Tonawanda News — It seems to happen every year. The auctioneer yells “Sold,” and somebody gets a great deal.
A couple of years ago a donated lithograph by Pablo Picasso, turned out to have the artist’s signature. “We didn’t realize it was signed with an original signature,” said Don Luce, public relations director for the Community Missions.
The person who bought the painting at the annual mission fundraiser, made a lucky purchase. “I think they paid two or three hundred but it was worth a couple thousand,” he said.
That’s not the only surprise from donated items sold over the years at the Community Missions Fine Arts Auction. “Every year, we’ve had what I call a ‘sleeper,’ something we didn’t realize was that valuable,” Luce said.
“One year we had a pair of Windsor chairs and the person who bought them took them to get them valued,” he continued. “One, from the 1700s, was worth several thousands. The other one was just a copy, but for a hundred dollars they got quite a deal.”
This year an anonymous donor gave three depression-era antique toy train sets to the auction. Lionel, Marx, and Atlas train sets will be among the hundreds of items auctioned off Sunday at the First Presbyterian Church, 100 Church St., in Youngstown. Viewing of items will begin at 12:15 pm and the auction will start at 1:00.
“We looked on Ebay and the train sets go for four or five thousand a set,” he added. At the auction, the trains are likely to go for far less than that. The same is true for many of the other donated items, he said.
A 1930’s seascape painting by Earle Bailly is another featured auction item. Bailly, who has exhibited in museums throughout the U.S. and internationally, was born without arms and was famed for holding and wielding brushes in his mouth. In addition, a local artist, Mary Gross, known for her Native American feather art, has donated a piece to the auction. Other featured artists include Ansel Adams, R.C. Gorman and Andrew Wyeth.