HENDERSON, Ky., Sept. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Bidders from around the globe will be competing for items from one of the most diverse collections in the world. "While it's quite normal to come across old books and pottery, I can't say I've ever seen an estate collection that included taxidermy from the North Pole and Sub Saharan Africa along with samurai armor from the 1800's," said Wendy Miller, who will be conducting the auction for the Whittington family.
After movie-worthy heroics on Normandy's Omaha Beach in World War II, Captain George Whittington was recognized with the Army's Distinguished Service Cross. Upon leaving the European theater, he embarked on a distinguished life. With his wife, Agnes, he traveled the globe on big game safaris and international vacations. The array of treasures that they found—items spanning four centuries—gradually filled their 11,000 square foot home, itself an art piece designed by John Hironimus in 1959. That house will also be on the auction block, as George and Agnes' children have decided to sell their childhood home after the death of their parents.
The Curran Miller auction team hired internationally-recognized Japanese anthropologist, Andrew Mancabelli, to assess the swords and other samurai items. "I will be recommending some of the items to museums I work for," said Mancabelli. "However, with budgets and the economy, individuals seem to have more buying power than public facilities. I would like to see the armor . . . go to an American or Japanese museum, and an unusual halberd style polearm go back to Japan. I believe it may have been removed from a shrine at the turn of the last century."
Mancabelli added, "I am not sure which item will garner the most attention, however, I would like to think that the armor would. In the olden days the best armors took years to make . . . In the feudal era, the armor smith held a higher social status than the sword smith. I expect the short sword with the silver fittings which dates to the 1800's will garner the most attention."
Some of the family's most exotic possessions are not legal to sell in the state of Kentucky, and their future is currently unknown. Because of the animals' current inclusion on the endangered species list, the African black rhino and South American jaguar mounts cannot be included in the auction. Globally-awarded taxidermist, Harry Whitehead, admitted that he had seen collections more than twice the size of the 40+ piece Whittington collection but that those two items and the variety of the other pieces make the Whittington collection indelible. "I expect the polar bear rug to be the next biggest draw, due to such a big specimen," Whitehead added.
World War II military items will complement the Japanese weaponry. Two full days of auctions will include artwork & designer furniture, vintage clothing & books, pottery & glassware, silver & jewelry, firearms & ammo, and other valuable antiques. Online bidding will allow interested buyers to bid from their computers, tablets, or phones until bidding closes on September 25 & 26. Viewings of the home and artifacts will be open to the public from 4:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. on September 18 & 19.
Andrew Mancabelli, currently residing in Japan, is available for interview via email at [email protected]. Harry Whitehead is available for comment at (859) 489-6619. Janet Whittington can be reached at (270) 287-8980. Wendy Miller welcomes questions about the auction at (812) 474-6100 and Email. Curran Miller markets unique properties and estates across the Ohio River basin and is a nationally recognized & awarded auction firm.
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SOURCE Curran Miller Auction/Realty, Inc.