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It did not take long for Teddy Bison to attract a potential buyer as miniature versions of 50 Herd About Buffalo bisons went on the Internet auction block Monday.

Just after the online sale opened, somebody using the name ForGreatCause plunked down $400 for the tabletop model of the Teddy Roosevelt look-alike buffalo -- created by artists Doris M. Collins and Joseph McCabe -- that guarded the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site on Delaware Avenue all summer long. The price jumped to $500 by today.

Offers for the other 49 ceramic critters quickly began registering on the auction Web site, indicating that interest in the Herd remains high more than three months after the 154 decorated life-size animals were auctioned off, capping the most successful public art project in the city's history and raising $1.5 million for Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the Burchfield-Penney Art Center.

The early action in the "mini-auction" was more good news for Roswell Park, which is counting on five days of online activity to set starting prices for a silent auction that will take place during the institute's sold-out "All Star Night" gala Saturday in the Adam's Mark Hotel.

"It doesn't surprise me one bit, after the way the community embraced and rallied around this project," said Kim Venti, Roswell Park director of development communications. "People have been calling about coming to see the miniatures, but we don't have the space, security or time to hold a public event."

Although the online portion of the auction will close Friday morning, sealed bids for the silent auction can be submitted via computer until 3 p.m. Friday.

One mini-bison that bidders will not be able to see prior to the gala is being created by noted artist Peter Max in New York City. The work was commissioned by Jon and Linda Nagle Weiss, local artists who are friends of Max.

Max's entry, listed without a picture under "coming soon" in the last of five on-line lots, was quickly bid up to $1,0000 in the early going.

Two other miniatures will not be for sale at any price. The diamond-studded minis were created by Debbie Walsh of the Herd About Buffalo committee as gifts to Christopher Wilkins, husband of the late Patricia Capstraw Wilkins, who conceived the art project, and Sally Russell, campaign co-chairwoman. Walsh was a close friend of Patricia Wilkins.

The ceramic bisons, which can be located on the Web site, were created by the same artists who designed the larger fiberglass animals and molded by 17 Buffalo State College ceramics students supervised by Robert Wood, professor of design, and his assistant, Jerry Smith. Metal sculptor Steve Saracino, who heads the Buffalo State design department, created the mold design.

Roswell Park's 11th annual gala will open with cocktails and the silent auction at 6 p.m., with dinner at 8.

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