Important Daingerfield painting at Brunk Auctions, May 3-4

Before the railroad made its way to Asheville, N.C. in 1880, commerce traveled on the Buncombe Turnpike. That great road which stretched north to Greenville, Tenn., and south to Traveler’s Rest, S.C., was used for cattle, turkey and hog drives beginning in 1819. The 75-mile pike was so popular that more animals were driven to market on it than the famous Chisholm Trail in Texas.

On May 3, Brunk Auctions will offer for sale an oil painting that vividly depicts a cattle drive possibly on the old Buncombe Turnpike. Not only is the dramatic scene of local interest, but the artist, Elliot Daingerfield (1859-1932) did much of his work at his home in nearby Blowing Rock. In 2003, Brunk Auctions sold another oil painting of local significance: Robert S. Duncanson’s “View of Asheville, North Carolina, 1850.” 

“The Drover,” signed lower right “Elliot Daingerfield/95” comes from the estate of the late Haley Fiske, who was president of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company from 1919 to 1929. The 36” x 29-7/8” framed painting was exhibited in New York City in 1934.  It carries a reserve of $12,000 and is expected to bring between $15,000 and $25,000.

Another collection with great Southern cache is the Harriet Manigault archive. Harriet Manigault Wilcocks (1793-1835), a resident of Charleston, S.C., and near Philadelphia created six miniature watercolor portraits and 14 pencil portraits in the early 19th century. Benjamin Trott painted a miniature portrait of Harriet Manigault that is included in this archive. She was the great-granddaughter of Gabriel Manigault I, listed as one of the three richest men in the United States at his death in 1781. The entire Manigault archive is estimated at $20,000-$30,000.

From Atlanta and Greenville, S.C., comes a collection of 19th century boxes – tea caddies, pill boxes, pen cases, jewelry boxes, nécessaire, and perfume set — all with tortoise panels. The most unusual, a green tortoise jewelry box with silk lining and a three-initial monogram on the lid, is probably British. It carries a $500-$1,000 estimate.  Pre-sale estimates on most of the other tortoise boxes range from $100 to $800.

Noted New York antiques dealer Israel Sack (1883-1959) sold American antiques to such wealthy notables as Henry Ford and H.F. DuPont. He also helped establish the American wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Beginning in 1944, his client list also included Dr. and Mrs. Arthur De Talma Valk of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, now deceased. Their purchases included a pair of Salem, Massachusetts, Federal chairs with upholstered seats, a Massachusetts tea table and a pair of New York Chippendale chairs that are included in this sale. Estimates range from $2,000-$4,000 for the shield back Federal chairs and $2,500-$5,000 for the mahogany Chippendale chairs to $10,000-$20,000 for the 18th century tea table.

One of Bob Brunk’s favorite items is an American paint decorated pipe box. Colors are green, yellow and blue-black on a salmon ground. “It’s a really great piece of American folk art,” said Brunk. “We often forget how colorful early 19th century objects were.” The 12-5/8” box, possibly from New York, with a pencil inscription for 1830, is estimated at $5,000-$10,000.

Three outstanding collections from the era of Napoleon III show the opulence and grandeur of Second Empire decorative arts:

•    A 32-piece English silver picnic set comes in its own fitted wooden case with a brass plaque noting that it belonged to Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III. The set includes oval and round entrée dishes, teapot, locking sugar tongs, ladle and toast rack — items not typically associated with a picnic in the park.  With marks for London, 1864, John Samuel Hunt, and marked “Hunt & Roskell/Late/Storr&Mortimer,”the set carries a $20,000 reserve with a sale expected between $30,000 and $60,000.

•    A set of 12 Sevres plates each with a portrait medallion centered on a green ground with gilt highlights has a $4,000 reserve. The plates were a gift to or purchased by General Robert Patterson from Joseph Bonaparte, elder brother of Emperor Napoleon. Portraits include Napoleon I and Empress Josephine. All are signed at the medallions “G.G. Georget, Sevres” (active 1802-1823). Estimate: $5,000-$10,000.

•    A monumental (43” tall) Napoleon III garniture set with the clock and brass works marked “Medaille d’Argent Vincent Cie 1855.” A pair of matching candelabra is 38 ½” tall.  The reserve is $22,000 (est. $25,000-$35,000).

To view all the items in the May 3-4 sale, visit For information on Brunk Auctions call 828-254-6846.