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Monday, June 1, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Patsy’s patrimony: Antiques from mining magnate Clark’s days are for sale

A seven-piece Tiffany desk set made of gilt bronze and once owned by Patsy Clark is for sale at Lillian Conn Antiques in Spokane. The set sits on Clark’s Moorish or Kashmiri coffee table with a copper inset. (Dan Pelle)
A seven-piece Tiffany desk set made of gilt bronze and once owned by Patsy Clark is for sale at Lillian Conn Antiques in Spokane. The set sits on Clark’s Moorish or Kashmiri coffee table with a copper inset. (Dan Pelle)

A group of antiques said to have come from the Patsy Clark Mansion and dating back to the mining magnate’s day are up for sale and on display at a North Monroe Street antique shop.

The showing is just in time for his birthday, St. Patrick’s Day.

Included are a Tiffany Studios desk set with picture frame and a fabulous French-style clock with matching candelabra.

The items are a glimpse of the luxury in the 1898 mansion designed by renowned architect Kirtland Cutter, who spared no expense in assembling the finest craftsmanship and materials from around the world.

Lillian Conn Antiques, 1001 W. Augusta Ave., is showing the pieces today through April 15.

“I’ve never seen a Tiffany desk set in my whole life,” said Dinah Carlson, owner of the shop, itself a historic mansion.

Dave Dixon, a great-great-grandson of Clark, is putting the items up for sale. He said he wants them to go to someone who would appreciate them rather than having them collect dust at his house.

At the same time, the sales will raise money for his son’s college education, which he considers a tribute to his antecedents, he said.

Dixon said the items were handed down through family, including the Tiffany desk set that was “headed to the garbage,” according to family lore.

Research indicates that the desk set, done in gilt bronze and decorated in an American Indian motif, could be worth $10,000 or more. A picture frame similar to the one included in the Clark set reportedly sold at auction for $5,000. “It blows me away,” Dixon said of its value.

The eight-piece set also has a letter opener, envelope holder, ink well, stamp holder, small tray, ink blotter and anchor ends for a desk blotter.

Another sale piece is a curious hand-carved table with an uncertain style that could be Moorish or Kashmiri. The table holds an ornate, hand-hammered copper tray in the middle. As a single item, the table is believed to be worth $1,500.

Dixon said that when he got the table, it was so damaged that he had to have it restored. “It was all broke and pretty well destroyed,” he said.

Also for sale are three sets of riding spurs, including Fleming silver overlay spurs, and a small Chinese stool. The stool is valued at $795.

On display, but not for sale, is a Samuel Marti clock that was likely sold through Tiffany with its matching candelabra, all done in the Louis XVI French style. A 1900 Johnson Furniture Co. desk rounds out the collection. It also is not for sale.

Dixon’s great-grandmother, Ella Clark, was one of Patsy Clark’s children.

Patsy Clark was born in Ireland in 1850 and came to the U.S. at age 20, according to the nomination report used to place the mansion on the state and national historic registers in 1975.

Clark developed mines across the U.S., moving his family to Spokane in the late 1880s.

The mansion at 2208 W. Second Ave. is described in the nomination as an “eclectic blur of styles bearing little resemblance to any of the more standard architectural types found elsewhere in Browne’s Addition.”

The mix of circular turrets, columns and rounded archways reflect Romanesque and Italianate styles.

Patsy Clark died in 1915, and his widow sold the mansion in 1926. Later, it was converted to be the Francis Lester Inn, but many of the furnishings were retained. A $1 million restoration in the early 1980s led to the opening of Patsy Clark’s Restaurant.

The law firm of Eymann, Allison, Hunter and Jones bought the landmark in 2002 and undertook extensive additional restoration. The firm uses the upper portions for its offices. The main floor is available for private events.

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