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News Article  
Pottery threw strong bids at Ellenberger auction
By Karin Milliman

BLUFFTON, Ind. — A donkey and an elephant that were said to have ties to Preisents Rutherford B. Hayes and Benjamin Harrison had bidders interested at an auction conducted by Ellenberger Brothers. The auction was a downsizing event for Ron Sullins who along with his wife Leta owned a circa 1848 home in Fremont, Mich., for many years. After Leta’s death, Ron decided to have an auction

With so many items on the block, Ellenberger Auctions put an auctioneer on the block and an extra pair of eyes just to help watch for bids. They didn’t want to miss anyone and the house was full with bidders spread all over the room at the Wells County 4-H Park in Bluffton, where this auction was held. This proved to be a very comfortable venue with tables, chairs, concessions, and plenty of room to inspect the items offered for sale.

The pair of rare political objects were said to be gifted to President Hayes who gave them to President Harrison who again regifted them to prominent Ohio Republican Ross Black. Black was from Bucyrus, Ohio. With the old documentation provided upon purchase, these two animals kept the prices rising higher and higher. The final bid price stopped at $450 for the pair.

A bird’s-eye maple nightstand with one drawer sold for $50. A beautiful blanket chest with two drawers on the bottom and decorated with two beautiful large hearts across the front sold for the high bid of $175.

A European blanket chest in original conditional and dated 1861 sold for an impressive bid of $275. Jacob Fox was the local undertaker and he was represented as his blanket chest dated 1850 was auctioned off; it sold for the bid of $125 and was in good condition. A small oak writing desk with two small drawers in the front sold for $50. It was in immaculate condition.

A dry sink sold for $140. A bird’s-eye maple dough box had one large drawer on the bottom. The bidding kept rising on this piece and ended being marked sold for the high bid of $275. A tiger maple jelly cupboard was unusual in that it was a corner unit. From the 18th century, this two-piece unit had been restored by David T. Smith. It brought a high bid of $200. A jelly cupboard opened up to reveal four shelves. The doors were tin punch design and this piece was in great shape. It brought a high bid of $375. A European style cupboard also had tin punch doors. It brought a high bid of $300.

A rather unusual chimney cupboard was attributed to David T. Smith. This seven-shelf unit was narrow but tall and sold for a bid of $260. A corner cupboard was dated to the 18th century and was made of cherry. It had a blind door and was made in two pieces for easy transporting. The restoration on this piece was attributed to David T. Smith and was sold for the bid price of $325. Sporting five drawers and period porcelain pulls, a dresser was sold for $50. A very narrow, but very tall six-drawer chest of drawers would be great for holding those smaller necessary items in the bedroom. It was in great condition and sold for the bid of $55.

A low back spindle settee was sold for a bid of $250. A tall accent table was held up and hearts that were carved in showed that this piece was indeed an accent for any room. It sold for $35. A bench measured a full 6 feet across the plank bottom. This was a combination of a cradle and a rocking bench. It has a removable wooden spindle that is put in place to rock the baby so the baby wouldn’t fall out. This piece could be removed when the bench wasn’t being used which created additional seating for adults. This South Carolina piece was in great condition and sold for $175.

Moving from the furniture, a large glass terrarium had one pane missing. This unique shaped piece was styled after an old school house. It sold for $70 in spite of the missing piece.

A banquet lamp had been electrified and was mostly white. Showing off the art work of a few flowers, this piece was the center of attention for a bid. The bid cards were just plain left held in the air and the price kept climbing. The final sold price on this piece was $350. Several crocks were sold which offered a large variety to pick from. A 4-gallon #10 bee sting crock brought a high bid of $125. A #11 crock with a rooster standing proudly on the front was sold for $225. A RH Diebboll Washington, Mich., small jug had a farm and pig scene on it. It was dated between 1949 and 1986. It sold for the bid of $175. Two face jugs were not insulted by the price they were sold for. One was listening and looking to the left. It sold for $200. The second one was showing the teeth in a very wide grin. It sold for a respectable $225. These were both made at Conner Prairie in Noblesville, Ind., in 1990.

Some paintings were taken right off the walls of the vintage home. An original painting by Elizabeth F. Gilkey sold for a bid of $175. Another painting by Gilkey named The Willows dated 1997 sold for a bid of $125.

Ellenberger Brothers Auctions are still going strong. Working out of Bluffton, Indiana, they may be reached at 1-800-373-6363 or at They have been in business in Indiana since 1925 and have a proven track record of success, honesty and integrity in the auction business. With “your satisfaction is our only goal” for their slogan, this company can handle all your auction needs. Give them a call and put their experience in handling all types of outstanding and unique auctions including estate, antique, personal property, all type of real estate, farm machinery, and many other areas, such as fishing, dolls, coins, toys, to name a few, to work for you.