Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information


March 1 event was held jointly by Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales and Iron Horse Auction Co.

(Concord, N.C.) – A dramatic and sweeping oil-on-canvas rendering of the Grand Canal in Venice under a watchful full moon by Elliott Daingerfield (American, 1859-1932) soared to $83,950 at a March 1 sale of the estate of Mariam Cannon Hayes, a lifelong philanthropist and daughter of textiles magnate and Cannon Mills founder Charles Cannon. The sale was held at the Embassy Suites Hotel.


The Grand Canal in Venice by Elliott Daingerfield (American, 1859-1932)

The estate was so massive and important it took took two firms to liquidate it: Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd., of Hillsborough, N.C., and Iron Horse Auction Co., Inc., of Rockingham, N.C. Over the course of her long and fruitful life, Mrs. Hayes – who passed away in August 2007 at age 91 – accumulated many rare and valuable items. Overall, about 600 lots changed hands at the sale.

“It was a privilege to execute this sale along with the good people at Iron Horse,” said Leland Little of Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd. “The audience response was wonderful. People were eager to come out and bid on the many high-end antiques that had been in this prestigious Southern family for years. It was all fresh to the market merchandise, and we sold it without reserve.”

The sale attracted regional, national and even international attendance, as buyers poured in from 18 states, as well as England, Ireland, Switzerland and Canada.

Mrs. Hayes was a dedicated collector of fine art; period American, English and Continental furniture; silver; estate jewelry; books, china and porcelain; estate rugs; glass; and lighting. Among other items, she owned a military document signed by George Washington; an 1833 Andrew Jackson autographed letter; a 1900 Venetian wall mirror; a Civil War-era bed; and a Russian sable fur coat.

Philanthropic work stretched throughout Mrs. Hayes’ life, but her personal passion was music education and performances throughout North Carolina. The Mariam Cannon Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University provides degrees in music and music programs for children. She split her time between homes in Concord and Blowing Rock, N.C. Her son, Robin, is a Congressman.

Other highlights from the sale follow. All prices quoted include a 15% buyer’s premium.

washington.jpgThe painting by Daingerfield was the day’s top lot (as well as a world record), but another work that also did well was an oil-on-canvas portrait of General George Washington, painted around 1842 by Alvan Fisher (Mass., 1792-1863). It gaveled for $69,000. The painting, housed in a gilt wood frame, showed Washington standing on a rise, his troops and their mounts approaching from behind. Speaking of Washington, the abovementioned two-page document, issued in 1783 and carrying the signature of our first president (as well as that of military secretary Jonathan Trumbull, Jr.) crossed the block at $10,925. The order honorably discharged Private Caleb Cornwall of the First New York Infantry, “having faithfully served the United States for seven years.” It was matted and framed.

french-vitrine.jpg An exceptional 19th-century French vitrine (ornately decorated display cabinet) achieved $20,700. The mahogany veneer and glass piece boasted two beveled glass doors surmounted by a rouge marble cap. The cabinet above the doors had dore bronze overlay in the form of swags over elaborate foliate panels, flanking a central oval medallion depicting a Classical offering scene (69” x 43” x 18”).

Two artworks flirted with the $20,000 mark but fell just short. One was an oil-on-canvas mountain scene, signed lower left by William L. Sonntag (N.C./N.Y., 1822-1900). It depicted a lake surrounded by mountains in full fall foliage. The other was a western North Carolina landscape scene by Johann Quistgaard (Den./N.Y., 1877-1962), still housed in its original gilt composition frame.

artdecoring.jpg Tops in the estate jewelry category was a dazzling Art Deco sapphire and diamond ring, featuring an old European cut diamond bead set in a square setting, flanked by two shield-cut sapphires set in partial bezels, plus 50 bead set round diamonds. It soared to $10,350. Also, a lady’s platinum marquise diamond ring brought $8,050, while a platinum floral spray diamond brooch rose to $3,680.

Two pieces of fine period furniture sold for identical prices of $7,475. One was a Southern Sheraton sideboard (circa 1820-1830), likely North Carolina, bold tiger maple with southern yellow pine secondary; the other was a Chippendale slant front desk (American, circa 1800), mahogany with white pine secondary. Also, a rare rosewood Sunderland table (English, circa 1830) realized $2,415.

sterling-flatware.jpg From the silver offerings, a grand 200-piece sterling flatware service, in the “Tuileries” design by Gorham, changed hands for $6,900; a George III sterling master salt (London, 1769), boat shaped and raised on a pedestal base with two dolphins, hit $2,070; and a Shiebler sterling seafood pick with an ornate stem featuring a design of seahorse, crab, seaweed and conch shells went for $1,955.

A gorgeous Venetian wall mirror (circa early 20th century), oval beveled glass centered within blue glass, with figures amidst grapevines and an elegant cut pattern that created the impression of a brilliant shield, went to a happy bidder for $5,750; and a Louis XV-style fire screen (circa late 19th century), with Rococo asymmetrical frame over wire and raised on curved feet, gaveled for $1,725.

A 213-piece Wedgwood lustre china dinner service (circa 1920s) went for a respectable $3,795, despite chips on some of the pieces; a set of 12 Mauser sterling finger bowls (circa 1900), with Aesthetic Movement design, sold to a happy bidder for $2,875; and an antique hand-tied, room-size rug (early 20th century), all over deep blue field with floral urns and deep burgundy border, reached $6,325.

Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales’ next big sale is coming up quick: Saturday, March 15, beginning at 9:30 a.m. (with previews Wednesday through Friday). The sale will feature fine art and decorative items from several prominent area estates. Already consigned is an original watercolor by Alfred Hutty (S.C., 1877-1954), titled “Calhoun Street.” For info, click on

The March 15 sale will be held at Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales’ showroom gallery at 246 So. Nash Street in Hillsborough, N.C. The firm is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, estate or collection, you may call them directly, at (919) 644-1243. Or, you can e-mail them at [email protected]. The next quarterly cataloged auction is June 14th.