Sixty horse-drawn vehicles from the collection of the late Elizabeth Lampton will be auctioned in Lexington on Saturday in an event that is expected to draw interest from the United States and Europe and perhaps draw as many as 600 attendees.
The auction also will include more than 500 lots of harnesses and horse-related items
The signature item might well be a Mills & Sons of London 3/4-size pony road coach, made in 1910 for Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt. The company shipped it aboard the Lusitania, a ship torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat in 1915.
Similar coaches have sold recently for $70,000 to $80,000, according to the auction house overseeing the upcoming sale.
Elizabeth Lampton was the wife of Dinwiddie Lampton Jr,, well-known in Kentucky for his love of horse-drawn vehicles and carriages. He often drove while dressed in one of his signature top hats.
"We have collectors that collect carriages for private and public museums," said Paul Z. Martin Jr., the auction manager. "We have quite a bit of interest from Europe in this sale. ... We have a lot of people that actually do pleasure driving and coaching."
Elizabeth Lampton died in March 2008 of injuries sustained in a carriage accident in which a horse pulling her carriage got spooked.
Dinwiddie Lampton Jr., an unsuccessful candidate in the 1987 Democratic gubernatorial primary and longtime president of American Life & Accident Insurance Co. in Louisville, died in September 2008. He was an owner of Lexington's Elmendorf Farm, where he and Elizabeth were married in 2004.
Dinwiddie Lampton once said that a good carriage was "almost as hard to find as a Stradivarius."
Those attending the auction need not simply be looking for a phaeton, or light carriage. The auction also will include top hats, light fixtures, furnishings and rugs.