Specialists of the South to auction couple’s lifetime collections Aug. 19

Crown Jewel pattern glass compote. The Specialists of the South Inc. image


PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. – The lifetime single-owner collections of Kenneth and Joan Cole – an array of items that includes Cambridge glass, more than 100 cake plates, crystal and cut glass compotes and hand-painted china – will be sold Saturday, Aug. 19, by The Specialists of the South Inc. Absentee and Internet bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

The collections also include fabrics and fine linens from different countries, teapots, sterling silver, dolls, cookbooks and needlepoint books and yarns. Also being sold is a cigar store Indian the couple acquired from the Indian Trader in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The life-size figure was carved by the late artisan Ralph Gallagher in the 1990s.

The couple gathered many of the items from around the world over several decades. Recently widowed, Joan Cole has decided to downsize.

“Collectors of Cambridge glass in the Wildflower pattern will think they’ve died and gone to heaven,” Mrs. Cole remarked about her collection numbering in the dozens of pieces. “It all started years ago, when a neighbor of mine, an elderly woman in her 80s, sold me her collection of stemware, iced tea glasses and other pieces. I just fell in love with the Wildflower pattern.”


Cambridge Wildflower gold-encrusted black vase. The Specialists of the South Inc. image


A few highlight pieces will include a black gold-encrusted footed vase; some impressive candle holders, a lovely epergne with gold trim, a cocktail shaker with ground stopper, and several sets of candelabra.


Cambridge Wildflower pair of dolphin candlesticks. The Specialists of the South Inc. image


The Coles’ Cambridge Wildflower collection contains a broad range of pieces, from miniature to large. They include small covered butter dishes, Ball and Doulton-style pitchers, a “flip-flower” vase (a 12-inch-tall graduated vase nearly 8 inches in diameter at the top), and three footed vases, ranging in size from 10 ¾ inches to 13 inches tall (one is 12 inches, with a keyhole stem).

Along the way, Joan acquired another woman’s collection that featured cordial glasses, tumblers and more. Then, an opportunity presented itself in Ohio (where Cambridge glass was made) to buy from a dealer some candlesticks, bowls and vases. Many of the compotes and cake plates are desirable Early American Pattern Glass.


Tree of Life with Hand compote. The Specialists of the South Inc. image


Her cake plate collection includes examples from Fostoria and Sandwich (Massachusetts).

The crystal and cut glass compotes boast beautiful standards and gorgeous shaped bowls. The collection includes two Crown Jewel (aka Chandelier, circa 1888) examples. The teapots include one by Delft (Holland) and two by Hall (Ohio).

Sterling silver will include an exquisite and massive six-arm candelabra.


Pair of Fisher sterling convertible candelabras. The Specialists of the South Inc. image


Kenneth Cole was a University of Chicago Graduate School of Business MBA, who flew  combat missions in Vietnam as a Huey helicopter pilot. Items from his time spent in the military will be part of the auction including a veritable library of military books and novels pertaining to the Civil War, World War II and Vietnam and West Point.

Also going up for bids will be Mr. Cole’s collection of shot, spirit and beer glasses, some old and embossed, with the name of the liquor or distillery etched into the glass. Two of the glasses, one of them etched and one embossed, are from the Grand Army of the Republic. Some glasses were purchased directly from Barbara Edmondson, author of the books Historic Shot Glasses (1988) and Old Advertising Spirit Glasses (1992).

For details contact The Specialists of the South Inc. at 850-785-2577 or email contact@sospcfl.com. The auction, to begin at 8 a.m. Central time.