Old West artifacts recoup $2.7M for Harrisburg
HARRISBURG — The auction of thousands of Old West artifacts purchased by a former Harrisburg mayor for a failed museum project has netted about $2.7 million for the debt-laden city as it tried to recoup the money spent on the collection, a newspaper reported.
The auction ended on Sunday with about $3.2 million in proceeds including buyers' premiums, the Patriot-News of Harrisburg reported. The city will keep about $2.7 million after paying the auctioneer. That's enough to pay off the $2.5 million remaining on a $7.2 million loan secured by the artifacts, the newspaper said.
The sale means the total recouped by the city for the 10,000-piece collection is about $4.4 million out of about $8.3 million paid.
Former Mayor Stephen Reed bought the artifacts with public money to fill three unrealized museums, with the first focused on the Old West. The items include hundreds of guns, furniture, documents with historical significance and a stuffed buffalo.
The president of the auctioneer, Guernsey's, said his team found valuable pieces side-by-side with decorative items and obvious fakes with little or no value.
Reed's decision to use city money to buy thousands of items for an Old West museum in the Northeast has been much criticized, particularly as the city tries to dig out from a financial crisis caused largely by debt tied to the expensive renovation of an aging and polluting trash incinerator that has left it on the brink of bankruptcy.
It was the second auction for the collection.
Some of it was sold by Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas five years ago. That sale raised about $2 million, but some items failed to sell and were returned to the city.
Many bidders were motivated by Reed and the controversy surrounding him and the artifacts.
Reed told the Patriot-News that he did not attend himself but that he instructed a friend to submit bids on his behalf for a canoe, a beaded Army Scout jacket and two hats. Reed was outbid.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Altered fireworks, chickens found in Interstate 79 crash in West Virginia
- Pennsylvania Department of Health will note fracking complaints
- LCB’s biggest store opening in Shadyside neighborhood
- Departing prosecutor in Pennsylvania Turnpike pay-to-play case does not blame lack of resources