Case’s Jan. 26 Auction Features Big Collections of Smalls

December 26, 2012 in Editorials

Good things come in small packages. That was a philosophy shared by two collectors whose estates make up a significant portion of the Winter Case Antiques Auction, set for Saturday, Jan. 26 at the company’s gallery in Knoxville. The two estates yielded treasure troves of Meissen, English Pearlware, and Staffordshire including rare figures like Samson and The Lion and The Pugilists; cast iron toys and banks including Uncle Sam and William Tell; German and French dolls such as Bru and Jumeau; holiday collectibles including Halloween candy containers, antique Christmas ornaments and rare colored glass Christmas lanterns, and primitives such as tinware molds, glass flasks, and cobalt decorated stoneware. Many will be offered in multiple-item lots. The 700+ lot sale also features several fine American and European paintings, Civil War material, Southern furniture and pottery, Asian antiques, silver, jewelry, samplers and quilts.

Leading the fine art is an oil-on-canvas Paris streetscape by prominent French painter Edouard Cortes (1882-1969), deaccessioned from the Knoxville Museum of Art. Cheekwood Museum of Art in Nashville is selling an early 20th century portrait of a woman, attributed to the Provincetown, Massachusetts school. Two other highly anticipated artworks are the only known self-portrait by Joseph Delaney (Tennessee/New York 1904-1991), and a pastoral landscape with sheep by J.W. Wallace (Tennessee, 1852-1921).

“This is the first Wallace painting that has ever surfaced at auction, but he played an important role in the Tennessee art scene at the turn of the 20th century,” said company president John Case. “In fact, he exhibited no fewer than 16 original works at the all-important 1910 Appalachian Exposition of Fine Art in Knoxville.”

Other Tennessee related artworks include a titled watercolor of the Chimneys in the Smoky Mountains by Charles Krutch, an autumn landscape by Louis Jones, founder of the Cliff Dwellers Studio in Gatlinburg; an abstract by Philip Perkins, a cubist painter who divided his time between Nashville and Europe; a surrealist grisaille painting by Werner Wildner; and portraits of 19th century congressman Charles Ready of Murfreesboro and his wife Martha, by painter Sara Ward Conley.

There is also a 19th century painting of Fort Macomb, Louisiana by George Coulon, a rare genre scene by Southern painter Nicola Marschall (1829-1917), and a painting of the inauguration of Jefferson Davis as president of the Confederate States of America, which once hung in the Montgomery Museum of Art. A still life by Ukranian/Polish artist Sonia Lewitska (1882-1937), a Western landscape by Frederick Schafer (1839-1927), and a painting of a bear surprising two campers by illustration artist Hy Hintermeister are also expected to draw interest, as are several examples of British dog and sporting art.

The historical and Civil War category is especially strong. Featured is a rare “wanted” flyer for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, offering a $2,000 reward for their part in a 1900 Nevada bank robbery, as well as a collection of other “wanted” posters from a Tennessee sheriff’s scrapbook. There is also a cache of 270 ballots from the 1864 Presidential election from Civil War soldiers voting in the field. A variety of ballot designs are represented, the majority for the Lincoln-Johnson ticket as well as the McClellan-Pendleton ticket. A scarce model 1855 Harper’s Ferry Rifle with Maynard priming device and 1860 lockplate will be offered, along with Ames staff swords, one of which descended through the family of Captain William Geary of Pennsylvania. Two Civil War ambrotypes of Confederate soldier F.M. Sconyers of the 59th Alabama Infantry Regiment plus a note with folk art drawing by him are being offered, as is a Confederate surgeon’s uniform star insignia, Mississippi infantry uniform buttons and a rare Confederate Bible published in Nashville and found in Kentucky at the Mill Springs battle site. There are several Kurz and Allison prints of Tennessee battles and images of Robert E. Lee – one supposedly painted on tent canvas during the war.

The furniture category is led by a walnut broken-arch pediment corner cupboard with ivory inlay that descended in the Nickels family of Scott County, Virginia and a rare turkey-breast style corner cupboard. There are also some pieces from the personal collection of Nathan Harsh, co-author of The Art and Mystery of Tennessee Furniture, including a cherry wardrobe found in Springfield, Tennessee, and a pair of Kentucky banquet table ends in original surface. Two sugar chests, an Ohio or Kentucky tall case clock, a Classical mahogany secretary and dressing table, and a blanket chest with original paint decoration will also cross the block.

The catalog includes numerous lots of silver, including a coin silver water pitcher by Grosjean & Woodward, retailed in Charleston, SC, and a Kentucky coin silver cup made by Garner and Winchester of Lexington. Also featured is are English pieces by female silversmiths such as Hester Bateman and Elizabeth Morley, as well as a set of 12 sterling knives made by Mary Chawner for Queen Adelaide of England in 1837, bearing her royal monogram. There are numerous American flatware sets by Tiffany, Gorham and Whiting. Sterling goblets, a George III sterling cake basket, and a 134 oz Peruvian silver tea/coffee set will also be sold.

Pottery highlights include an East Tennessee stoneware jar with cobalt flower decoration attributed to Charles Decker of the Keystone Pottery, Washington County; a Michael and Melvin Crocker rattlesnake jug; an M.W. Owen North Carolina salt glazed jug, and a pottery pitcher inscribed “Daphne, Alabama”. The category also features a late 19th century Zia redware pottery olla with polychrome geometric, floral and bird decoration, a San Ildefonso blackware bowl by Maria Martinez, and Cherokee pottery including a vessel by Maude Welch.

An important Philadelphia school sampler, circa 1800, depicting figures in plumed hats, leads a collection of schoolgirl needlework that also includes a sampler by the niece of cotton gin inventor Eli Whitney and a Connecticut linsey-woolsey sampler. There is also a rare landscape theorem on velvet made by Minerva French Boyd of Wytheville, Va., while a student at the Moravian College in Winston-Salem, N.C. and several Tennessee quilts. Other interesting lots in the sale include a collection of Chinese snuff bottles and porcelain, a collection of perfume bottles, glass by Lalique, Tiffany, Orrefors and Waterford, fine jewelry and signed designer costume jewelry, and a half-dozen fine antique Oriental rugs.

The auction takes place at Case’s gallery in the historic Cherokee Mills Building, 2240 Sutherland Avenue in Knoxville, on Saturday, January 26 at 9:30 AM. Online, absentee and phone bids will also be accepted. A preview will take place on Friday, January 25, from noon to 6PM EST or by appointment. The catalog for the auction, with full descriptions, price estimates, and photographs for items in the order in which they will be sold can be viewed online at For more information, call the gallery in Knoxville at (865) 558-3033 or the company’s Nashville office at (615) 812-6096 or email