Auction will offer a number of high-end items, benefit local history group
WILMINGTON- Got an attic full of antiques gathering dust and want to pocket some extra cash? Or maybe a few more items are needed to finish off a collection. Whether a buyer or a seller, the Wilmington Historical Society is planning a unique auction to bring lovers of antiques together.
The event, planned for Saturday, July, 21, is a fundraiser to help the historical society in its ongoing renovations of the Barber House museum on Lisle Hill. The auction will be held at Chapman’s Antique Barn in Medburyville, just west of Harriman Reservoir.
Lenny Chapman, who owns Chapman’s Antiques with his wife Diane, said getting involved in the auction was the right thing to do.
“We’ve belonged to the historical society for the last 10 years,” said Chapman. “We just figured we could help out and donate some money.”
The historical society is accepting items now for the auction. Anything that sells will net 75% back to the donor, with 25% going to the society.
“We already have 100 things that have been donated,” said Chapman, “and lots of people are donating stuff at 100% to the society.”
Chapman said there has been a wide variety of items donated, and expects pricing to range anywhere from $5 to $1,000, depending on how heated the bidding becomes.
“There’s a little bit of everything. It’s not going to be a cheap auction full of stuff that people want to throw away. There are some unique items, some are worth quite a bit of money.”
Some of the more interesting and unique items can be seen on the historical society’s website. They include early Japanese and Chinese jars, Quimper pottery, period furniture, a cobbler’s bench, and a variety of collectibles.
But perhaps the most unusual item listed to this point is a pyrograph, or burnt-wood etching, of famed writer and politician Daniel Webster. The detail of Webster is almost photographic, and the inscription on the back of the art dates it to 1857, five years after his death.
The impetus for the auction came from historical society member Sally Gore, who runs the Wilmington Antique & Flea Market with her family. According to Chapman, Gore was “kind of the instigator.”
“What really motivated me was that we were downsizing and had items we really didn’t want to give away,” said Gore. “It was important to me and important to my family to help in some way.”
Gore said it was a presentation at her church about antiques by the Chapmans a year ago that led to the planning for this summer’s auction.
Gore said that for her, as an older member of the community, the auction is a way to downsize her belongings and help out a good cause. “Given that we (seniors) are reluctant to give away our favorite things, this might encourage it.”
Gore has donated a number of items for the auction, including the Quimper pottery. It’s of French origin, she says, and quite valuable.
“The French Quimper pottery had been in the family,” said Gore. “but none of my children want it. It’s something that’s not my style now. And to pick up a piece and realize the value of it, I really don’t want to use it.”
She said a pair of salt and pepper shakers cost $59 when she bought them 15 years ago. There are some large bowls and large platters which are valued at $250 each. In all there are more than 40 pieces. “The thing is, they’re all old,” said Gore. “They were in my husband’s family, and they’re from Amherst, MA. That was their daily pottery way back when. They’re in beautiful condition.”
Lenny Chapman is optimistic the auction will be a success.
“I think it will bring in quite a bit of money for the historical society,” said Chapman. “If so, maybe next year we’ll do another one, or do one a year to benefit different groups.
The historical society has a number of projects planned for the ongoing improvement of the Barber House, including replacing some flooring and refinishing rooms to make them more usable.
Proceeds from the auction will help make those projects a reality.
Admission to the auction is free. The preview will begin at 9 am on July 21. The auction starts at 11. Douglas Bilodeau, of Douglas Auctioneers in South Deerfield, MA, will be the auctioneer. The Anchor Restaurant will be there as well, offering a variety of food items to hungry bidders for purchase.
Anyone interested in donating items should contact Chapman’s Antiques at (802) 464-1084.
Chapman’s barn is located at 38 New England Power Road. Bids can also be submitted by phone by calling (802) 464-8344. For more information and to view some of the items visit www.wilmingtonhistoricalsociety.com.