Published: June 9, 2020
Review by Greg Smith, Catalog Photos Courtesy Wooten & Wooten Auctioneers
CAMDEN, S.C. – The city of Camden made national headlines last week when its police officers joined protestors marching in the name of George Floyd and against the United States’ long history of systemic racism. Amid the demonstrations and over on Broad Street was Wooten & Wooten Auctioneers, which moved forward with its scheduled May 30 sale of Spring Estates offering just shy of 400 lots.
The top two lots of the auction were made in Edgefield, S.C., by African American slaves in the second half of the Nineteenth Century.
Auctioneer Jeremy Wooten said he had about 15 consignors to the sale, among them was John “Jack” C. West Jr, the son of John Carl West, former South Carolina Governor (1971-1975) and ambassador to Saudi Arabia (1977-1981).
Wooten said that the sale was phone and online-bidding only, and it worked out well for the auction. Wooten said, “We were thrilled with the results, totally thrilled.”
Edgefield pottery remains hot as of late. The sale’s leader was found within the $30,000 result on a 14½-inch-tall two-handled jar by Dave. It featured olive glaze runs and was dated October 28, 1852, a 2-inch-long chip to the underside of the lip its only defect. The jug came from a Carolina collection and Wooten had handled it privately in the past. He plans to offer more Dave pieces from this collection. It sold to a New York City buyer.
Behind at $22,800 was a 4-7/8-inch-tall face jug circa 1870. It features kaolin mouth and eyes, one eye with a glaze skip. Wooten said that this was a North Carolina buyer’s first face jug, and they were thrilled to have it. “It’s a good honest piece. It had a real good look to it,” the auctioneer said.
At a more affordable price point, though equally remarkable in their imagery, were four offerings from the Catawba Indian potters of York, S.C. They came from the collection of Thomas J. Blumer, who wrote two books on the pottery: Catawba Indian Pottery (2004) and Catawba Nation: Treasures of History (2007). The leader was an 8½-inch-tall flared vase with two protruding Chief heads that took $875. Blumer purchased it from Georgia Harris, the granddaughter of Martha Jane Harris, to whom the vessel is attributed. Behind at $813 was a tri-footed bowl with two chief heads. It came with a backstory that it was traded by a young Catawba woman in the early Twentieth Century so that she could get her uniform for the Girls College of Winthrop University.
Items from the West estate were led by a $5,750 coffee table by Philip and Kelvin LaVerne in acid-etched bronze with a Chinese palace design to the top on a rectangular base. An antique black-painted yellow pine joggling board sold for $3,625 on a $600 high estimate to a Georgia collector. The board measured 9 feet long. “We’ve never seen one do that kind of money, that’s a lot for a joggling board,” Wooten said, “I think the size was uncommon.” A 12-person porcelain service of teacups, saucers and dinner plates featuring an eagle seal sold for $2,375. Wooten believed it was likely used for diplomatic serving and entertainment.
A circa 1860 Civil War-period forged bowie knife with a hand hewn black walnut handle and original sheath sold for $2,125. Wooten said it was likely from South Carolina and it had passed down in the consignor’s family for over a century. He said the form was similar to a Confederate artillery sword.
The firm’s next sale is scheduled for July 25 and Wooten said among the offerings will be memorabilia from the landmark Columbia, S.C., restaurant Yesterdays, which closed a few months ago.
For additional information, www.wootenandwooten.com or 866-570-0144.
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