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Harrisburg sets date for Wild West auction - abc27 WHTM

Harrisburg sets date for Wild West auction

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Harrisburg's Wild West artifacts finally have a date with the auction block.

Mayor Linda Thompson and Guernsey's Auction House of New York City announced plans Tuesday for a week-long auction.

From July 15-20, City Island will host five days of unreserved auction. Thompson said the auction would be capped off by a one-day, live-only auction July 21.

Arlan Ettinger, CEO of Guernsey's, plans to make this auction a "fun" and "worthwhile" week in Harrisburg.

"I can assure everyone that there will be surprises," Ettinger said.

Auctions ads have already hit national publications, and all the hype may give Harrisburg the hope it needs financially.

City officials have estimated that former Mayor Stephen Reed spent more than $8 million to purchase the artifacts over many years with his Special Projects Fund.

Thompson, however, hopes the lot is worth $3-4 million, but will yield about $2-3 million after commissions.

What Thompson does best is to look on the bright side and remain positive about the sale, helping hype the event herself.

"Mark your calendars and book your hotel reservations now," she said with enthusiasm.

The auction plans to piggyback off celebrations in Gettysburg marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War battle. Tourists already in the area for the sesquicentennial festivities, it is hoped, will stay another week and peruse Reed's relics.

"Bidders will come from all around the country and world to participate live in person," said Thompson.

Up for sale are about 2,500 lots of historic merchandise. Ettinger said more than 500 antique firearms would be sold. He said some guns hold great value because of the gunslingers that used them or the manufactures that made them.

It's not only Wild West artifacts on the auction block, but collectibles from the Revolutionary War to World War II.

Buyers will be able to preview the items during the weekend of July 13-14 at the Harrisburg Public Works building. Ettinger believes this is the perfect time to sell.

"Right now, material relating to the Old West is burning ... It's good," he said.

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