Monday, May 17, 2004

Nunn auction draws crowd

The Associated Press

VERSAILLES - Hundreds braved rain this weekend to bid on items owned by the late Kentucky Gov. Louie B. Nunn.

Many at the sale on Saturday were friends and admirers of Nunn, who died Jan. 29 of a heart attack at his Woodford County home. He was 79.

Keith Cupp, a Nunn supporter when he ran for governor in 1967, described the 1,000 or so auction items as "a compilation of history from the Nunn family, the Republican party and the history of our Commonwealth. Here's a lifetime being sold out in two days."

Before bidding commenced, Nunn's son, state Rep. Steve Nunn of Glasgow, welcomed the crowd and recalled that in recent years, his father would say, when asked how he was doing, "There's not a cloud in the sky."

Steve Nunn went on: "Today there's not a cloud in the sky. Tomorrow there's not a cloud in the sky. We appreciate you coming."

The auction was held in the front yard of the mansion at 3000 Frankfort Road that Nunn had leased for several years from the University of Kentucky.

Morrow Richards bought a sterling silver julep cup for $300.

"I've been paying $500" for similar cups, said Richards, of Lexington, a silver collector and president of the Owingsville Banking Co.

Rains soaked the auction tent at 10 a.m., delaying the start of the sale for about 20 minutes.

Toss Chandler, mother of Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, browsed tables of silver, glass and porcelain prior to the auction, saying she was looking for a memento.

"I want a little something," she said. "Louie the governor was a very good friend of mine."

Midway antiques dealer Betty Sue Walters bought two crystal ice buckets - one for $175, the other for $225 - for Connie Whitfield, wife of Congressman Ed Whitfield of Hopkinsville.

One of the top bidders Saturday morning was Nunn's daughter, Jennie Lou Penn, who paid $450 each for 12 sterling silver goblets. She also was the high bidder at $2,900 for a Steuben Glass horse's head.

Jamie Bates with Thompson & Riley Ltd., who conducted the auction, said the horse's head was one of only three known to be made.

"One was given to President Richard Nixon, one to Gov. Nunn and the third kept by Steuben," Bates said.

Penn said she wanted to keep it in the family.

"It's heart-wrenching," Penn said. "Everything reminds me of my dad."

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