Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy's campus in Wheeling will be the site of an historic public auction on Saturday, June 12, as another phase of closing the more than 160-year-old internationally known private girl's school and monastery moves closer to completion.
It is not an event to be missed by anyone with ties to The Mount, as items large and small will be offered for sale that afternoon.
Proceeds from the auction will directly benefit the community of nuns who had called the school and its monastery home until mid-April of this year when they were instructed to join the order's community in Georgetown, D.C. and permanently close their resources in Wheeling.
Pictured just before departing the campus of Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy for their new life in Georgetown are Sister Mary Alicia Sours, Sister Eleanor May Klaber, and Sister Joanne Marie Gonter - herself a member of the school's Class of 1952.
Items to be auctioned can readily be considered an eclectic mix, one which easily reaches back into our nation's history to the age of steamer trunks and inkwells.
Items to be auctioned range from the simple white and green dinnerware used in the school's dining hall, for receptions and alumnae; to high quality antique furniture; and ultimately to several very rare antique cut glass crystal chandeliers made in the 1800s at the internationally acclaimed Hobbs Brockunier Glass Company of Wheeling.
The auction schedule includes ample time to preview items, most of which will have been moved out to the school's spacious grounds. Parking will be available in lots around the Mount, and attendants will be on hand to help.
"We will allow people on the auction site at 1 p.m. to preview outside items. The auction will begin at 2:30 p.m.," said Bob Hagedorn of Hagedorn and Associates, the firm handling all aspects of the upcoming auction on behalf of the Sisters of the Visitation. "There will be limited access to the property. People will only be permitted access to the area where we are having the auction and the parking lot."
"There will be a tent in front of the school building for relief from the sun," he said, adding that a local charity will have a refreshment center in operation during the auction.
Taking part in the transaction phase of the auction will be open to all who have secured a bid card by registering with the auctioneer's representatives on site the day of the auction.
Registering as a bidder is a simple process, but there are some other basics about the business end of the process that are very beneficial to know ahead of time, as they are not flexible.
"To register to bid you must have a driver's license. We will assign a bid card and the bidder will use this card to bid. Your bid card makes an account, and payment for this account can be made by cash only," he said referring to the financial transaction phase of an auction purchase. "Bidding for the beginner is easy, raise your bid card on the item you want when you hear the desired price we are very bidder friendly."
An exception to this cash only policy will be made only for those bidders who have gotten pre-qualified by Hagedorn and Associates, a process which often takes two days and must be arranged with the firm prior to the event.
"However, when purchasing a large item, such as are the Steinway pianos in the Music Hall, a down payment can be made, which is usually made in an amount of at least 10 percent of the winning bid. Then on the Monday following the sale a cashier's check or money order can pay the balance," he offered. "If you fail to complete the sale by paying the pay balance, you forfeit the down payment."
"Everything will be outside, except three pianos; two chandeliers; six light fixtures in the music hall; and two large cabinets in Mount de Chantal room," he said. "These items will be sold inside and will be the last items sold at the sale."
Pre-sale view of these items is by appointment only.
"The three items in the Mount de Chantal room will be previewed right before we sell them, and the same procedure will be used to sell the items in the Music Hall: the two Steinways and the seven light fixtures. We are not selling any tin from the walls or any other fixtures; nor are there any plans to sell any other fixtures or wall ornaments," he said.
" To limit the number of people wanting to go inside, we may charge a fee of $50 or more to enter the building to bid on these inside items, but this fee will be refunded if you bid on or are the successful bidder of one of the inside items," said Hagedorn. " If you do not bid, then you will forfeit your entry fee."
Successful bidders will have a simple process to follow in order to take possession of their purchase.
"Once you are the successful bidder that item is your responsibility, you will need to pay for it during the sale or immediately after the completion of the sale. Then you need to remove the item," said Hagedorn, adding the auction firm does not normally hold items.. "They must be removed the day of the sale."
There is a certain amount of basic etiquette attached to a public auction.
"At an auction you need to hear me and the other auctioneer; furthermore, our clerk needs to hear both of us we have a public address system, but you would be amazed how hard it can be to hear when 300 people are talking," said Hagedorn.
"It is very frustrating for a bidder not to hear us and miss the item they came 100 miles to bid on due to the noise of others; furthermore, you as a bidder may bid on and buy something you had no intention of buying because you didn't hear me describe the item and you thought we were selling something else," he said candidly, noting the importance of being considerate of others at the auction by keeping conversations and confusion to a minimum."
"When it comes to the provenance of these items to be auctioned, the most important thing is that they are from the Mount."