WINSTON-SALEM — The estate of former North Carolina Gov. Thomas Walter Bickett is up for auction this weekend in Winston-Salem and on the Internet.
Auctioneer Chandler Eshleman told the Winston-Salem Journal that Bickett’s sole living heir decided to sell the items because she has no family to pass them down to. He did not give her name.
“She has no children, so this is the end of the family line,” Eshleman said.
Bickett was governor from 1917 to 1921. His belongings were being sold Saturday and Sunday at The Gallery on 1st Street in Winston-Salem and online at Eshleman’s page on the www.liveauctioneers.com website.
Eshleman says more than 1,000 items are up for sale, including jewelry, silverware and Bickett’s vast art collection. Much of the art is from China and other Asian countries.
“Now, with the advent of the middle class in China, they want all this stuff back,” Eshleman said. “The whole Asian continent is hot, and they are looking for all these antiquities.”
Eshleman would not estimate what the estate might be worth.
Bickett was born in Monroe. He graduated from Wake Forest College in 1890 and studied law at UNC.
Bickett served in the North Carolina House and as attorney general for eight years before being elected governor in 1916. The Dictionary of North Carolina Biography calls him a modest reformer who expanded the minimum school term from four months to six months.
He died less than a year after leaving office at age 52.