Kelley family living estate will be sold on Oct. 29

Special to The Sun
Full-figure bronze sculpture of Napoleon by Ernst L. Kirchner (German, 1880-1938). SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The living estate of Terry and Karen Kelley is an astounding trove of old and rare books (many of them first-editions and/or author-signed), glass and ceramics by many of the top manufacturers, original artwork, furniture and collectibles, even to include a scarf that Elvis Presley gave to Karen Kelley when he pulled in for gas at the filling station she managed in the 1970s while a nursing student living in Plant City, Florida.

The wide array of categories will come up for bid at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at The Specialists of the South, 544 East 6th Street in Panama City. All of the estimated 500-plus lots will comprise the Kelley estate, with no additions. A wonderful selection of tools and large tool chests will be auctioned (on the ground only) at 7 a.m., prior to the live and internet auction. Internet bidding will be provided by and

Most of the items were gathered over the years by Karen Kelley, a former registered nurse and pediatric nurse who is also an accomplished writer, poet and songwriter. Other celebrities who she's crossed paths with include Merle Haggard, Kim Carnes, Jerry Reed, Lee Greenwood and the group Bandana, performers she met at outdoor concerts where she had a ringside seat as an attending nurse in case of accident or illness. She got signed photos from some of them, and these will be sold as well. Poor health is forcing her to part now with her many treasures.

An avid reader, Kelley is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers of America. She also traveled with John Stark of the Ohio Booksellers and was personally given many books in her collection by Van Allen Bradley, the former book editor of the Chicago Tribune. Many of her books are signed, numbered and “tipped in” — with the author's signature or artwork inserted into the book. A copy of John Steinbeck's book "The Moon is Down", for example, with Steinbeck's signature tipped in will be included in the auction.

The book that's expected to fetch the most is a signed copy (No. 45 of 95) of Kahlil Gibran's "Sand & Foam." Gibran was the noted Lebanese-American artist, poet and writer of the New York Pen League, best known for the book The Prophet. Sand & Foam is expected to sell for $2,000 or more. Also offered will be copies of many of the books that Mark Twain authored.

The first Girl Scout book written, Juliet Low's "How Girls Can Help Their Country," written in 1917, will cross the auction block, as will a Boy Scout handbook published in 1938.

Lavishly illustrated books by the American ornithologist John J. Audubon are always a hit with collectors. Other books will include Harold Berman's three-volume set from 1800-1830 titled Bronzes; the second McGuffey Reader from 1844, in a buckram wrapper; Birth & Triumph of Cupid, from papers cut by Lady Dashwood in Her Majesty's Collection (Elizabeth, Princess of Great Britain, published in 1775); 62 Tauchnitz hardbound editions (not paperbacks, but made for the masses), including German and British authors; and more than 70 of the 100 Greatest Works from the Franklin Library, plus first-editions, signed limited-editions and Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, from the Franklin Library.

It's also important to note that the sale will also include books about book collecting, and books about photography to go with a selection of cameras that will also be featured. One other lot is a carved solid mahogany set of lion bookends by E. Kopriwa of Chicago.

In addition, glass lots, ceramics, metal lots, artwork and collectibles will be plentiful.

Previews will be held the week prior to auction, from 9-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. at The Specialists of the South gallery, and from 7 a.m. on auction day until the first gavel falls at 8 a.m.

To learn more, or to register for the auction, log on to either or Updates are posted often.