Ron Evans has been interested in history since his school days, and over the years he built a large collection of Athens and UGA memorabilia, which for the last 20 years has been a part of the house museum at Lyndon House. Evans had planned to leave his collection to Athens-Clarke County as a perpetual exhibit but recently was offended by some managerial decisions concerning the exhibit. As a result, he is selling off his extensive collection at an online auction this Sunday, Oct. 25. The city’s loss is your gain, if you have the cash to compete.
Evans, a retired graphic designer, has an antiques business these days, but he says this sale is separate from that. “The liquidation of these items has been a difficult experience,” he says. “This collection was never part of my commercial antique furniture business.”
The auction is handled by the Atlanta firm of Ahlers & Ogletree Auction Gallery. If you go to their website, you can see pictures of the items in the auction. Go to aandoauctions.com, click through to the search function and look for “Athens, GA” and “UGA.” Good luck. It’s a confusing website.
Don’t get sticker shock when you start to look at the bids and suggested prices on these items. Just enjoy looking at them and wondering how Evans found all this stuff and assembled his collection.
Preserved by somebody down through the years is an actual program from the legendary 1929 Yale-Georgia game that dedicated Sanford Stadium when Yale University was a football powerhouse slumming against an underdog team from a backwater Georgia college town, and our Bulldogs cleaned the Yale Bulldogs’ clock. There’s a ticket for that game, too.
There’s old currency, and there are lots of Pandora yearbooks from various years, medical paraphernalia from the doctors who lived in the house that became the museum, lots of football stuff, lots of college stuff—pennants, beanies, photos, magazines, books—artifacts from Lucy Cobb Institute, from the State Normal School, from chamber of commerce publications—tons of memorabilia reaching back through the decades on campus and in town.
This is all history you can hold in your hand, if you can afford it (and there are a few items under $100). I think my own favorite, if I had my druthers and my druthers had the money, is a metal stamping logo plate for the Hanna Batrite brand of wooden bats made right here in Athens from the 1920s to the 1960s and used throughout the country from the big leagues to the sandlots. The Hanna factory burned to the ground in the 1980s in the area around the Classic Center parking deck and the multimodal center. After the fire, somebody picked up the stamping plates that put “Hanna” onto the bats that smote horsehide all over America. And Evans acquired some of them and had them in the house museum where you coulda seen them free of charge.
The whole collection is a rich slice of local history. If you want a piece, get in on the virtual auction Sunday and have at it.
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