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 auction from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 17 by The Specialists of the South Inc. online and in the firm’s Panama City gallery at 544 East 6th Street at 8 a.m.
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 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on auction day from 7 a.m. 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. David 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 a German maker that is 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 collection includes silver and sterling silver coin sets and pieces, to include a 5-piece Canadian silver set by Savage Lyman Company, circa 1868-1879, with teaspoons and tablespoons and some souvenir spoons.
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).
Not all the furniture is Asian. Also up for bid will be a redwood burl coffee table hand-made by genuine hippies in a California commune around 1973, with a unique design and a beautiful polyurethane finish; and 19th century antique dark wood commode, very probably made from oak, round in design and purchased by Mrs. Steere’s mother while she was living in Maryland.
Also from Mrs. Steere is a Limoges china dinner service for 12, originally purchased in Egypt by her great grandmother in the 1880s; a Majolica pitcher with bird’s nest design, from her mother, probably original, dating to the 19th century; two blue cloisonné vases, bought by her mother in China in the 1960s; a post-1925 set of English china, red and white, with six plates, a compote, a pitcher and a jar with lid, in the Dianthus pattern; a mink coat; quilts; a kimono; a temple rubbing; and a pair of coverlets (or blankets).
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.
As a result, Jean can’t recite each doll’s history or maker, but The Specialists of the South has done some research and determined the dolls are pre-1940 for the most part, some are German-made and they can all be graded in good to very good condition. The accessories include a doll house made out of fiberboard, dollhouse furniture and a doll buggy. Interestingly enough, some of the furniture pieces were hand-crafted by an inmate at a correctional facility in Maine.
Nearly every piece in the Lionel and Marklin toy train collection of Leonard “Lucky” Ekman is vintage the 1940s and ‘50s. For both makers, there are train cars and engines, loads of track and related accessories, to include a remarkable group of built-to-scale buildings modeled after the complex his father was assigned to when he was a post quartermaster in Germany in the 1950s.
The Lionel collection features three vintage style cars reminiscent of the 1880’s; a locomotive with engine motor and drive wheels, plus locomotive housing; a coal car; a dairy car; some other specialized cars; a transformer; and track. The Marklin group will include an electric crane; two expensive engines, in the original fitted boxes, both of them electric; several cars; and track.