Buy of a century – almost
DeKALB – Local residents have a chance to see – and possibly own – a piece of DeKalb history.
Items of Paul M. Nehring, who used to live in a house built in the 400 block of North First Street for members of the Ellwood family, will be sold in an estate sale May 5 and May 6. Chicago-based Coy-Krupp Conducted Sales is handling the sale.
The eight-bedroom house has been donated to the Ellwood House Association. Shirley Hamilton-Nehring has said she is getting too old to maintain the residence and wanted to make sure it went into the right hands. She plans to move to Wisconsin.
Tom Krupp, who is handling the sale and said he grew up in DeKalb, said Paul M. Nehring bought the house in 1943 and filled it with paintings, porcelain, statues, sculptures, books, furniture and other items he bought at auctions, often when Chicago-area mansions were being demolished.
The first and second stories of the house are filled with an eclectic mix of items, from Tiffany lamps and Persian rugs to paintings by Hungarian Fried Pal and a 1950s era toy called Snippy electric paper-craft scissors.
“This house is kind of like a time warp,” Krupp said Friday while giving a tour of the house and sale items. “It’s kind of neat, the mixture of items. You can tell someone lived here.”
Items range from a small blue bowl for $2 to a pair of temple jars from Japan at $12,000. Artwork ranges from less than $100 to $20,000 for works by more well-known artists. There’s a chair made out of antlers at $1,100, and a wooden vase on a shelf just above it for $5.
All are on display in the vast rooms of the first and second floors of the house, which was built in 1898 for the family of Perry Ellwood, son of barbed wire entrepreneur Isaac Ellwood.
The sale starts at 10 a.m. May 5. People will be let into the house in groups to look at items. Numbers that indicate a person’s place in line will be given out starting at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Items are sold on a first-come basis, Krupp said. Negotiations on prices do occur.
“I think everyone is going to want to come see this,” Krupp said.
It’s not an auction, he said, adding that such sales have been company’s business model for 20 years. “It’s a different option,” he said. “People’s items show better in the house, rather than mixed in with other people’s things in an auction.”
Krupp said he is expects a large crowd – local residents and out-of-town collectors.
“There are items anyone can afford, as well as items for serious collectors,” he said.
Brian Reis, executive director of the Ellwood House Museum, there are “a lot of different plans” for the Nehring house, with an end goal of having an enlarged museum campus.
Tours will be offered on the first floor of the house, and art and music events also will be held there, Reis said. The second floor will serve as part of a musical residence program, and museum interns or recent graduates could live there.
Hamilton-Nehring said in November that she planned to stay in the house until April, and while she is sad to leave it, she is happy Ellwood House officials will put it to good use.
“I wanted to give it to someone who would preserve it,” she said late last year. “And the Ellwood House Association, I thought they very much could do this.”
If You Go
What: The estate sale of Paul M. Nehring
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 5 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 6
Where: 417 N. First St. in DeKalb
Know more: Visit www.coykrupp.com for more details and photos.