It was quite an exciting day for history and quilt buffs
as the "South Carolina Secession Quilt" was sold at auction in Mountain City,
Georgia. Greg Peters of Golden Memories Auction Company handled the sale at
his gallery, which was filled to the brim with wonderful southern furniture,
artwork, baskets, and quilts for this New Year's Day 2003 auction.
Greg had been given the commission to sell the secession
quilt directly from the family of the maker, Mrs. Philip Drury Cook of Fairfield
County, South Carolina. The 108" X 108" quilt was made over a period of 6
months, which seems absolutely impossible. Mrs. Cook's husband was a general
in the Coast Artillery of the Confederate States of America and she was left
to run the plantation and raise four children in his absence during the war years.
The all-white quilt is made from an unseamed piece of hand-woven cambric with a
central medallion of an eagle with wings resting on cornucopias, which spill over
with fruits and flowers. Much of the design is done with trapunto. The
quilt also contains many names directly involved in the Carolina proslavery
secession movement and four governors of South Carolina during the nullification
period and the seal of the state.
The quilt itself survived the trials and tribulations
of the war as it is said to have been wrapped around the family treasures and
buried to protect them from Sherman's approaching army. Another beautiful
floral quilt made by Mrs. Cook was not hidden and was cut into saddle blankets
by Sherman's troops.
The bidding on the quilt was quick and exciting. The
opening bid was $10,000 and the bids progressed in $10,000 increments until
the final bid of $67,500 was hammered down, all within a minute and a half.
Four of the bidders were on telephones. The buyer, a 35-year-old gentleman
from Tennessee (he was raised in Greenville, SC) is a private antique collector.
He is in the process of building a southern plantation home and will display
the quilt in his new home.
There were several other lovely quilts at this auction.
A beautiful early (1880) log cabin quilt was purchased by Natalie Hewel of
Kannapolis, NC. She is a beginning collector with a good eye.
The Secession Quilt was also featured in the book "Quilts
in America" by Patsy & Myron Orlofsky, published in the mid 1970's.
Golden Memories Auction Company
P.O. Box 549
Mountain City, Georgia 30562