The sale will be conducted by The Specialists of the South, Inc., in the firm’s spacious gallery.

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – Over 300 mostly fresh to the market lots from prominent local estates, in a wide range of categories, will come up for bid in an auction slated for Saturday, Aug. 1st, by The Specialists of the South, Inc., in the firm’s gallery located at 544 East 6th Street in Panama City. The action will get underway at 8 a.m. Central time.

Around a dozen original oil paintings in varying sizes by Susan F. Greaves (Am., b. 1944) will cross the auction block.

Around a dozen original oil paintings in varying sizes by Susan F. Greaves (Am., b. 1944) will cross the auction block.

Offered will be chinoiserie decorative pieces (ornately patterned, with a Chinese influence), Art Deco-style furniture, English and French-style furniture, painted furniture (decorators will have a field day with the selection), original and limited-edition artwork, a collection of books (25 lots, at 9-12 books per lot), very large chargers, metal wall shields and five rare antique snuff bottles.

Furniture items of note will feature a French antique armoire from Brittany, France, with strap and nail head decoration; a massive painted armoire, 104 inches tall by 85 inches wide; a French painted cabinet with landscapes on the doors; four Lugano arm chairs by Mariani for Pace (being sold as one lot); and a pair of Bibidium chairs in red wool, in the design of Eileen Gray (one lot).

Headlining the auction is the living estate of William B. Schneider, Sr., whose great grandfather, a German immigrant named Gustav Bittner, operated a highly successful cabinet making shop in Louisville, Ky., beginning in 1854 and lasting well into the 20th century. Many items in the sale have descended through the family from that time, in addition to Mr. Schneider’s personal items.

Mr. Schneider studied architecture and was a premier appraiser of period furniture of the region. He was a fixture at many auction houses throughout the South and was nicknamed “the antique whisperer” for his uncanny ability to identify, assess and appraise, in a moment, a colonial or an English piece of furniture. He acquired many items throughout his life, but sold very little of it.

Three other prominent estates will also be featured in the auction, including items from the living estate of a renowned local physician. For those unable to attend in person, online bidding will be available via and The chinoiserie items will include lovely lamps with ornamental motifs and the aforementioned large chargers, about two feet in diameter.

The Art Deco-style furniture will include two-drawer cabinets, a lateral file, a sideboard, display curio, an entry server with curved ends and Carlo Bimbi Segis Charlie chairs. The French-style furniture will feature a Cassard et Cie one-drawer inlaid table, some beautiful chair frames, six side dining chairs (to be sold as one lot), a sideboard with decorative apron and additional pieces.

The English-style furniture (and accessories) will feature a mahogany three-drawer side cabinet marked “Made in England”; a William & Mary-style arm chair and a William & Mary side table; a classical side chair; a mahogany book trough; Heritage Herendon mahogany two-tier tables; two Beacon Hill side tables with brass gallery; and a nice hand-carved Chippendale-style mirror.

The painted furniture is certain to get paddles wagging. Star lots include a drop-leaf dining table, an armoire and two end tables with wooden grill design, a recamier (fainting couch), a colorfully painted three-chair back wood sofa, a wine table with a drawer, white-washed tier tables, a large half-moon table with a painted star point design a five-drawer half-moon cabinet and other items.

A handsome antique grandfather clock, 93 ½ inches tall, is sure to attract attention. It has a Follet escapement with pendulum and verge, modeled after Huygen’s design. The escapement model was produced from 1673-1855. The five 19th century snuff bottles are from a collection three generations in the making and include pieces crafted from Peking glass, agate and milk glass.

The artworks, some beautifully framed, will include around a dozen original oil paintings in varying sizes by Susan F. Greaves (Am., b. 1944); Panamanian molas; a large limited-edition figural artist’s proof serigraph by Isaac Tarkay (Serbia/Israeli, 1935-2012); an abstract print by Joan Miro (Sp., 1893-1983); and an oil painting by the American artist Patricia Waldrip-Taylor.

Also in the auction will be two vintage and collectible cameras: a Nikon Nikkor-S and a Rolleiflex twin-reflex. Books will feature volumes on designer decorating and antiques, Art Deco decorating, fishing and hunting and bass fishing. Glass pieces will include a Volta petal bowl, Depression glass, an American cake round salver and some colorful rock ice.

Returning to furniture items, pieces worth mentioning include a burl wood tall storage cabinet, a torchiere-style planter, a carved coffee table made in Italy, a glass-top coffee table, a Victorian settee, an oak dining table with large paw feet, a bookcase with three glass doors, a diminutive wooden pew with applied decoration, a vintage wood hat (or coat) rack, and many other pieces.

Also sold will be Asian rugs, a Lane cedar chest, a recliner with wide wooden arms, Wedgwood, Hummels, a Bayre ceramic lion, a Leopold II medallion commemorating the anniversary of Belgian Independence (1830-1905), a 96-piece German Heinrich dinner service in a classical design, silverplate flatware, sterling jewelry, mirrors, lamps, a mink coat and many other items.

Before it was sold in the early 1980s, the custom furniture and cabinet shop stared by Gustav Bittner prior to the Civil War was renowned throughout the region. Bittner worked with many prominent architects and other high-end clients in Louisville and elsewhere. His many credits included furniture pieces designed and installed in The Speed Museum and The Galt Museum.

Bittner fathered three girls but no boys to bequeath the company to, so it was eventually turned over to the husband of one of the daughters, Cletis Schneider, who operated it successfully until the 1970s, when he turned control over to his son, William Bittner Schneider, Jr., whose items are in this auction. Schneider, too, ran the company successfully until selling it in the early ‘80s.

Schneider inherited from Gustav Bittner a love and appreciation for architecture and design. He particularly loved Art Deco. In the 1980s he moved to Atlanta and started a new business that specialized in furniture restoration and repair, with a strong emphasis on design. He closed the business in the mid-‘90s and moved to Florida, but he never stopped buying and loving antiques.

Previews will be held by appointment and on auction day from 7-8 a.m. For an appointment, you may call 850-785-2577. A buyer’s premium will be applied to all purchases. All sales are final.

The Specialists of the South, Inc., has been serving the Panama City community for over 30 years. The firm specializes in a broad range of services, to include estate auctions, furniture refurbishing, interior decoration, personal property appraisals and business liquidation services. It has been named the Small Business of the Month by the Bay County Chamber of Commerce.

The Specialists of the South, Inc., is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, estate or collection, you may call them at (850) 785-2577, or you may e-mail them at [email protected] To learn more, or to register for the August 1st auction, you may log on to either of the two websites: or