BEAVER CREEK, Colo. – They swung Gerald Ford’s golf clubs, flipped through his record collection with personal greetings from the musicians and paged through some of his books. Then they bought the stuff.
Bidders purchased more than 520 items Saturday belonging to the late president and his wife, Betty, that were auctioned off for charity, the Vail Daily newspaper reported.
Guernsey’s of New York did not immediately have a sales total, but President Arlan Ettinger said everything sold. Ford’s skis went for $16,800, Ettinger said.
Ford died in December at age 93.
When preparing to sell the couple’s Beaver Creek house last fall, Betty Ford gathered several items that her family didn’t have room to keep and donated them.
On Saturday, garden books, magazines, crystal Christmas platters, Asian ceramic figurines and gifts given to the president from foreign dignitaries were spread out across tables as bidders examined them.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Steve Brenner, of Texas. “How often do you get to look at a president’s things right up close?”
Randy Hoge, of Colorado Springs, a Vietnam veteran, said he appreciated the role Ford played in the U.S. withdrawal.
“We know of Ford’s legacy, and we would like to have something of Ford’s legacy,” said Hoge, who swung the golf clubs and eyed a Los Angeles Dodgers jacket.
Auction proceeds will go to Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, which works to conserve high-altitude plants; OK Corral Camp, an outdoor camp for sick children; and the Eagle River Scholarship Fund, for postsecondary education.