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Featured Property: The Estate of Penny and Garland Cupp

New Orleans Auction Galleries is honored to present the Estate of Joyce "Penny" and B. Garland Cupp, which includes fine English antiques, paintings, jewelry and decorative arts.

Joyce “Penny” Lenell Cupp was born in Rayville, Louisiana and later moved to Spearman, Texas. After graduating high school in Texas in 1960, Penny returned to Louisiana to attend Northeast Louisiana University with a major in speech therapy. She was a member of Phi Mu and continued her involvement with the sorority as National Chair and President of the House Corporation for the Epsilon Nu Chapter at Oklahoma State University. Penny became a flight attendant for Delta Airlines, a decision that would change her life as it was during this time that she met her husband, Garland. Penny and Garland were married for 51 years.

B. Garland Cupp was born in Mangum, Texas, a small town west of Dallas. Cupp’s remarkable work ethic drove his successes in business; he started his first job at only 11 years old. Garland studied at West Texas University in Canyon, Texas and then attended Washington University in St. Louis. Cupp later attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School and graduated with an MBA in 1984. Beyond his formal schooling, Cupp also taught himself computer programming.

Penny and Garland married and relocated to St. Louis in 1963. Garland spotted a job listing for computer programmers from McDonnell Aircraft Corporation (which became McDonnell Douglas following a 1967 merger and then The Boeing Company in 1997) while attending the Oklahoma vs. Texas football game earlier that year. He applied and was offered a position. Penny also worked at McDonnell for several years, but after her daughter was born in 1973, she left her position to focus on her family.

Garland joined American Express in 1978. By his retirement in 1995 at age 55, he achieved the position of Executive Vice President and CIO of the Travel Related Services Division. The Travel Related Services Division was the largest business unit at the time and was responsible for handling credit card transactions.

A 1989 article in Computerworld noted that with Cupp at the helm of TRS, the department generated 32% of the firm’s $23 billion revenue and, even more remarkably, 70% of its $1.04 billion in profits. In 1988 alone, Cupp’s division processed transactions for 30.7 million credit cards. Cupp’s computer programming and business background made him the perfect fit for the rapidly growing world of credit card processing.

Part of TRS’s role was to ensure that the volume needs were met in terms of CPU capacity, which included distributing processors throughout the American Express global network. The logistical and technical challenges of creating a global processing network in the context of 1980s infrastructure were immense, but Cupp’s knowledge and forward-thinking vision undoubtedly contributed to solidifying American Express as a global powerhouse.

Garland’s successes in business allowed for the couple to travel extensively and pursue their shared interest for collecting art and antiques. The Cupps settled in Edmond, Oklahoma after Garland’s retirement. When Garland suggested to Penny that they build her “dream house”, Penny immediately thought of Crane Cottage on Jekyll Island, Georgia for the project’s inspiration. After attending a family wedding at Crane Cottage, Penny was enamored by the grand architecture and beautifully appointed interiors of the historic property. The couple hired Hornbeek Blatt Architects of Edmond, Oklahoma to design the house and worked with Georgia-based decorator Alex Bridges on the interior design. 

While the Cupp’s house in Edmond did not have quite as many rooms (Crane Cottage boasts an impressive 21 bedrooms!), it took three years to complete and included a stunning courtyard, as well as many meticulously selected elements such as cobblestone sourced from South Carolina and staircase fittings bought in England.

Perhaps even more impressive than the house itself were the couple’s collection of antiques and fine art that filled the house. For both Penny and Garland, collecting was something that brought them immense joy; the couple also happened to have discerning eyes.

The Cupp’s collection includes an outstanding selection of fine Regency and Georgian furniture; a mix of 19th- and 20th-century American, English and European paintings; English and American silver; and Asian arts. Penny and Garland were auction enthusiasts but also acquired items from Royal Street in New Orleans and on trips abroad.

Sale Information: 
March 27-28 Estates Auction
Begins at 10:00 a.m. CT Each Day
Open for Exhibition (by Appointment)
Monday - Friday, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

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