PANAMA CITY, Fla. – The estate of the late Gordon Ingham Atwater – the renowned petroleum pioneer who was an expert in oil and gas reserves in the United States and accurately predicted the first gas shortage prior to his death in 1973 at age 66 – will be held Jan. 30, starting at 9 a.m. Central Time. The sale has already gone online, with Internet bidding via LiveAuctioneers.com.
The auction is being conducted by Specialists of the South, Inc., based in Panama City, not far from the upscale estate known as Osceola Lodge in nearby Lynn Haven, where Mr. Atwater and his wife, Emogene, called home from the early 1960s until their deaths.
For nearly 50 years, Osceola Lodge served as a showcase for the many wonderful furniture items and fine decorative accessories brought by the Atwaters from New Orleans – where Mr. Atwater cut his teeth as the city’s first consulting geologist, setting up his own business in 1945 – to Lynn Haven, where they fell in love with the area’s New Orleans-like environs. Osceola Lodge overlooks Anderson Bayou.
“It’s truly a privilege to be involved with this type of estate, one that’s so rich in history and local tradition,” said Logan Adams of Specialists of the South. “Mr. Atwater, his wife and family have all been forces in this community, enormously respected as people with taste and style. And their many possessions reflect that. Over 400 lots will cross the block, and we expect a crowd of about 100 people.”
The auction will be held at the Specialists of the South’s gallery, located at 544 E. 6th Street in Panama City. Offered will be beautiful period furniture items, to include a pair of fauteuil chairs with carved crests, a burl decorated slope-lid parlor desk, a set of six balloon chairs with cabriole legs, a walnut shelf-back sideboard with spool legs, a 5-shelf carved étagère, an “X”-style gout stool, and a diminutive Empire settee (circa 1840), 43 inches wide and in overall good condition..
Other furniture pieces include a walnut marble-top table with burl decoration, a 6-drawer bird’s eye maple chest, a cane rocker, a Hepplewhite-style sideboard, twin bed headboards, footboards and rails, a nice cedar chest, and a folding table with mother of pearl inlaid top. Also, an Empire sofa by the famous maker Francois Seignouret will be sold. Mr. Seignouret was a New Orleans furniture maker and wine merchant around 1808.
Decorative accessories will feature a Cybis porcelain figure collection (to include a wood duck, two bunnies, a snow owl, squirrel, burro, raccoon, pandas, a buffalo and a bear; plus young girl figures, like Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks with a panda, Peter Pan, Wendy, Pollyanna, Rapunzel, Pandora and a girl with flowers), a ceramic jug with colorful corn design and cork base stopper, a George Washington glazed figure, carved soapstone bookends, a hand-painted Sevres Bavarian coffee pot marked “Marechal Niels” (signed A. Grenier), a Chinese vase with 3-dimensional flowers, a nice brass umbrella stand, French oyster plates (MR, France), a Haviland oyster plate, four hand-painted porcelain plates marked “Titanic Austria,” several detailed porcelain figures, a European bisque boat, and a cranberry cruet.
Additional decorative accessories will include early 20th century oak wall phones, Cambridge Statuesque glass, covered milk glass dishes (depicting a camel, swan, lion, horse and more), Hummels (to include Angel Serenade, Festival Harmony and Little Goat Herder), a collection of Boehm plates, a beautiful spool bed, Italian terra cotta figures, silver pieces (to include a large sterling bowl and plated meat platters), wood carvings, Oriental rugs (to include a colorful circa 1970 9-foot by 12-foot Sarouk, a 4-foot by 6-foot circa 1960 Jozaen, and a circa 1920 5-foot by 7-foot English rug), and a German wooden cuckoo clock with two birds to chirp the time.
Yet more decorative accessories will feature Irish Wade miniatures, Royal Worcester egg coddlers, 1854 Doulton Burslem dishes, Johnson Brothers Old Mill dishes, Copeland Mansard flower plates, a Haviland china dinner set, clear glass squirrel bookends, a folding fire screen with ormolu, sterling silver goblets, large and small bisque figures, a Steuben bowl, and a boxed carving set with stag horn handles. Also offered will be Eisenberg jewelry, a sable fur coat, a Gulbransen grand piano, and vintage books, to include children’s books such as a 1933 edition of Winnie the Pooh, with detailed black and white illustrations.
In the fine art category, anticipated top lots will include Italian carvings, such as a painted Madonna and Child figural work (signed M.K. Kaslatter), a lithograph of a countryside landscape, a kneeling nude bronze bookend (marked “J B 8036”), a framed still life or watercolor rendering of wine and fruit, and other notable works. Also offered will be a group of Native American and American Frontier art books.
Mr. Atwater was born in Milwaukee, Wis., but grew up in Iowa City, Iowa, where he went on to complete a Master’s degree in geology. He won the coveted Emmons Scholarship to Harvard, Yale and Columbia and actually worked on his Ph.D. at all three schools, finally completing it at the University of Wisconsin. He moved to New Orleans during Word War II to be part of the emerging gas and oil boom.
By the time he arrived in Florida, Mr. Atwater was already known worldwide for his advanced work in gas reserves and geology. His wife, the former Emogene Chapman, was also worldly and wise; but after their only child, Mimi, died of a brain aneurysm at age 29, the Atwaters made Osceola Lodge their haven. When Mrs. Atwater passed away in 1978, Osceola Lodge remained in the family.
Today, Osceola Lodge is the centerpiece of a gated community called Osceola Point. And true to what the Atwaters would have wanted, the area recalls City Park and Audubon Park in New Orleans. New homes are unmistakably Southern, and the streets have names like Rue Bocage and Rue Esplanade.
Specialists of the South, Inc., has been serving the Panama City community for over 30 years. The firm specializes in a broad range of services, to include furniture refurbishing, interior decoration, personal property appraisals, estate sales and business liquidation services. It has been awarded Small Business of the Month by the Bay County Chamber of Commerce.
Specialists of the South, Inc., is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, estate or collection, you may call them directly, at 850-785-2577; or, you can e-mail them at email@example.com.
Photos courtesy Specialists of the South, Inc.
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