It's an opportunity to own a piece of Aiken's history.
A unique collection composed of approximately 150 items from the estate of Pete Green, the Thoroughbred trainer for Thomas Hitchcock Sr., is being offered as one lot as part of the Living Estate of Dan Iverson, and will be auctioned off on July 13 at 12 p.m. by the Cheeks Auction Company.
Peter Green, dead at the age of 89 in 1972, went to work for Thomas Hitchcock Sr. at Broad Hollow Stable in 1894 at age 11. Green was charged with the responsibility of riding a refractory horse daily for two hours, so it would be calm enough for Hitchcock's oldest daughter Celestine to mount later in the day.
“We have a picture of Pete Green holding that pony,” said Cheeks.
The lot and the auction itself has received a great deal of interest, with parties from New York, Washington, D.C. and Florida making inquiries.
An extraordinary collection, the assemblage itself, according to Dennis Cheeks, Cheeks Auction, was part of an estate settlement procured and preserved by Iverson after Green's passing. The greater part of the collection is composed of photographs, numbering more than 100, depicting and providing a narrative of a way of life at the turn of the 20th Century that was uniquely endemic to Aiken's rich equestrian community. The collection is being offered as one lot, but if the reserve bid isn't attained, it will be offered piece by piece, with sales going to the highest bidder.
Many of the photos depict members of the Hitchcock family and have notes on the back of the pictures, several with comments made about the person's demeanor and character. A photo of the Hitchcock children, featuring the most celebrated polo player in U.S. history and inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald's character Tom Buchanan in “The Great Gatsby,” Tommy Hitchcock Jr., Frankie, Celestine and Helen, are also among the items in the lot to be auctioned off. There's also a picture of Louise Hitchcock jumping in Hitchcock Woods.
However, there are also framed photographic images of Thoroughbreds racing at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course, including one (14-inch by 20-inch) of the stakes winning gelding Good and Plenty, as he takes the last jump in winning the 1906 American Grand National. There are also photos of Rioter, Neconset, Cottesmore and Constrictor.
A framed letter of reference that was given to Malinda Green White by Louise Hitchcock is also among the items being offered in the lot, said Cheeks. A horse blanket that belonged to Thomas Hitchcock Sr., Pete Green's tuxedo, riding jacket and jodhpurs, and Thomas Hitchcock Sr.'s brother Frances' steamer trunk are also to be auctioned off. The chest is stenciled with his initials and dates to 1887.
A beautiful pair of engraved napkin rings, presented by Thomas Hitchcock Sr. to Pete Green at his wedding, are also part of the impressive collection.
There are also photos of all the Green children, George, Peter, Jamsey, Mack and Malinda. Prints of Malinda Green White, Pete Green's sister, and the staff at the Willcox Inn, where Malinda's husband was a plumber, and according to legend was a handsome man who had many female admirers, said Cheeks.
A copy of the tome “Life and Sport in Aiken and those who made it,” by Harry Worcester Smith is also among the items to be auctioned off. “It's the Bible on equestrian sport in Aiken,” said Cheeks. “He collected 50 or so copies of the book over the last 25 or 30 years, and sells them sparingly, but there will be one included in this auction.”
The two day auction is open to the public, and will be held at the Iverson House at 2052 Banks Mill Road on July 12 and July 13. For more information, you can visit the Cheeks Auction at cheeksauctionco.com.