JoAnne Weisensee of East Greenwich came to see the Oscar statute up close.
“I figured this was as close to the real thing that I’d ever get,” Weisensee said at the Briarbrook Auction at the Varnum Armory on Main Street in East Greenwich Monday night.
The statuette stood behind plexiglass, guarded by a security officer and handled by hands covered in white gloves. The bidding took only a little more than three minutes. In the end, a bidder calling in got the golden statute for $79,200. The winning bid was $66,000 but with a 20 percent buyer’s premium, the total price was $79,200. Rumor had it, the caller was in California but Briarbrook Auction owner Nanci Thompson was mum.
“Oh yes, you’d know who they are,” she said before the living bidding started to a man who pressed her.
“I bet it’s Spielberg,” the man said. “It’s Spielberg, isn’t it? Come on, come on.”
“I can’t tell you,” said Thompson. “It’s $32,000 right now online. It started at $5,000.”
That’s a lot for Briarbrook, but she said not necessarily a big number for an Oscar, noting that an Oscar owned by Orson Welles went for $1.6 million.
“We’re happy for anything over $30,000 – $40,000. And the consigners will be very happy,” said Thompson. She said the Oscar was one of the biggest items Briarbrook had ever auctioned off.
The Thompsons, known for Briarbrook Farm on South County Trail, started up Briarbrook Auction eight years ago. Nanci and her siblings grew up on the family farm but also with antiques, she said.
“My dad was in the auction business many years ago, always loved antiques. We had an antiques shop. I used to play in the antiques shop when I was a kid. It was on the other side of our house, on the other side of the farm. My Aunt Ruthie used to run it.”
For Monday’s auction, when Nanci stepped up to run the bidding for the Oscar, a big smile on her face, the crowd clapped with enthusiasm for this special moment. And they clapped again when bidding reached $66,000.
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