Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press Many items from Lelon "Butch" Lindsey's estate will be in an estate sale at Knitting Mill Antiques.
Antiques collectors and dealers across the region knew the late Lelon “Butch” Lindsey as the gregarious owner of Chattanooga Antique Mall, which he operated for almost two decades.
Few knew of his first passion: painting.
“He loved old barns, old houses, wagons, rural scenes. He loved painting a fence row, anything in nature that caught his eye,” said his sister, Gaynell Kinser.
“He became interested in antiques and that became his real love. He slowly stopped painting and dedicated all his time to collecting and selling antiques. His large collection of antiques is proof of his love for anything old,” she said.
Lindsey’s family is highlighting that legacy with an estate sale of his art and antiques, which will also benefit the Association for Visual Arts.
The estate sale opens to the public Friday at Knitting Mill Antiques, continuing to March 13. On Thursday evening, a preview party will be held at that antiques mall, giving those guests early-buying privileges at the sale, said Lynn Short, Knitting Mill owner. Funds raised in ticket sales to the preview party will be donated to AVA.
Lindsey’s niece, Heather Nelson, noted that although AVA hadn’t been founded during the era Lindsey painted, they chose the nonprofit to highlight his talent as well as to further AVA’s assistance to young artists.
Nine original artworks by Lindsey will be sold as well as sets of three prints, several of which are signed and numbered.
A storeroom at Knitting Mill is filled wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling with items from Lindsey’s antiques collection. Kinser said the items came from her brother’s home, business and two warehouses.
Although light on furniture, the sale is filled with shelves overflowing in collectibles.
For Civil War aficionados, there are bullets, cannon shot, daguerreotypes. Coca-Cola collectors will find logo trucks, toys and even an old Coke sprinkle bottle such as a housewife would have used to dampen clothes she ironed.
Vintage Americana pieces include a Stimpson True Weight produce scale, a one-gallon glass butter churn with working wooden paddles, a collection of old whisk brooms and numerous farm tools.
His large collection of paper products ranges from 1940s Roy Rogers children’s book to vintage valentines, postcards, old labels and sheet music.
Kinser said her brother’s passion for antiques began with collecting old canning jars. His glass collection has yielded sets of antique jars that fill a 7-foot cabinet, mounds of Mason jars along with old medicine bottles, and even 20 glass minnow traps. Within another case, rows of faceted chandelier prisms glitter.
Short said partygoers might want to buy a piece of Chattanooga memorabilia: a orange drum with the Turnbull Cone Baking Co. logo, imprinted glass bottles or the Pennsylvania Station sign that once hung in the Chattanooga Choo Choo.
All items in the sale will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Short said visitors will be routed into the narrow display hall at one end of the room and out the other.
Preview party guests will be treated to hors d’oeuvres from FoodWorks and entertainment by Laura Walker and Daniel Parkin. Reservations are required to attend; call 267-1922.
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...