Presidents Day comes early at Case Antiques’ Jan. 27 auction


A 1789 book from the personal library of George Washington, with his signature and bookplate, from a collection of historic ephemera formerly owned by U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall (1755-1835). Estimate: $28,000-$32,000. Case Antiques Inc. image

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Letters and books from the libraries of President George Washington and his early biographer and friend, U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall (1755-1835), are among the most anticipated lots in the Winter Case Antiques Auction, set for Jan. 27. Other presidential related items are also for sale, along with American and European paintings and sculpture, Southern antiques, silver and jewelry – nearly 900 lots in all. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

The majority of the presidential items come from the Tennessee estate of a direct Marshall descendant, Charles Coleman, whose family also passed down items related to Gen. Henry Dearborn (Secretary of War under Thomas Jefferson), Revolutionary War Gen. Elias Dayton, and two Civil War officers. Leading the Washington material is George Washington’s personal copy of the Massachusetts Magazine, published by printer and patriot Isaiah Thomas in 1789, containing an account of his inauguration as the first president of the United States, along with an article titled Memoirs of General Washington. The leather-bound book contains Washington’s coat-of-arms-engraved bookplate inside the front cover and his signature on the top of the title page, with an additional inscription from Mary Ambler Marshall (granddaughter of Justice Marshall) to her grandson.

Marshall and Washington’s lifelong friendship was forged during their Revolutionary War service at battles including Brandywine and Monmouth. Marshall would go on to write one of the earliest biographies of Washington (a copy of which is also included in the auction, with Marshall’s autograph).

Other highlights include a 1799 letter from Washington to Marshall congratulating him on his first election to a federal office, and a portrait of Marshall attributed to William James Hubard. There is also a silver sauceboat engraved with the Bassett coat of arms, believed to have been given to Marshall by Washington. It is believed to have belonged to Fanny Bassett, Martha Washington’s niece, who lived at Mount Vernon but died young.


This silver sauceboat, given to John Marshall by George Washington, is engraved with the Bassett coat of arms and is believed to have belonged to Fanny Bassett, Martha Washington’s niece, who lived at Mount Vernon. The lot includes a fragment of Washington’s coat. Estimate: $800-$1,200. Case Antiques Inc. image

Lots from Coleman’s estate also include Civil War related items from ancestors who fought on both sides, such as an Instruction for Heavy Artillery handbook and archive of items owned by Lt. Col. Lewis Minor Coleman, CSA 1st Virginia Artillery; and Civil War period photographs from Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge from Charles H. Boyd, who served as captain of the Topographical Engineers under Union Gen. George H. Thomas. A Civil War-era flag believed to have been owned by Capt. Boyd will also be offered.
An oil portrait of President Franklin Pierce attributed to Tennessee artist Samuel Shaver will be sold, along with a number of maps, among them A New Map of Georgia by Emanuel Bowen, London, 1748; a map of Kentucky by J. Russell, 1794; and A New Map of the Cherokee Nation, uncut from the London Magazine, 1760.
Civil War buffs will find two Robert E. Lee signed letters (as president of Washington College); a Civil War era album with 15 Union Army and Navy officers and soldiers; Civil War archives related to the Francis Burton Craige family of North Carolina and the Huggins and Medders families of Tennessee, CDVs of slave children from Union-occupied New Orleans, and a hand-drawn Civil War railroad map of West Tennessee.

Sporting art is another key category in the auction. Leading it is the only known life portrait of the legendary American stallion Bonnie Scotland and Robert Green, a freed slave who became the head groom of Tennessee’s renowned horse breeding farm, Belle Meade. Numerous champion thoroughbreds can trace their bloodlines to Bonnie Scotland, including Man O’ War, War Admiral, Secretariat and even recent winners like California Chrome. Death cut short the promising career of the artist, H.S. Kittredge. He died at 28—just two years after the painting was completed—but his obituary in Wallace’s Monthly compared him to the important animal artist Rosa Bonheur.


Portrait of thoroughbred Bonnie Scotland with Bob Green, the chief groom at the renowned horse farm Belle Meade, circa 1879. Estimate: $36,000-$40,000. Case Antiques Inc. image

The auction also includes a painting of another Belle Meade horse, Springfield, by Thomas Scott, a scene of greyhounds at exercise by Irish painter William Conor, and a large oil of kittens by animal artist Charles Kahler.


Mixed media painting of greyhounds at exercise by Irish artist William Conor (1888-1961). Estimate: $18,000-22,000. Case Antiques Inc. image

Other art in the sale includes landscapes by Clifford Ashley, Walter Emerson Baum, George Smillie, Paul Lauritz, Andre Vignolies, Thomas Campbell, Paulina Komolova, David York, John Chumley and Krusen Van Elten, and portraits attributed to William Frye, John Wesley Jarvis and Sarah Peale. Mid 20th century art includes two abstracts by Beauford Delaney, a Picasso signed “Vallauris” ceramics exhibition poster and a Picasso “Visage” ceramic plate and two  Alexander Calder signed lithographs.


Jewelry features a 3.13- carat diamond ring with GIA certification. Estimate: $24,000-$28,000. Case Antiques Inc. image

Also worth noting is a circa 1810 gold and shell cameo parure with tiara, which descended in the Harrod family of New Orleans; an 18K gold mesh purse; a 14K white gold and platinum presentation compact with President Eisenhower replica signature, and vintage timepieces by Rolex and Chopard.

For more information call the gallery in Knoxville at 865-558-3033 or Case’s Nashville office at 615-812-6096 or email