Scratch one absolutely fabulous and historic estate sale…
Just like that, the executor of the estate of former KC Mayor Ilus W Davis and his wife, civic leader Bea Davis put the kibosh late last week on one of what would surely have been one of the grandest estate sales in recent Kansas City history.
"I was on my way over there when I got the email that it had been cancelled," says former Shawnee Councilwoman Tracy Thomas. "I was hoping to see if he had any mayoral memorabilia or maybe a copy of the Doubleday book I wrote with Walt Bodine that mentioned mayor Davis."
‘It was a helluva sale – not," says estate sale pro Kathe Kaul, who was quarterbacking the grand event. "I don’t want to say much more."
So what happened?
"Well, the executor decide to pull back and not sell (some of) the things that were listed for sale," Kaul explains. "He wanted to retain many of the items, which is not allowed as you know…And there were 150 people waiting to get in and we had undercover and off-duty police officers and a dozen staffers."
The number of items up for grabs:
"Well, in addition to 1,300 books, I don’t know, it’s hard to say," Kaul says. "But I’d say, probably 500 other individual items that were tagged and appraised."
As for what the executor – son/author/bon vivant Chris Davis – wanted to keep, "For example, he wanted to keep the entire collection of books," Kaul says. "All 1,300 of them and we had every book open and tagged."
That after Kaul spent days and more than 100 hours researching, putting together and staging the event at the mayor’s Ward Parkway area home at 1001 West 59th Terrace in Kansas City, Missouri.
Items slated to be sold at the two day event include, "Fine 20th Century Art" like a "Pablo Picasso – Spanish/French, 1881-1973 – Femmeaux long cheveux (Franoise Gilot), lithograph…signed lower right in pencil" and Japanese artist Kikugawa Eizan‘s Five Holidays of a Green House.
"Fine Antique Furniture" ranged from a "Late 18th century Irish mahogany drop-leaf gate leg wake table, rounded rectangular single board top flanked by two hinged demilune drop leaves" to a "Tibetan polychrome pine & oak cabinet" and a "Venetian bombe chest with chinoiserie painted decoration & trompe l’oeil marble top."
Other upscale items of interest included a pair of Altec-Lansing "Voice of the Theater" A4 speakers, an "Apricot suede tuxedo loveseat" – even a "painted & silvered double bombe commode."
Double bombe…now that’s what I call toilet!
Needless to say, the list goes on and on ranging from fine jewelry, china and crystal, expensive rugs, statuary and "tribal, primitive & other collectibles."
In other words, it was HUGE!
But in the world of estate sales, Kaul says, it’s a no-no to advertise items that are not for sale.
"Not when those items were the things people came in for," she explains.
Kaul’s take on getting her world rocked and the sale torpedoed 15 minutes prior to opening?
"Oh, I’m disappointed," she says diplomatically. "But you know, I have other sales coming up and they’ll be good sales and I know I operated with integrity. Nobody was mad at me, but they were quite disturbed it was cancelled at the last minute. And some of them had driven in 150 miles and other waited two or three hours for it to begin."
Davis was reportedly in California, preparing to be married this week and could not be reached.