On Saturday, successful bidders at an auction at Gettysburg’s American Civil War Wax Museum will be taking home life-sized figures of President Abraham Lincoln, Generals Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman as well as unnamed slaves, soldiers and civilians.
The 52-year-old museum that featured tableaus from the war such as the assassination of Lincoln was sold last year and is expected to open in late-June with new exhibits.
The auction begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 15 and will continue until all 303 items that include furniture, paintings and books are sold, said museum general manager, Stephanie Lightner. Bidders won’t see the actual items but will bid on images projected on a screen. She said the museum will be open Saturday for last minute inspections between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m.
As of Friday, about 200 people had signed up for bid cards during the preview and as many as 300 more are expected Saturday, Lightner said. Successful bidders don’t have to worry about the figures melting on the trip home because only one of the approximately 100 characters is made of wax. The others are made of vinyl but direct sunlight could fade their colors, she said.
Lightner said she is unable to estimate what the auction will bring because this is the first of its type. “I do know that a new figure today, just a generic person, would cost between $6,000 and $8,000,” she said. “If it is customized to resemble a certain personality with special hair and eye color, the cost would be about $15,000.”
According to an advertisement by the auction house, buyers will need to have Visa, MasterCard or cash.