Old West artifacts recoup $2.7M for Harrisburg
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The auction of thousands of Old West artifacts purchased by a former Harrisburg mayor for a failed museum project has netted about $2.7 million for the debt-laden city as it tried to recoup the money spent on the collection, a newspaper reported.
The auction ended Sunday with around $3.2 million in proceeds after buyers’ premiums were counted, the Patriot-News of Harrisburg reported. The city will keep about $2.7 million after paying the auctioneer. That’s enough to pay off the $2.5 million remaining on a $7.2 million loan secured by the artifacts, the newspaper said.
The sale means the total recouped by the city for the 10,000-piece collection is about $4.4 million out of about $8.3 million paid.
Former Mayor Stephen Reed bought the artifacts with public money to fill three unrealized museums, with the first focused on the Old West. They include hundreds of guns, furniture, documents with historical significance and a stuffed buffalo.
It was the second auction for the collection. Some of it was sold by Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas five years ago. That sale raised about $2 million, but some items failed to sell and were returned to the city.
Many bidders were motivated by Reed and the controversy surrounding him and the artifacts.