Auction Report: Gettysburg Cannon Tops Dancy-Polk House Auction

This authentic Civil War cannon, fired by Union troops at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, topped the Dancy-Polk auction with $86,250.

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 on-site sale of the contents of the Dancy-Polk House Inn on Oct. 12.

The Dancy-Polk House Inn, constructed in 1829, is one of only four buildings in Decatur to survive the Civil War. About 500 lots came up for bid at the historic residence.

The auction was co-held by Stevens Auction Company, with help from Empire Auction Gallery.

“It was also one of the largest crowds for an outside event we’ve had,” said Dwight Stevens of Stevens Auction Company, adding that close to 700 people attended the sale in person. Phone and absentee bidding were also heavy, according to Stevens.

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 six-pounder models utilized by the Union Army at Gettysburg in 1863, was last fired in 1947.

A drum used to lead Confederate troops into battle at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863 sold for $9,200.

Other Civil War items included a Confederate drum, 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); a wood canteen with “P. Schneider C&C 5th Reg.” emblazoned 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).

Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium:

• The runner-up for top lot of the sale was a spectacular Empire banquet table, made circa 1890 and signed by renowned 19th century furniture maker R. J. Horner, which passed hands for $19,550. The table had acanthus-carved claw feet with six skirted leaves;
• A set of twelve mahogany Chippendale chairs, all circa 1910, went for $7,590;
• An elegant 1935 Chrysler Airstream four-door sedan, with a new set of tires and new 12-volt electrical system, sped off for $16,675;
• A circa-1930s mahogany Steinway piano with stool, in excellent condition, rose to $10,350;

A Rosewood rococo laminated sofa, circa 1855, similar to one in the Arnot Art Museum sold for $4,830.

• A monumental rococo mahogany rosewood half-tester plantation bed from around 1850 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;
• A period rosewood rococo half commode with A. Roux label, circa 1855, fetched $1,610;
• A flame mahogany Empire Gothic breakfront with four wine drawers, made circa 1840 sold for $4,255, and a period Empire breakfront with original crest and rippled molding, also crafted around 1840 gaveled $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 to a determined bidder for $4,830; and an oversize two-drawer period Empire mint julep cabinet with black and gold marble, made circa 1840, coasted to $3,335;

A 1935 Chrysler Airstream 4-door sedan, all original, with new tires and 12-volt system, passed hands for $16,675.

• A large-sized pine primitive cobbler’s bench, pegged together circa 1880, hammered for $3,680, and a rare double mammie’s bench from around 1840, with original stenciling, sold for $1,610;
• An enormous, heavily carved walnut Victorian hall tree with mirror, with white marble top and caved deer head at the peak, made circa 1860 by Mitchell & Rammelsberg and with the original finish, hit $17,250, and a massive pair of rosewood Victorian gold gilt parlor mirrors from around 1860 hammered for $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); a pair of circa 1880 Old Paris vases, dark blue with roses and with heavy gold decoration ($1,840) and a pair of pink circa 1880 Old Paris vases with parin figures ($1,265).

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