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By Nancy Kelly

ALBION, Mich. — Nearly camouflaged against the snow-covered lawn, a nice selection of white wicker furniture served as a promise that warmer weather will return some day during a recent auction in Albion.

Held as a means for homeowner Marilyn Hennon — a science teacher and world traveler — to downsize her estate, this auction boasted an eclectic selection of fine merchandise, as well as many useful household items. Kevin Belcher of Belcher Auction Company was hired for the task, and auction goers were greeted with a yard full of auction lots carefully arranged on the snowy lawn. Assisted by his wife Angie Belcher, his sister Kristin Gaston, and ring man Marlin Mack, Belcher quickly dispersed the inventory. There was no buyer’s premium charged; a four percent handling fee for credit card purchases was added.

The wicker furniture from the front lawn proved to be among the most popular items at the event, with a group consisting of two lounge chairs and two regular chairs leading with a high bid of $160. A three-piece set with a rocker, love seat and table finished at $45 and another three-piece grouping with two chairs and a love seat featuring some ornate tan trim drew a final bid of $105.

Good quality furniture proved to be most in demand for auction goers, all in exceptionally fine condition. A handsome two-piece solid maple dining room china cabinet was eagerly claimed with a high bid of $115, while a stack of eight wooden high-backed chairs that were from the same dining room went to a high bidder $120.

A small drop-front desk was won for a final bid of $95. An antique carpenter’s chest without any decorative flourish still proved to be very much in demand, drawing a final price of $110, while a more typical antique travel trunk finished at $50. A dark wood buffet-style cabinet with five drawers and two doors was made to look like an antique but was of contemporary construction. This much-admired piece found a new home for a final bid of $110. A handsome antique converted rope bed with massive wooden acorn posts was considered by many before leaving with a high bid of $105. Two ornate spoon-carved wooden items also did well, with the commode drawing a final bid of $85 and the three-drawer dresser finishing at $105.

Hennon offered a variety of her souvenirs that she had accumulated during her travels during this action. Two Russian balalaikas were presented for consideration. These three-stringed, triangular hollow-bodied wooden instruments were well-received, with one closing at $95 and the other at $85. A very handsome John Bright, London Ontario harpsichord with a flawless wood body and a sweet sound waited patiently in the snow before being claimed with a high bid of $35. An eye-catching angel statue measuring approximately 18-inch tall that was labeled Hand Made - Olive Wood Bethlehem conveyed a feeling of beauty and peace. This grained item started the auction out with a high bid of $35. Two Egyptian wall art pieces made of papyrus that were carefully framed behind glass also crossed the block. One showed onankh, one of the most familiar of Egyptian hieroglyphs, and the other showed a standing woman with many symbols in the picture. They were claimed with bids of $10 each.

A brightly colored 9-inch tall Cloisonne Jing Jing horse from China crossed the block with a final bid of $15.

Stacked unobtrusively on a table was a pile consisting of 10 sterling silver forks and 10 spoons. The very ornate forks bore a three-initial monogram along with small flowers and leaves traveling up their handles. The bidding quickly accelerated until it halted at the winning price of $120. The 10 spoons had a simpler flower design, and they were claimed with a high bid of $75. A mixed stack of miscellaneous spoons finished at $50 while a selection of 11 Landers Frary & Clark mother of pearl handled steak knives closed at $35.

Some other miscellaneous highlights include a stately Herschede Tempus Fugit 3-weight grandfather clock. It reminded the auction goers of its presence by chiming the hours. This massive timepiece left for a new home with a final bid of $45. A delicate watercolor painting featuring flowers that was created by local artist Natalie Gillham in 1990 was rehomed for a bid of $50. A narrowly-constructed antique wooden sled with faded floral decoration that is sometimes referred to as Currier and Ives style proved popular, drawing a final bid of $80.

But one of the surprises of the day was the lightweight hand-stitched tapestry with short fringe done in muted red, orange, and blue. The homeowner referred to it as her piano shawl. It was in immaculate condition and was on display in the front yard for the early part of the auction. There were few absentee bidders for this auction, but this beautiful work of art was claimed by one in New York for $75.

Belcher Auction Company, in business since 1919, has a busy year ahead. They can be contacted at (269) 781-7100 or via their website