THE ESTATE OF THE LATE VIRGINIA SYKES OF ABERDEEN, MISS., WILL BE SOLD AT ABSOLUTE AUCTION ON SATURDAY, MARCH 27th, BY STEVENS AUCTION COMPANY

(ABERDEEN, Miss.) – The estate of the late Virginia Sykes, a longtime resident of Aberdeen, Miss., will be sold at an on-site auction on Saturday, Mar. 27, beginning at 10 a.m., by Stevens Auction Company, based in Aberdeen. The absolute auction (everything goes, regardless of price) will be held at 301 High Street in Aberdeen, located about 35 miles southeast of Tupelo, Miss., on U.S. Route 45.

“Mrs. Sykes’ story is one of history, romance, dedication and Southern grace, all of which can be seen through the wonderful collection of antiques and fine items she gained over nearly 70 years in Aberdeen,” said Dwight Stevens of Stevens Auction Company. He said a preview of the items would be held on Friday, Mar. 26, from 10-6, and that doors to the auction would open on Saturday at 8 a.m.

Furniture items will include a Regency-style bracket foot mahogany china cabinet with 13 pane doors, while clock aficionados will be intrigued by a circa-1780 crotch mahogany Scottish grandfather clock by John Munro (Glasgow, Scotland), hand-painted on the face with a scene of an Irish clan. Also certain to get paddles wagging is a fine gold Victorian 2-piece marble-top pier mirror, made circa 1850.

Decorative accessories will be served up in abundance. Examples include a Tiffany & Co. hand-engraved, sterling silver rectangular double vegetable dish, 46.6 troy ounces; a brass 4-light gasolier with four etched satin glass shades and prisms, 40 inches tall; and a Gorham helmet-shaped sterling silver heavy tea service with four seasons masks and lion, and shield finials (coffee, tea, cream, sugar).

Also sold will be a Victorian Italian center bowl with hand-painted and embossed flowers with bronze mounts, 12 ½ inches in diameter; a round sterling footed fruit bowl (London, 1899), hand chased, 8 inches by .75 inches and weighing 16.2 troy ounces; and a sterling silver cake server set (knife and fork), still in the original presentation box and made circa 1851 by Black Ball & Company.

Paper and coin money will also cross the block, to include a Series 1929 ten-dollar bill, on The First National Bank of Aberdeen, signed by Eugene L. Sykes, Mrs. Sykes’ late husband; and numerous solid gold Krugerrand coins from the 1980s in fabulous condition.

Mrs. Sykes was a true Southern lady – independent, warm, gracious and perpetually kind. She was the daughter of a banker from Camden, Tenn., and she skipped a college education to start her own trucking business right out of high school. Her firm hauled chert for Southern companies. In the spring of 1942, while in Aberdeen on business, she met Eugene L. Sykes, Jr., and it was love at first sight.

By the summer of that year, the two were married and Mrs. Sykes became very active in the Aberdeen community. She also assisted in her husband’s varied business interests, helping him manage Sykes Plantation just outside of town and the Sykes Commission Company, a farm supply business. Mr. Sykes also sat on the Board of Directors of his father’s bank, The First National Bank of Aberdeen.

Mr. And Mrs. Sykes made their home at the Old Homestead on Main Street in Aberdeen until his death in 1961. Mrs. Sykes remained at the Old Homestead, caring for her father-in-law until his passing in 1965. Looking to downsize after that, she found Dunlee, a gorgeous antebellum cottage (and site of the March 27 auction). She continued to live at Dunlee until her recent death at the end of 2009.

Many images of the items to be sold in the auction can be viewed on the Stevens Auction website, at www.stevensauction.com. Updates are posted frequently. For additional information, or to request a brochure, you may call Stevens Auction at (662) 369-2200, or you can send them an e-mail at [email protected] Also, reserved seating and phone bids are welcome, if done in advance.

Refreshments will be available on the day of the auction. There are no minimums and no reserves, as this is an absolute auction. Terms are cash, major credit cards and pre-approved check. All sales are final. A 12 percent buyer’s premium will be charged on the total purchase price, with a 2 percent discount for cash. Business and personal checks are accepted with proper ID, or wire transfer.

Stevens Auction Company has another spectacular on-site auction planned for Saturday, May 1, at 9:30 a.m. Offered will be the contents of Bella Vida, one of Aberdeen’s most historic homes, built in 1879 and situated on 1.87 acres. The property is completely fenced in, with a tall brick fence and a picket fence in front. The gates are ornamental wrought iron from the 1830s, with phoenixes on them.

Bella Vida is one of only a few Second Empire homes remaining in Mississippi. It stands as a testimony to Aberdeen’s burgeoning prosperity in the post-Reconstruction period, and one of the jewels in the town’s crown of historic older homes. Bella Vida was originally built by Joseph Eckford, who sold it in the 1880s to State Senator George Leftwich, who lived there with his family for many years.

Bella Vida has been restored befitting the architectural treasure that it is. The building reigns again as the Queen of Aberdeen’s “Silk Stocking Row” (Franklin Street), and it has been featured in many publications. Bella Vida – a 2 ½-story frame structure with a striking 3 ½-story tower – is itself for sale, not just its contents. Interested parties may call Dwight Stevens directly, at (662) 369-2200.

Stevens Auction Company is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, estate or collection, you may call them directly, at (662) 369-2200, or you can e-mail them at [email protected] To learn more about Stevens Auction Company and the upcoming sales slated for March 27th and May 1st, you may log on to www.stevensauction.com.

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