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Synagogue Auction Turns UVI Center into Sea of Riches

Feb. 9, 2008 — On Sunday, Feb. 17, the University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center will be transformed into a sea of treasures — with polite signs bobbing in the air instead of the screams of fans — as the St. Thomas Synagogue takes the floor for its ninth annual auction.
A champagne preview will be held from 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16. The silent auction will open at the Saturday preview; tables will close between 2 and 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Proceeds from the auction help maintain the 175-year-old synagogue, the oldest in the United States and a National Historic Monument, and keep it open to visitors. About 10,000 people visit each year.
The auction always attracts as many curious bidders as it does the ample and amazing display of items. Can you imagine a classic 1976 Porsche 914 in mint condition right here on St. Thomas?
Someone brought one last year and someone else bought it, though organizer Penny Feuerzeig isn't saying who.
However, here's the catch: it's back again this year. "Turns out the wife of last year's buyer doesn't drive a stick shift, so (he) has put it back in the auction," Feuerzeig said Saturday. "The reserve is well below the actual value," she said, "so someone could get a super bargain."
So, those who drive stick and have some disposable income burning a hole in their pockets shouldn't miss a beat getting there.
For the rest of us, Feuerzeig tells of untold riches, no matter our income or what we drive.
Speaking of things not ordinarily found on St. Thomas, baseball fans take note. How about an autographed baseball from the "man with the golden arm," Dodgers great Sandy Koufax? That left arm dominated National League pitching for about a decade in the '50s and '60s.
Feuerzeig said, "We will let Sandy know who won it, and he will personally sign the baseball with the winning bidders name and send it back."
Aside from the world of sports, there's more art, furniture, antiques, jewelry, vacations getaways, artifacts, oriental rugs and stamp collector finds than you can shake a gavel at. That gavel falls sharply at noon Sunday, wielded again by Bruce Wilson of St. Croix, and will run until about 4 p.m.
The silent auction is even better this year, Feuerzeig said, with nearly 70 items, and more coming in. It includes art, gift certificates for restaurants, massages, vintage jewelry, wines and champagnes. Values range from about $50 to $500.
New this year in the regular bidding are Chinese antiques including two armoires, one hand-painted, chests, cabinets and tables. For gourmets, there's a complete tasting menu with wine for four people at the Old Stone Farmhouse, a value of $1,000.
Local art abounds with paintings by Shansi Miller, Kathy Carlson, Tony Romano, Patty Tacquard, Gregory Samuel, Kristin Maize, Lucinda Schutt O'Connell, Karen Bertand, Jonna White and the late Jan Dunn.
Then there's the sale tables and the food. The tables will be laden with something for every pocketbook, including china, crystal, linens, pillows, sunglasses and knick-knacks. Special tables will feature museum-quality pieces by St. John wood turner Avelino Samuel, hand-blown glass jewelry by Timisa Cree and "smalls" from the collection of Dr. Patricia Cummins, including old sheet music and postcards.
Chef Brian Katz, formerly of Old Stone Farmhouse, and now executive chef at Yacht Haven Grande, has put together what's called a "new and inviting" menu.
All of the 174 auction items, including silent, can be previewed now at the auction website, which includes photos, or www.onepaper.com/synagogue. Admission is $10 and includes the catalogue.
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