chance to own some fine quality antiques. And quality antiques will always be a great investment – no matter what.”
Belle Oaks was built in 1844 for Judge Hampton Lee Jarnigan. Subsequent owners included Zach Brooks, a successful oil and cattleman who also became one of the largest landowners in the region. The home now belongs to Gene Penick, who consigned its contents for sale. Items included fine period furniture, original artwork, rugs, lighting, china, cut glass, antique guns, collectibles and more.
The parlor suite, crafted around 1855 and comprising a settee, two armless chairs and an armchair, was the top lot of the auction.
Around 300 people were present to bid on approximately 550 lots. There was no online bidding component, but phone bidding was active (especially for the bigger furniture pieces and artwork) and some left bids were submitted, too (on about 80 pieces of cut glass).
Following are additional highlights of the sale. All prices quoted include a 10 percent buyer’s premium.
The only other lot to top the $10,000 mark was a monumental rosewood half tester plantation bed signed by C. Lee, 9 feet 6 inches tall, queen size (circa 1855). With the buyer’s premium, it brought $10,450. Also, a set of 12 mahogany Chippendale chairs (2 arms, ball and claw feet) realized $605 each (or $7,260 for the set); and a very rare flamed mahogany Empire baby cradle (circa 1845) made $2,420.
A mahogany three-seater Chippendale settee with original needlepoint seat and claw feet (circa 1860, 80 inches wide) climbed to $1,980; a high-style bronzed Aragon lamp with original shades (circa 1840, by J. & I. Cox of New York City, 25 inches tall) went for $2,420; and a period Empire pier table with marble columns, bronze trim and marble top (circa 1830, New York) changed hands for $3,080.
Dozens of pieces of beautiful cut glass – some of it offered in multiples and a good bit of it the American Brilliant Cut Glass (ABCG) so coveted by collectors – came under the gavel. One piece of note was an ABCG bowl, signed in the Hawkes pattern (10 inches wide); it brought $412. An unusual lot that piqued the interest of bidders was an antique harp in need of restoration. It topped out at $1,980.
A bronze double-arm Aragon lamp with pink porcelain in the base (circa 1830, 19 inches tall by 17 inches wide), with 10-inch-tall shades, commanded $2,200; a three-piece Old Paris mantel set, blue with figurals, achieved $1,870; a gold Victorian mirror with a lady’s head in the crown (circa 1850, 61 inches tall) rose to $5,940; and a pair of Victorian wrought iron garden benches sold for $2,310 each.
A high-back Renaissance Revival bed with a lady’s head in the crown (circa 1870, 8 feet 6 inches tall by 76 inches long) found a new owner for $3,300; a pair of blue Old Paris-style mantel vases, each one 17 inches tall, topped out at $1,100 each; a pair of Victorian bronze gas wall sconces (circa 1870) fetched $522 each; and a spectacular 89-piece set of Old Paris china hammered for $2,860.
Original works of art did very well. An oil on canvas portrait of a Victorian family in the original frame garnered $6,160; a 19th-century oil on canvas painting of Madonna and Child with the original gold frame went for $2,200; an oil on canvas Dutch farm and figural scene (circa 1840), signed Laren, hit $2,090; and an oval oil on canvas painting of a child and his dog in an ornate gilt frame made $1,760.
Beds and bedroom suites seem to be a staple at most Stevens auctions, and this one was no exception. A handsome rosewood half tester plantation bed, signed C. Lee and crafted around 1855 (queen size, 9 feet 4 inches tall) coasted to $7,700, while a walnut high-back Victorian full-size bed, crafted around 1860 and regal at 7 feet 9 inches tall, went to a determined bidder for $2,200.
The Belle Oaks mansion itself was not part of the auction, but its owner, Mr. Penick, has listed the property for sale at the asking price of $295,000. The 5,500-square-foot mansion sits on about three acres of manicured grounds. It was built on a grand scale, with 14-foot ceilings, 20-foot square rooms and an unusual stairway that dominates the entrance hall.
Stevens Auction Company is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, estate or collection, call them at 662-369-2200 or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Stevens Auction Company visit www.stevensauction.com.
Photos courtesy of Stevens Auction Co.