Niagara Gazette

November 8, 2013

Finer things to benefit Community Missions at Sunday auction

Staff reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — 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.

Furniture includes mirrors, rocking chairs, a hope chest, lamps, an antique sewing machine, plant stands, a blanket chest/commode, a pegged pine country cupboard, side chairs and wool and Persian rugs.

Sculptures include a green marble head of a horse and a museum reproduction of a Tang Dynasty horse.  

In addition, a large collection of high-fashion purses and belts have been donated by an advertising agency in New York City. A jewelry table will also feature antique as well as contemporary pieces.

The auction will benefit the Crisis Services program of Community Missions in Niagara County. This includes their soup kitchen, homeless shelter, and home for people living with HIV/AIDS.

A donation of $10 per person or $15 per couple will be collected at the door to benefit Community Missions. An international sampling of luncheon hors d’oeuvres will be served. 

Community Missions provides services to hundreds of disadvantaged people in Niagara County. Last year 73,660 meals were provided in its soup kitchen. The mission sheltered 673 people including 82 children in its homeless shelter. The mission also gave shelter and care to more than 150 at-risk youth and provided residential, rehabilitive, vocational, and socialization services to more than 600 individuals with mental illness.

For more information, please call Luce at 285-3403, ext. 2226 or eamil:

IF YOU GO • WHAT: Community Missions' Antique and Fine Arts Auction • WHEN: Viewing of items at 12:15 p.m. Sunday. Auction at 1 p.m. • WHERE: First Presbyterian Church, 100 Church St., Youngstown • MORE INFO: Call 285-3403, ext. 2226 or