The answer is:
* A custom-designed palace for your pet.
* A 1958 District of Columbia Transit System Guide.
* An Early American tole footbath, circa 1800.
And the question: What were some of the items offered yesterday afternoon at "Another Great Preservation Auction," sponsored by Don't Tear It Down, a citizens' group that for many years has campaigned for preservation of historic sites in the District.
For $15 apiece ($25 admitted two), about 300 people milled around the Pension Building, eyeing and bidding on more than 350 items, including the ones listed above, during the silent auction part of the event.
Later, a live auction offered about a dozen items, ranging from an ash tray from the Stork Club in New York City, which went for $170, to a mahogany desk, circa 1800 from Rhode Island, which sold for $1,200.
And although the more expensive items went during the last hour, it was the less expensive, more unusual offerings at the silent auction that attracted the most bidders. On sheets of paper at booths categorized as HELP!, THE GALLERY, POTPOURRI, ARTIFACTS and ENTERTAINMENT, a minimum bid was listed for each item, which either was sitting next to the paper or described in a paragraph on the bid sheet.
For example, at the booth called WASHINGTONIANA, Item No. 247 was the art deco blue "Telephone" mirror sign from the Blue Mirror Grill, formerly in the 1300 block of F Street NW. The minimum accepted was $25.
At the GOOD TASTE booth, a fierce bidding war was being fought on paper for item No. 609 -- "Plantation Paradise" -- dinner for eight in the Herle Library at Gunston Hall in Virginiaplus a private candlelight tour of the plantation house. Minimum bid: $80. The final price was at least $225.
Linda Low, a member of Don't Tear It Down, wasn't budging from the GOOD TASTE table, near item No. 610.
"I covet the Italian dinner for eight," Low said in a low voice, glancing over her shoulder like a spy looking for an undercover enemy. Item No. 610 was titled "Eat Your Heart Out" and read: "Northern Italian dinner for eight with appropriate wine, homemade pasta etc. Good during the first six months of 1983." The minimum bid accepted was $80.
"How high will you go?" she was asked.
Low looked around again. "You're not writing this until tomorrow, are you?" she asked with a grin, but a half-serious tone.
"$320," Low answered softly.
Her bid was the highest at $185.