Wax figures auction draws diverse crowd to Gettysburg

Written by witf Staff Report | Mar 17, 2014 4:00 AM

(Gettysburg) -- Life-sized figures of President Abraham Lincoln and Civil War generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses Grant have fetched as much as $2,000 on the auction block in Gettysburg.


Photo by Associated Press

The 52-year-old American Civil War Wax Museum is being rebranded by its new owners, so the auction cleared out more than 400 items from displays on the battle and other major Civil War events.

Auctioneer Randy Dickensheets of PA Onsite Auction says the sale drew collectors and museum patrons for different reasons.

"I know the week when we had the preview, we had people from a little bit of everywhere. Some from as far away as California, Georgia, New Jersey, Ohio, Maryland, all over Pa, Virginia, West Virginia."

An animatronic model of Lincoln sold for $2,000, while less complex models of the 16th president went for as much as $1,500.

For bidder Kim Yates, who runs Kim’s Krypt in Baltimore, the interest in a non-descript military figure and several spare heads had little to do with historic significance.

She bid on odd lots as the auction wound down after some seven hours.

"I think that wax figures are already creepy. But I can here just to get the scary ones. I'm not going to deface them or do anything to them, I'm just going to put them in there, and have them in the scene and say that they came from the museum. That way, I think people will get a kick out of that too."

Two models of Lee drew bids as high as $1,500 and the Grant figure went off the block at $1,000.

Other items sold included artifacts from the Civil War and 19thcentury and non-historic items, such as flags, swords, uniforms, desks, chairs, lamps, plates and cups, books and paintings and inkwells used in the displays. A series of paintings by artist Norman F. Burnett on Civil War events, including the battles at Gettysburg, Sharpsburg, Md., and Fredericksburg, Va., sold for $425 to $1,500.

Among unusual items sold were a life-sized figure of Jesus Christ that drew a $1,000 bid.  Several paintings, prints and a bust of George Washington sold between $250 and $2,000.  The item drawing the highest bid all day was $5,250 for a rare 1846 cast-iron L.M. Singer sewing machine.

The facility will be rebranded next month as the new Gettysburg Heritage Museum with a focus on how the 1863 battle and the Civil War changed Gettysburg and its residents.

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