Everything must go

Sale of the century: Top items in Houston Club auction include pieces of city history

Sale of the century: Top items in Houston Club auction include pieces of city history

Houston Club auction, January 2013, Vintage chandeliers
A pair of Mid-Century palm frond chandeliers will be sold at the auction.
 
Photo courtesy of Lewis & Maese Auction Co.
Houston Club auction, January 2013, Pair of leather club chairs
One of a pair of leather club chairs Photo courtesy of Lewis & Maese Auction Co.
Houston Club auction, January 2013, Marble Mantle and Surround
An antique Adams Quarry (Massachusetts) marble mantle and fireplace surround from early 20th century Photo courtesy of Lewis & Maese Auction Co.
Houston Club auction, January 2013, Mahogany Telephone Booth Doors
A pair of mahogany telephone booth doors — Dave Lewis says that the wall paneling can be taken, too, with some crowbar action.  Photo courtesy of Lewis & Maese Auction Co.
Houston Club auction, January 2013, Kohler , Campbell Grand Piano
Two Kohler & Campbell grand pianos are among the auction items. Photo courtesy of Lewis & Maese Auction Co.
Houston Club auction, January 2013, Framed images of early Houston
Framed photos of the early days of Houston Photo courtesy of Lewis & Maese Auction Co.
Houston Club auction, January 2013, Carved Console Table
A carved Victorian console table Photo courtesy of Lewis & Maese Auction Co.
Houston Club auction, January 2013, Ben Love
Bronze bust of Ben Love, Houston banker and civic leader who flew for the U.S. Army Air Corps during WW II. Photo courtesy of Lewis & Maese Auction Co.
Houston Club auction, January 2013, Antique German Wine Barrel
An elaborately-carved antique German Hattenheimer/Rheingau “Faces” wine barrel is one of the hottest auction items. Photo courtesy of Lewis & Maese Auction Co.
Houston Club auction, January 2013, Vintage chandeliers
Houston Club auction, January 2013, Pair of leather club chairs
Houston Club auction, January 2013, Marble Mantle and Surround
Houston Club auction, January 2013, Mahogany Telephone Booth Doors
Houston Club auction, January 2013, Kohler , Campbell Grand Piano
Houston Club auction, January 2013, Framed images of early Houston
Houston Club auction, January 2013, Carved Console Table
Houston Club auction, January 2013, Ben Love
Houston Club auction, January 2013, Antique German Wine Barrel

"Houston has never held onto its history," lamented Dave Lewis, co-owner of Lewis & Maese Auction Co., which will sell off the effects of The Houston Club on Saturday.

Lewis referred to the 120,000-square-foot club's contents as "pieces of history," things like a 20th-century Adams Quarry marble mantle and fireplace, framed photos of the Bayou City's early days and bronze busts of local notables like Ben Love. All will be sold in the no-reserves, everything-must-go sale leading up to the demolition of its home for 50 years. 

"The Houston Club is an icon as a social club and as Houston powerhouse," said Lewis, who rattled off a list of VIPs that have dined, met or spoken at the club (former presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter are among them).

Auction previews over the past few days have drawn more former visitors and event attendees, said Lewis, than actual club members. Their numbers have dwindled from 3,500 card-carrying members in the club's heyday to around 1,000 when it joined with the Plaza Club on Jan. 1 of this year.

Notable past members have included M.D. Anderson and Ben Taub, and George H.W. Bush and James Baker continue to claim membership. 

Lewis estimates that a map of the United States from 1861 will be a high-dollar sell, as will a rare, elaborately-carved antique German wine barrel (which currently has the most hits in the online preview). Kitchen equipment and a stereo system are also likely to receive high bids. 

As for a rare David Adickes tapestry featuring his trademark harlequin figures? That'll fetch a high dollar, too.

"I wouldn't be surprised at all if David Adickes himself bought it back," said Lewis. 

The Houston Club auction will begin on Saturday at 11 a.m. Find more information here