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Gorgeous six-drawer bird's-eye maple chest. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.

Specialists of the South to auction estate of oilman Gordon Atwater, Jan. 30

Gorgeous six-drawer bird's-eye maple chest. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.
Gorgeous six-drawer bird’s-eye maple chest. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – The estate of the late Gordon Ingham Atwater – the renowned petroleum pioneer who was an expert in oil and gas reserves in the United States and accurately predicted the first gas shortage prior to his death in 1973 at age 66 – will be held Saturday, Jan. 30, starting at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. Internet live bidding will be provided by LiveAuctioneers.com.

The 400-lot auction is being conducted in Panama City, not far from the upscale estate known as Osceola Lodge in nearby Lynn Haven, where Atwater and his wife, Emogene, lived from the early 1960s until their deaths.

For nearly 50 years, Osceola Lodge served as a showcase for the many wonderful furniture items and fine decorative accessories brought by the Atwaters from New Orleans – where Mr. Atwater cut his teeth as the city’s first consulting geologist, setting up his own business in 1945 – to Lynn Haven, where they fell in love with the area’s New Orleans-like environs. Osceola Lodge overlooks Anderson Bayou.

“It’s truly a privilege to be involved with this type of estate, one that’s so rich in history and local tradition,” said Logan Adams of Specialists of the South. “Mr. Atwater, his wife and family have all been forces in this community, enormously respected as people with taste and style. And their many possessions reflect that.”

The auction will feature beautiful period furniture items, to include a pair of fauteuil chairs with carved crests, a burl decorated slope-lid parlor desk, a set of six balloon chairs with cabriole legs, a walnut shelf-back sideboard with spool legs, a 5-shelf carved étagère, an “X”-style gout stool, and a diminutive circa-1840 Empire settee, 43 inches wide and in overall good condition.

Other furniture pieces include a walnut marble-top table with burl decoration, a 6-drawer bird’s eye maple chest, a gorgeous cane rocker, Hepplewhite-style sideboard, beautiful twin bed headboards, footboards and rails, a nice cedar chest, and a folding table with mother of pearl inlaid top. Also, an Empire sofa by the famous maker Francois Seignouret will be sold. Mr. Seignouret was a New Orleans furniture maker and wine merchant around 1808.

Decorative accessories include a Cybis porcelain figure collection, a ceramic jug with colorful corn design and cork base stopper, a George Washington glazed figure, carved soapstone bookends, a hand-painted Sevres Bavarian coffee pot marked “Marechal Niels” (signed A. Grenier), a Chinese vase with 3-dimensional flowers, a nice brass umbrella stand, French oyster plates (MR, France), a Haviland oyster plate, four hand-painted porcelain plates marked “Titanic Austria”, several detailed porcelain figures, a European bisque boat, and a cranberry cruet.

Additional decorative accessories will include early 20th century oak wall phones, Cambridge Statuesque glass, covered milk glass dishes (depicting a camel, swan, lion, horse and more), Hummels (to include Angel Serenade, Festival Harmony and Little Goat Herder), a collection of Boehm plates, a beautiful spool bed, Italian terra cotta figures, silver pieces (to include a large sterling bowl and plated meat platters), wood carvings, Oriental rugs (to include a colorful circa 1970 9′ x 12′ Sarouk, a 4′ x 6′ circa 1960 Jozaen, and a circa 1920 5′ x 7′ English rug), and a German wooden cuckoo clock with two birds to chirp the time.

Other decorative accessories include Irish Wade miniatures, Royal Worcester egg coddlers, 1854 Doulton Burslem dishes, Johnson Brothers Old Mill dishes, Copeland Mansard flower plates, a Haviland china dinner set, clear glass squirrel bookends, a folding fire screen with ormolu, sterling silver goblets, large and small bisque figures, a Steuben bowl, and a boxed carving set with stag horn handles. Also offered will be Eisenberg jewelry, a sable fur coat, a Gulbransen grand piano, and vintage books, to include children’s books such as a 1933 edition of Winnie the Pooh, with detailed black and white illustrations.

In the fine art category, anticipated top lots will include Italian carvings, such as a painted Madonna and Child figural work (signed M.K. Kaslatter), a lithograph of a countryside landscape, a kneeling nude bronze bookend (marked “J B 8036”), a framed still life or watercolor rendering of wine and fruit, and other notable works. Also offered will be a group of Native American and American Frontier art books.

Gordon Atwater was born in Milwaukee, Wis., but grew up in Iowa City, Iowa, where he went on to complete a Master’s degree in geology. He won the coveted Emmons Scholarship to Harvard, Yale and Columbia and actually worked on his Ph.D. at all three schools, finally completing it at the University of Wisconsin. He moved to New Orleans during Word War II to be part of the emerging gas and oil boom.

By the time he arrived in Florida, Atwater was already known worldwide for his advanced work in gas reserves and geology. His wife, the former Emogene Chapman, was also worldly and wise. But after their only child, Mimi, died of a brain aneurysm at age 29, the Atwaters made Osceola Lodge their haven. When Mrs. Atwater passed away in 1978, Osceola Lodge remained in the family.

Today, Osceola Lodge is the centerpiece of a gated community called Osceola Point. And true to what the Atwaters would have wanted, the area recalls City Park and Audubon Park in New Orleans. New homes are unmistakably Southern, and the streets have names like Rue Bocage and Rue Esplanade.

For additional information on any item in the Jan. 30 auction, call 850-785-2577 or e-mail specialists@knology.net. View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

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Click here to view Specialists of the South’s complete catalog.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Handsome folding fire screen with ormolu. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.
Handsome folding fire screen with ormolu. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.

More than 300 lots of period furniture, decorative accessories and fine art will cross the block Jan. 30. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.
More than 300 lots of period furniture, decorative accessories and fine art will cross the block Jan. 30. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.

Italian carved and painted Madonna and Child, marked M.K. Kaslatter. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.
Italian carved and painted Madonna and Child, marked M.K. Kaslatter. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.

Diminutive Empire settee, circa 1840, 43 inches wide and in overall good condition. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.
Diminutive Empire settee, circa 1840, 43 inches wide and in overall good condition. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.

One of a collection of Boehm bird plates. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.
One of a collection of Boehm bird plates. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.

Hummel figurines (l to r: Angel Serenade, Festival Harmony, Little Goat Herder). Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.
Hummel figurines (l to r: Angel Serenade, Festival Harmony, Little Goat Herder). Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.