Bidder sinks fangs into vampire killing kit for $14,850 An authentic vampire killing kit, made around 1800, sold for $14,850 at the estate sale of the late interior designer Jimmy Pippen, held Oct. 3-4 at the Natchez Convention Center in Natchez, Miss.
News-Antique.com - Oct 13,2008 - (Natchez, Miss.) - A complete and authentic vampire killing kit – made around 1800 and complete with stakes, mirrors, a gun with silver bullets, crosses, a Bible, holy water, candles and even garlic, all housed in a handsome American walnut case with a carved cross on top – hammered for $14,850 at the Jimmy Pippen estate sale held Oct. 3-4 in the brand new Natchez Convention Center.
Jimmy Pippen was one of the most legendary interior designers in the South before his recent untimely death at age 53 in Natchez. “Mr. Pippen used both old and new to create tasteful ambiences in some of the finest homes in the Southeastern United States,” said Dwight Stevens of Stevens Auction Company, which conducted the sale. “He was a friend who died too young, and at the top of his game.”
The sale comprised the contents of Mr. Pippen's stores (Pippen Antiques and Pippen Interiors); items from his personal residence (which he considered a perfect creation and called “Paradise”); the contents of another home (a three-story, 1850s townhouse called “The Orchard” that he restored with spectacular appointments and rented to friends and associates); and treasures from several warehouses.
The Friday session was dedicated mostly to the newer items in Mr. Pippen's vast collections. The Saturday session proved to be the main event, with a crowd of about 300 people packing the convention center to bid on wonderful period furniture items, decorative accessories, fine art and more. Also sold was the living estate of Mr. Charles Davenport, a neighbor and friend of Mr. Pippen's.
“The Natchez Fall Pilgrimage was going on that weekend, so we got some additional traffic from that event,” said Mr. Stevens. “It was almost like we had two sales on Saturday. The daytime crowd stayed 'til around six in the evening, then a whole new crowd poured in. Buying was active and enthusiastic for the full duration of the day – 11 hours and 45 minutes. We didn't finish until 9:45 p.m.”
The vampire killing kit probably got more attention than any other item in the sale (and it was the second such kit Mr. Stevens has sold in Natchez; the last one, in 2000, went for $7,800). But it was not the top lot of the day. That honor went to a monumental rosewood Renaissance Victorian bedroom suite, made circa 1860 and attributed to John Jelliff. The suite went to a determined bidder for $33,000.
Following are additional highlights from the sale. Prices include a 10 percent buyer's premium.
Antique beds, a staple at many Stevens auctions, did very well. A rococo mahogany half tester queen-size plantation bed (circa 1855), attributed to Willliam McCracken, soared to $20,900; another example attributed to McCracken, a rosewood tester bed standing 9 feet 4 inches tall (circa 1845), achieved $18,700; and a mahogany half tester bed attributed to Signouret (circa 1850) made $17,600.
From the period furniture offerings, a French Empire pier table, with original gold leaf stenciling and marble columns (circa 1830),