March 22, 2019
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Rockefeller’s golf clubs, microwave oven among items to be auctioned off on MDI

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
Close to 400 items that used to belong to billionaire and seasonal Mount Desert Island resident David Rockefeller Sr. will go to auction this Friday.

Close to 400 items that used to belong to billionaire and seasonal Mount Desert Island resident David Rockefeller Sr., who died last year at age 101, are scheduled to be auctioned off in Northeast Harbor on Friday.

The items being auctioned off were not among more than 1,500 items auctioned off in May by Christie’s, which raised more than $832 million for 12 charities that Rockefeller identified as beneficiaries in his will. Three paintings sold at the May auction — one each by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Claude Monet — together raised $280 million.

Jerry Miller, a Mount Desert resident whose company is handling the latest auction, said Monday that the items to be auctioned off are “everyday stuff” that Rockefeller kept at Ringing Point, his estate in Seal Harbor that was purchased earlier this year for $19 million.

“It’s a mix of everything, and that’s the point,” Miller said. “I wanted to have something that everyone could take an interest in.”

The auction will be open to the public. It is scheduled for noon Friday at the Neighborhood House in Northeast Harbor. Items can be previewed at the auction site from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to noon the day of the auction, Miller said.

Among the items to be auctioned include African and Japanese artwork, furniture and Rockefeller’s rigging knife, which is a type of knife sailors typically carry at sea, Miller said. Other items include paintings, rugs, a set of golf clubs, a microwave oven, a coffee maker, fireplace tools, household linens and dishes, baskets, and a host of other antiques and collectibles, according to lists posted online.

“There’s no ‘star of the show,’” Miller said of items that would be expected to draw a lot of interest. “It’s a very eclectic mix.”

Proceeds raised by Friday’s auction will benefit The Mount Desert Land & Garden Preserve, as specified in Rockefeller’s will. Other nonprofit organizations also are expected to receive money raised by the auction, Miller said, but the executors of Rockefeller’s will have not disclosed the names of those organizations.

Rockefeller gave generously to the preserve during his lifetime, including the gift of approximately 1,000 acres of contiguous land on Mount Desert Island in 2015. In his will, he also left $5 million to land conservation group Maine Coast Heritage Trust, a small uninhabited island off Swan’s Island to his daughter Eileen, and a painting by Andrew Wyeth titled “River Cove” to the Portland Museum of Art, according to Forbes magazine.

Miller declined to predict how much money might be raised at Friday’s auction, but he predicted that a “couple hundred” people might show for the start of the bidding. Given Rockefeller’s relatively high profile, Miller said the items being auctioned off might raise more money than they would if Rockefeller wasn’t widely known.

“There’s no telling,” Miller said.

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