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Final sale of Penney memorabilia starts Friday

The second and final sale of the belongings of art collector Charles Rand Penney is scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Buffalo.

This sale will include hundreds of items that weren't appraised in time for the first estate sale, held in Lockport's Kenan Arena in September. Unsold items from that event also will be offered.

The second Penney sale will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in the Carriage House at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, 641 Delaware Ave. Admission is free.

"We're going to have a tag price, but there's going to be a sign that says everything is 50 percent off," said F. Gerard Hogan, the Lockport lawyer who is serving as executor of Penney's estate.

He said the Theodore Roosevelt site was chosen because Penney's grandfather, Thomas Penney, was the prosecutor in the trial of Leon Czolgosz, the assassin who fatally shot President William McKinley at Buffalo's Pan-American Exposition on Sept. 6, 1901.

McKinley's death eight days later brought Roosevelt to the presidency, and he was sworn into office at what was long called the Wilcox Mansion.

World's fairs and local history were among Charles Rand Penney's many collecting interests, and that will be reflected at this week's sale.

"We have a lot of stuff from the 1901 Pan-American Exposition," Hogan said.

Also on sale will be memorabilia from the New York City world's fairs of 1853, 1939 and 1964, among many others.

Hogan said much of Penney's fair collection has been sold on a website called worldsfairauction.com, but the operator wants a break.

"The guy who is running the auctions of world's fair stuff for us says he's just burned out handling our stuff. He's done five or six sales for us," Hogan said.

Other new material will include Penney's 700-volume reference library; a large collection of art books and Buffalo history books; art works; and ethnographic souvenirs from Penney's world travels.

"We keep finding things. He had all these places where he kept stuff, architectural drawers and what have you," Hogan said.

Much of Penney's high-end art collection has been consigned to New York City galleries for sale or placement in art auctions.

Penney's will envisioned the sale of most of his collections, except for a few items reserved for legatees.

Hogan said the September sale at the Kenan Arena grossed more than $130,000.

The heirs named in the will include seven nieces and nephews, a few friends, the E.H. Butler Library at Buffalo State College, the Buffalo Museum of Science and the Erie Canal Discovery Center.

Penney's will, filed in Niagara County Surrogate's Court, set up a share system for distributing the proceeds of the estate sales.

Penney, who died in 2010 at age 87, left much of his local art to the Burchfield Penney Art Center at Buffalo State College and the Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University in Lewiston.

He donated a large collection of Niagara County memorabilia to the Erie Canal Discovery Center in Lockport, and the Buffalo Museum of Science also received Penney material, chiefly from his travels.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com