Vintage dolls, toy trains, Meerschaum pipes, Majolica, Erte, more at Feb. 17 auction in Panama City
Antique and collectible items spanning multiple categories from four prominent local estates, plus additional merchandise from Panama City's Council on Aging, will all be rolled into one important auction on Saturday, Feb. 17, in Panama City, Fla.
The auction will be a feast for the eyes, packed with sterling and silver, vintage dolls, furniture, art, pottery, glassware and more. Previews will be held the week of auction, from 9 am to 4 pm, and on auction day from 7 am until the start of sale at 8. For those unable to attend in person, online bidding will be facilitated by the platforms LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com.
The four principal estates break out as follows:
• Furniture (some of it antique), china, more than 120 lots of silver, original artwork, lamps, Asian objects and more, consigned by the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, following the death of a longtime volunteer and supporter who bequeathed the items to the Symphony. Money realized from the sale of these items will benefit the Symphony.
• Asian furniture and objects, antique and vintage American furniture, Meerschaum pipes, Majolica, cloisonné, Limoges, 1930s-era china and a spectacular hand-built dollhouse from the living estate of David and Sayre Steere. Mr. Steere was the Commanding Officer of what was then the Coastal Systems Station and Navy Lab in Panama City from 1992 through 1995, as part of a storied 32-year Navy career that began in 1963 at age 17.
• The doll and doll accessory collection of Jean Seaman, all of which was handed down to her by her mother, who began collecting in the 1970s but loved older things in general and was drawn to dolls from the 1940s and earlier. And money was rarely an object. If she saw something she liked, she bought it. All the dolls are dressed in lovely clothing.
• The toy train collection of Leonard "Lucky" Ekman, a former Air Force fighter pilot who got a Lionel train set for Christmas in 1946 and a collection was born. All of the trains and related accessories are either Lionel or Marklin, the latter being the German maker so popular with collectors. Ekman was introduced to Marklin while in Germany in 1949.
A few items from the estate of the patron of the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra include a large wooden trunk, probably early 20th century, beautifully carved and very ornate, that was full of fine silver and other items that will be in the auction; gorgeous lamps, including a Moriage-style lamp, 35 inches tall and a cut crystal lamp; a Korg portable electric piano keyboard with bench; and an impressive limited-edition serigraph by Erte, titled Printemps.
The silver is worth expounding upon because it's so nice and there's so much of it. Included are coin silver and sterling silver sets and pieces, to include a 5-piece Canadian silver set by Savage Lyman Company, circa 1868-1879, with teaspoons and tablespoons;
David Steere's father was a post-World War II Navy captain, and while he was stationed in Japan he and his wife would go off together on shopping junkets. They acquired a taste for exotic and unusual Asian furniture pieces – like the hibachi (or "fire bowl"), an open-topped container used as a heating device. Steere has refinished it more than once. It will be up for bid in the sale.
Other pieces from the Steere estate include a screen / room divider, purchased in Okinawa; a teakwood coffee table with two matching end tables, deep-carved with a religious theme, bought in Taiwan in 1968, made by eight artisans working side-by-side while Steere watched (his cost: $65); and a Japanese woodblock triptych (artwork divided into three sections, for wall display).
There are two Meerschaum pipes – one each from Mr. and Mrs. Steere. One, purchased by Mrs. Steere in Turkey, has the classic design of an old man with a white beard, except his eyes are brown and his beard is streaked in brown, making him rather unusual. The other pipe, from a cousin's grandfather on Mr. Steere's side, is narrow and horizontal and has a graphic of a lady.
Mrs. Steere's grandfather was a doctor in Pennsylvania, and when a craftsman came to him with an ailment and couldn't pay his bill, around 1920, the good doctor accepted instead a gloriously hand-made doll house, 42 inches tall by 3 feet wide, with four rooms, an electrified attic (no longer functional), shoeboxes full of furniture added later, and other accessories.
Jean Seaman's mother got into doll collecting after Jean was grown and out of the house, mainly as a way to start a hobby, one that would remind her of her bucolic childhood in California and Iowa. She loved her dolls (which number more than 60). She'd trade with other doll collectors and go to the area flea markets and antique shops, but she kept no written record of what she had.
The Specialists of the South, Inc., is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, estate or collection, you may call them at (850) 785-2577, or you may e-mail them at email@example.com. To learn more, or to register for the February 17th auction, log on to either www.SpecialistsoftheSouth.com. Updates are posted often.