Up for grabs this week: A handcrafted cedar chest built by Jimmy Carter, a guitar signed by Bon Jovi, a talking Jimmy Carter action figure, and a private fishing tour with the Italian model Fabio.
Signed photographs of five U.S. presidents and original oil paintings by Carter are also among the items the former president will be auctioning off this week to raise money for The Carter Center’s efforts to advance global peace and healthcare.
The auction, which will be held Saturday, is part of a five-day retreat for Carter Center supporters at the Lansdowne Resort and Spa in Leesburg, Va., from June 26 - 30. And, as in the past, the auction offers a unique mix of the serious and the quirky.
There are several green and white vests and scarves from the 1980 Carter-Mondale Campaign, as well as a chance to bid on a signed oak barrel that housed Single Estate Old South Georgia Rum that Carter helped produce during a visit to the Richland Distilling Company. It includes 12 bottles of the spirit.
Various guitars signed by Carter, the Rolling Stones and Joan Jett will go on sale next to a replica of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Site’s “Behold,” statue, inspired by the mini-series “Roots.”
Since its inception in 1992, the the auction has raised over $31 million towards The Carter Center’s global outreach. The Carter Center’s budget was over $100 million in 2018, not including in-kind gifts.
“The Carter Center raises money in a variety of ways, and this is one of the most fun,” said Carter Center spokesperson Deanna Congileo. “The money supports the peace and health programs of The Carter Center across the board, which include work to strengthen democracy, resolve conflicts, advance human rights, eliminate neglected tropical diseases, and improve access to mental health care.”
Last year, the auction raised more than $3.5 million, including $11,500 for a pair of running sneakers autographed by Carter. The highest bid last year went to “Rachel and Cotton,” an original 2016 Carter oil painting. The portrait of Rachel Clark, a tenant farmer on Carter’s family farm and influential figure from Carter’s childhood, sold for $600,000.
In 2017, an unidentified bidder paid $525,000 for Carter’s oil painting, “Monarchs and Milkweed.”
But not all of the items are Carter or presidentially related.
This year, bidders also will have a chance to win a seven-night vacation to Destin, Fla., where they’ll stay in a beachfront condo, tour the area in a vintage 1951 Cessna, and get a professional photography session on the beach.
Additional items include:
- A Hermès Birkin bag made from genuine ostrich leather
- A private concert by folk singer Peter Yarrow
- An autographed photo of President Jimmy Carter with Hank Aaron after the Hall of Famer broke Babe Ruth’s home run record
- A one-of-a-kind lightweight performance fishing boat with seating for two
- Hand-turned and crafted wooden bowls by artist Mike Snegg
- Vacations to Hawaii, France, and Martha’s Vineyard
Live and silent auction catalogs of the items, as well as instructions for bidding by fax or proxy can be found on The Carter Center’s auction website.
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