Auction Report: Hot Deals Realized at Sizzling Mississippi Mansion Sale

The top lot of the sale at the Belle Oaks mansion in Macon, Miss., was this beautiful 4-piece parlor suite by J.H. Belter, circa 1855 ($11,550).

The top lot of the sale at the Belle Oaks mansion in Macon, Miss., was this beautiful 4-piece parlor suite by J.H. Belter, circa 1855 ($11,550).

MACON, Miss. – A beautiful four-piece parlor suite by the 19th-century New York furniture maker John Henry Belter, in the Rosalie with Grapes pattern, sold for $11,550 at an on-site auction at Belle Oaks, one of the most prominent old antebellum homes in Mississippi.

All the contents of the grand old mansion were sold on the premises, under large tents. People from all over the South—and beyond—braved the pounding Mississippi sun for a chance to own some fine quality antiques.

“It was a real hot day out there, but the people came to buy and they definitely went home happy,” said Dwight Stevens of Stevens Auction Company, which ran the Aug. 1 auction. “Quality antiques will always be a great investment—no matter what.”

The beautiful Belle Oaks antebellum home in Macon, Miss., is listed for sale at a reasonable $295,000.

The beautiful Belle Oaks antebellum home in Macon, Miss., is listed for sale at a reasonable $295,000.

Belle Oaks was built in 1844 for Judge Hampton Lee Jarnigan in Macon—located 30 miles south of Columbus, Miss. Subsequent owners included Zach Brooks, a successful oil and cattleman who also became one of the largest landowners in the region. The home now belongs to Gene Penick, who consigned its contents for sale. Items included fine period furniture, original artwork, rugs, lighting, china, cut glass, antique guns, collectibles and more.

The Belter parlor suite, crafted around 1855 and comprising a settee, two armless chairs and an armchair, was the top lot of the auction. Some 300 people were present to bid on approximately 550 lots. There was no online bidding component, but phone bidding was active (especially for the bigger furniture pieces and artwork) and some left bids were submitted, too (on about 80 pieces of cut glass).

Following are additional highlights of the sale (all prices quoted include a 10 percent buyer’s premium):

Rosewood queen-size half tester plantation bed signed by C. Lee.

Rosewood queen-size half tester plantation bed signed by C. Lee.

• The only other lot to top the $10,000 mark was a monumental rosewood half tester plantation bed signed by C. Lee, queen size (circa 1855), selling for $10,450. Also, a set of 12 mahogany Chippendale chairs (two arms, ball and claw feet) realized $605 each (or $7,260 for the set); and a very rare flamed mahogany Empire baby cradle (circa 1845) made $2,420.

• A mahogany three-seater Chippendale settee with original needlepoint seat and claw feet (circa 1860) climbed to $1,980; a high-style bronzed Aragon lamp with original shades (circa 1840, by J. & I. Cox of New York City) went for $2,420; and a period Empire pier table with marble columns, bronze trim and marble top (circa 1830, New York) changed hands for $3,080.

• Dozens of pieces of beautiful cut glass—some of it offered in multiples and a good bit of it the American Brilliant Cut Glass (ABCG) so coveted by collectors—came under the gavel. One piece of note was an ABCG bowl, signed in the Hawkes pattern (10 inches wide), brought $412. An unusual lot that piqued the interest of bidders was an antique harp in need of restoration. It topped out at $1,980.

• A gorgeous high-back Renaissance Revival bed with a lady’s head in the crown (circa 1870) found a new owner for $3,300; a pair of blue Old Paris-style mantle vases topped out at $1,100 each; a pair of Victorian bronze gas wall sconces (circa 1870) fetched $522 each; and a spectacular 89-piece set of Old Paris china hammered for $2,860.

Original 19th-century oil on canvas painting of Madonna and Child with original gold frame.

Original 19th-century oil on canvas painting of Madonna and Child with original gold frame.

• Original works of art did very well. An oil on canvas portrait of a Victorian family in the original frame garnered $6,160; a 19th-century oil on canvas painting of Madonna and Child with the original gold frame went for $2,200; an oil on canvas Dutch farm and figural scene (circa 1840), signed Laren, hit $2,090; and an oval oil on canvas painting of a child and his dog in an ornate gilt frame made $1,760.

• Beds and bedroom suites seem to be a staple at most Stevens auctions, and this one was no exception. A handsome rosewood half tester plantation bed, signed C. Lee and crafted around 1855 (queen size) coasted to $7,700, while a walnut high-back Victorian full-size bed, lovingly crafted around 1860 went to a determined bidder for $2,200.

The Belle Oakes mansion itself was not part of the auction, but Penick, its owner, has listed the property for sale at a very reasonable asking price of $295,000. The 5,500-square-foot mansion sits on about three acres of manicured grounds. It was built on a grand scale, with 14-foot ceilings, 20-foot square rooms and an unusual stairway that dominates the entrance hall. Interested parties may contact Southern Realty & Management Company, at 662-369-7061, or Stevens, at 662-369-5257.

Stevens Auction Company’s next big sale will be another on-site affair, this one scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 15, at 104 Pinecrest Drive in Union, Miss. The auction will start promptly at 10 a.m. There will be an open house preview Friday, Aug. 14, from 10-7, and on Aug. 15, from 8-10 a.m.

For more information about this or other upcoming sales, call Stevens Auction Company at (662) 369-2200, or you can e-mail them at stevensauction@bellsouth.net.

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