Treasures from another time

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Margaret Plevak | April 8, 2014

An antique cheese press?  A 1945 Charlie Chan movie poster from France? Who knows what treasures you'll find at the 30th annual Star Benefit Antiques Auction, held Saturday, April 26 at Old World Wisconsin, the historic outdoor museum located at W372 S9727 Wisconsin Highway 67 in Eagle.

The Friends of the Wisconsin Historical Society are producing this year's event, which begins with a viewing at 9 a.m., followed by the auction at 10 a.m. Proceeds will benefit help fund restoration projects for Black Point Estate, the 19th-century lakeside mansion-turned historic site in Lake Geneva that was once the summer home of the Conrad Seipp family.

Debbie McArdle, an antiques appraiser in Illinois, and Reine Wells, co-owner of the Eagle Centre House Bed & Breakfast in Eagle, are co-chairs organizing the Star Benefit Antiques Auction.

McArdle said while Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association members are founding and continuing sponsors for the event, assisting with funding and publicity, only about one percent of the actual antiques donations have come from their members. 

“Many of the donors are members of FWHS as well as Wisconsin Historical Society members, while many others have seen our solicitation for donations and followed through,” McArdle said. 

“Reine encounters many donors via her B&B,” she added. “Quite often my clients choose to donate and take a tax deduction. They like the idea of being able to donate in the name of a loved one. In fact, this morning I'm picking up a third load form a family that lost their son in a car accident 20 years ago. They are making the donations in his name, and it will appear as such in our catalog and our PowerPoint on-screen catalog at Clausing Barn. So our donations come from throughout Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Wisconsin residents are dedicated to the state and love to help.”

Carol Miller of Bailey's Honor Auctions will serve as auctioneer for the event.

The auction will feature antiques—defined as more than 99 years old—and vintage pieces—50 to 99 years old, with a variety that runs from fine art to pop culture items.

Individuals may still donate items for the auction. Although the deadline is April 19, volunteers need time to catalog pieces, so donations should be made as soon as possible, organizers say. 

“Donations are still rolling in,” McArdle said. “Looking through the hundreds of photos we have taken for our catalog. I personally find a cheese press and a stoneware jar with cobalt slip flowers the most fascinating antiques donations. Kitsch would include the bust of a Hawaiian beauty, a beautifully enameled plate, and a rare 1945 French Charlie Chan movie poster.”

Other items include 15 vintage pennants from tourist sites, Vermont brown stoneware jugs, a colorful hooked rug and a Winnebago basket.

For those interested in something newer, gift certificates for area services or merchandise from local businesses will be used at Preview Night in silent auctions and in gift baskets given to attendees.

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