The auction will be conducted in two sessions. Session I, slated to start at 12 noon (EST), will feature the contents of a sprawling, detached 20,000-square-
“This is a monumental estate auction, with many discoveries yet to be revealed leading up to auction day,” said Tim Chapulis of Tim’s, Inc., himself a longtime Litchfield resident and the auctioneer of the sale. “Mr. Irwin was a successful businessman who appointed his home and office with wonderful items throughout. Bidders will be able to inspect these items from 11 a.m. until not just the start of the auction, but throughout the entire day. This is rare for an auction.”
Mr. Irwin's love of horses and all things equestrian is reflected in some of the things he collected. Two such items to be sold include a rare and unusual “Ride the Champion” 10-cent riding horse machine with full saddle and marvelous folk art graphics; and a large, framed 1882 Currier & Ives print titled Edward and Swiveller, depicting horses at full gallop in a buckboard wagon race in Moorisania, N.Y., in which a winning time of 2 minutes and 16 seconds is given. The print was the focal point of Mr. Irwin's living room and was hung proudly above his mantel.
Session II will be packed with beautiful furnishings (to include Hitchcock furniture), an early Kentucky rifle collection (some pieces having tiger maple stocks), artwork, a slot machine, a large collection of railroad lanterns (some with gorgeous colored glass), Waterford cut glass china, desks and secretaries, highly collectible Lladro figures, bedroom sets, lighting and antique clocks, to include an E. Terry & Sons pillar-and-scroll clock as well as other vintage timepieces.
Some individual items of note will include an ornate brass cash register, a stunning custom-made oak dining room suite with oak harvest-style table, 108 inches long by 44 inches wide, with matching sideboard and mirror (and a custom-made corner hutch with an unusual L-shaped design), a Margolis custom-made mahogany low-boy, a pair of leather fire buckets with the letters “JD” on the front of them, and a mahogany Victorian two-drawer library (or writing) desk with carved lion and gargoyle heads and matching director's chair, in the original finish.
Also sold will be a 2001 Coachmen Leprechaun motor home (Model 314-SS, $57,000 new) with very low miles on the odometer, a pair of Suzuki dirt bikes, a 2-carat diamond ring and other estate jewelry, gold and silver coins, Oriental rugs, a wonderful selection of leather sofas and finely upholstered armchairs, sofas and love seats, kitchenware items and more.
There will be no Internet bidding for the auction, but phone and absentee bids will be accepted. Complimentary wine and cheese will be served during the auction.
The contents of the office building (Session I) will feature a nice conference table with a full complement of Hitchcock chairs, Mr. Irwin’s personal office desk and chairs, decorative wall hangings (to include Samurai-style encased swords and artwork), sculptures, file cabinets, oak benches and more. Between the home and office, around 35 Hitchcock chairs will be sold.
Prior to his death in 2009, Mr. Irwin was a fixture around Litchfield, with his horse farm, inn and other businesses. These included a company called Integrated Control Systems, Inc. (nicknamed IMPAC), and other businesses of an international nature. Originally from Florida, Mr. Irwin went from door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman to highly successful businessman.
A portion of the proceeds of the auction will go to benefit a charity Mr. Irwin started called the Irwin Foundation, which continues to operate in his name. A qualified educational charity, the Irwin Foundation is a sponsor of the Dublin Literary Award in Ireland, to benefit promising young authors (Mr. Irwin enjoyed dual citizenship in the United States and Ireland).
Mr. Irwin was best known for being the owner-operator of Thunder Ridge Farms, the host site of the estate auction and a large, 36-stall horse farm complete with riding paddocks; as well as the Litchfield Inn, which he had built himself and which still operates today (under new ownership). Mr. Irwin’s untimely passing left a large void in the Litchfield business community.
There will be plenty of free on-site parking for the auction (although visitors are asked to be considerate and not block anyone’s way). Bidders are also encouraged to bring their own boxes and packaging materials. For larger items, a pick-up time after the auction is over can be arranged. For winning phone and absentee bidders, Tim’s, Inc., recommends We Pack & Ship, located in nearby Stonington, Conn. For more information log on to www.woodalltransport.com.
Terms of the sale are $100 cash deposit for a bidder number (refundable upon return of the bidder number or purchase), a 15 percent buyer’s premium for cash (payable in full on the day of the auction), and an 18 percent buyer’s premium for known checks by Tim’s, Inc. No charge cards will be accepted, and there will be a $50 charge for any and all returned checks.
Admittance to the auction and preview will be in the form of a suggested $5 donation for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in memory of Peter W. Chaplulis, Tim’s late father. To date, Tim’s, Inc. has raised over $37,400 for the charity, which treats cancer patients regardless of their ability to pay. St. Jude Children’s Hospital was founded by entertainer Danny Thomas.
Tim’s, Inc. is celebrating 32 years in business (1979-2011). The firm is always accepting quality estates, collections and valuables for future sales. To consign an item, estate or collection, you may call Tim Chapulis at (860) 459-0964, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional information about Tim’s, Inc., and the Oct. 9 James B. Irwin estate sale, you may log on to www.timsauction.com.
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Ken Hall writes pre-sale and post-sale press releases for auction houses, for a fee. He writes, submits and tracks stories for clients. Submissions are published in trade magazines, posted on industry websites and appear in local newspapers.