DECATUR, Ala. — An authentic Civil War cannon, fired by Union troops at the Battle of Gettysburg, dated 1855 and complete with documented provenance, sold for $86,250 at an onsite sale of the contents of the Dancy-Polk House Inn, held Oct. 12 in Decatur. The Dancy-Polk House Inn, constructed in 1829, is one of only four buildings in Decatur to survive the Civil War.
“It was also one of the largest crowds for an outside event we’ve had in three years or more,” said Dwight Stevens of Stevens Auction Co. Close to 700 people attended the sale in person, while phone and absentee bidding were both heavy.”
The cannon, purchased by a bidder from Georgia, was from the private collection of an avid Civil War collector. It was expected to be the top lot of the day, and it easily claimed that honor. The cannon, a 3.67-caliber weapon and one of three 6-pounder models utilized by the Union Army at Gettysburg in 1863, was last fired in 1947.
Other Civil War items included a Confederate drum (Pictured at right), also from the Battle of Gettysburg ($9,200), an Alabama double-banded rifle signed Dixon and Nelson dated 1864 and fired by Confederate soldiers ($13,800), a pair of Confederate Dog River swords ($8,625 and $8,395, respectively), a wood canteen with “P. Schneider C&C 5th Reg.” on one side and “Lookout Mt., TN Nov. 25th, 1893” on the other ($5,175) and a leather belt with Confederate buckle stamped “C.S.” ($4,600).
All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.
The runner-up for top lot of the sale was a Empire banquet table, 14 feet long and 5 feet wide, made circa 1890 and signed R. J. Horner, the renowned 19th century furniture maker ($19,550). The table had acanthus carved claw feet with six skirted leaves. Also, a set of 12 mahogany Chippendale chairs (one arm, 11 sides, all circa 1910), went for $7,590.
A pair of eye-grabbing lots both topped the $10,000 mark. The first was an elegant 1935 Chrysler Airstream four-door sedan, all original. The car with a new set of tires and new 12-volt electrical system, was last painted 25 years ago and featured turn signals. It sped off for $16,675. Also, a circa 1930s mahogany Steinway piano with stool, in excellent condition, rose to $10,350.
A pair of beds with completely different back stories crossed the block. A monumental rococo mahogany rosewood half tester plantation bed from around 1850, 104 inches tall and in great condition, breezed to $12,650; while an ornately decorated antique iron bed made circa 1900 that once belonged to Madame Cate, proprietor of a brothel in Decatur, garnered $1,725.
A five-piece rosewood rococo laminated parlor suite by J. & J.W. Meeks in the Stanton Hall pattern, with blue upholstery and made circa 1855, topped out at $18,400; and a rosewood pierce-carved oval center table, also made by Meeks in the Stanton Hall pattern, rose to $10,350.
Two grand breakfronts wowed the crowd. One was a flame mahogany Empire Gothic breakfront with four wine drawers, made circa 1840 and standing 9 feet, 1-inch tall by 68 inches wide ($4,255). The other was a period Empire breakfront with original crest and rippled molding, also crafted around 1840 and standing 8 feet, 6 inches tall by 61 inches wide ($3,680).
A rosewood rococo laminated sofa, pictured on page 116 of the Dubrow Book of 19th Century Furniture and similar to an example in the Arnot Art Museum (circa 1855) went for $4,830; and an oversize two-drawer period Empire mint julep cabinet with black and gold marble, made circa 1840, 37½ inches tall by 44 inches wide, coasted to $3,335.
An enormous, heavily carved walnut Victorian hall tree with mirror (Pictured at left), white marble top and caved deer head at the peak, made circa 1860 by Mitchell & Rammelsberg and with the original finish, hit $17,250. Also, a massive pair of rosewood Victorian gold gilt parlor mirrors from around 1860, each one measuring 9 feet tall by 47 inches wide, hammered at $3,680 each.
Decorative accessories featured an antique French bronze and marble clock with large bronze cup on top, circa 1880 ($7,475); a three-piece Sevres porcelain and bronze clock set, circa 1880 ($2,990); and a pair of circa 1880 Old Paris vases, dark blue with roses and with heavy gold decoration ($1,840).
In January, Stevens Auction Co. will sell the lifetime collections of a Missouri lady, offering a 65-year accumulation of early Chinese Rose Medallion, Sevres pieces, Moser art glass, Old English Staffordshire and more. Visit www.stevensauction.com, contact 662 369-2200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.