College Media Network

The Observer

The Student Newspaper of Case Western Reserve University
  • Home
  • News
  • Sports
    • Cross Country
    • Football
    • Soccer
  • Fun Page
  • Opinion
  • Focus
    • Sex and Dating
    • Worst Case Scenario
  • About Us
  • Options
    • Login
    • Register
    • Letter to the Editor
    • Advertise
    • Syndication
    • Podcasts
    • Classifieds
    • Archives
    • Search
  • Blog

Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum to auction $1 million in cars

Ross Wasserstrom

Issue date: 9/25/09 Section: News
  • Print
  • Email
  • Page 1 of 1

[Click to enlarge]

[Click to enlarge]

[Click to enlarge]

[Click to enlarge]
The Western Reserve Historical Society is auctioning off almost $1 million in cars that it has deemed unnecessary to the collection's future. The cars range from 1919 to 1976 and include Italian, British, and American cars worth up to 250,000.

The Historical Society's decision to put these particular cars up for auction indicates both a restructuring of the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum's collection and the brutal economic landscape faced by private non-profit organizations. The economy has hit non-profits particularly hard as disposable income from wealthy donors has all but vanished in the past year. Moreover, the Historical Society has residual debt that it is trying to eradicate.

"The Western Reserve Historical Society has over 150 automobiles in its collection," says Shari Kochman, vice president of Institutional Advancement. "The cost of preserving and restoring so many cars is just too high. We felt we could part with these particular vehicles while still maintaining the integrity of the collection."

The 18 cars up for auction in Hershey, Pa. range from Bentleys to Pontiacs, and span seven decades. Some of the most precious items for sale are a 1930 Belanger Indianapolis Racer and a Pierce Arrow from the same year, each estimated to fetch at least $150,000. For more current tastes, there is a 1963 Chevrolet Corvette and a 1973 Jaguar e-Type, each valued at about $50,000.

The Historical Society is currently selling other manuscripts, documents, and artifacts, but the auto auction represents the largest item- and dollar- liquidation.

"Many volunteers and donors are sad to see a part of the Crawford collection sold.  Honestly, so are [all the staff], and it's not just the Crawford collection that is being affected," said Kochman.  "Non-mission related items from all of our collections are being [released].  And yet, it's crucial for the future of the Historical Society that we pay off old debt at the same time that we right-size our institution and balance our operations."

The Historical Society's Macedonia location recently opened for tours of the restoration and preservation of the half of the Crawford collection not currently on display. Many associated with the museum were reluctant to let the cars be sold, but Kochman insists it is a natural, and necessary, adjustment.

"Most large museums maintain collections far larger than their display space provides; this allows items in the showrooms to be rotated regularly. As we have accrued more items, however, some have become less relevant, and others have been replaced by more valuable versions of the same vehicle. We felt we could safely sell these vehicles."

The auction will include the eighteen automobiles from Crawford, as well as over 100 other vehicles from around the country. Lower estimates from the auction house total the Historical Society's vehicles at about $900,000, while the highest estimate could surpass $1.2 million.

The cars will be auctioned off through RM Auctions, a Canada-based auction house that specializes in antique automobiles, during the second weekend in October.
Page 1 of 1

Article Tools

Viewing Comments 1 - 2 of 2



    posted 9/26/09 @ 10:29 AM EST

    First they sold the Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang car - will they be holding on to the first DeLorean and/or the last Avanti??

    Details   Reply to this comment

    Stan Witkowski

    posted 9/27/09 @ 1:37 PM EST

    The WRHS is selling away the history of the Western Reserve against the wishes of Kay Crawford, surviving widow of Fred Crawford, the man who started this collection. (Continued…)

    Details   Reply to this comment

    Post a Comment

    In This Issue


    • Case EMS 'saves the day' at mass casualty drill
    • Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum to auction $1 million in cars
    • CWRU celebrates Constitution Day
    • Have you heard about women in liberal arts?
    • Reality star's "One-for-One" business model inspires mtvU to seek out "Movers & Shakers"
    • Sigma Nu fire ruled unintentional, sparks housing inspections
    • Speaker continues debate about legal drinking age
    • The new Kindle on campus: CWRU and Amazon partner to test the Kindle DX
    • Can you name this place?


    • Close wins on crooked river
    • Hard work paying off as conference play nears
    • Spartan Spotlight: Mike Vaughn
    • What if Browns were subject to a blackout?

    Fun Page

    • Crossword Solution
    • Sudoku Solution


    • Editorial: Doc Oc memorial needs identification, context
    • Genocide rape should be treated as weapon of mass destruction
    • Large debates over drinking age missing the point
    • Legalizing drugs: a practical solution
    • Lifestyle changes for a green campus
    • Observer fails to acknowledge event programmers
    • State your case: What do you do with your favorite textbook?


    • Case Swing Club dances the night away with jazz quartet
    • Finding ways around being broke
    • Hitting the Spot: The Jackie Warren Trio
    • Jolly Scholar hosts weekly live music for CWRU musicians
    • Overheard at Case
    • Phish herald triumphant return with Joy-ful new album
    • Rising alternative hip-hop artist Kid Cudi to headline UPB Fall Concert
    • Shoes: strut your way to comfortable, fashion-forward style
    • The Buzz
    • The latest independent release roundup
    • Zombies take over Lakewood for bi-annual Cleveland Charity Zombie Walk

    Cross Country

    • Simpson gets win at Calvin


    • Spartans jump out to 41-0 lead against Yeomen, improve to 3-0

    Sex and Dating

    • Handling the aftermath


    • Spartans come out fast, but Lions escape with win
    • Team jelling after slow start

    Worst Case Scenario

    • The Worst Case Scenario
    National College Advertising and Marketing | Privacy Policy (9/9/09) | Terms of Use (9/9/09)
    Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (4/27/09) | RSS Terms of Use



    This Week's Front Page

    Download Print Edition PDF