Auction gives Hoosiers a chance to own Indiana history

By Eddie Drews
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS—A grandfather clock carved from the trunk of a 2,000-year-old tree and a portrait painted by legendary Hoosier artist T.C. Steele in 1899 are just two of the items being offered up through an auction by the Indianapolis Medical Society.

The IMS acquired the clock and the painting in 1959 from the estate of a descendant of Louis Levey, owner of a spectacular Renaissance-style mansion that today houses the Sagamore Institute on Meridian Street.

A grandfather clock commissioned by Louis Levey and built by Charles L. Keifer using wood over 2,000 years old is up for auction. Photo by Eddie Drews, TheStatehouseFile.com

Founded in 1848, the IMS is a professional membership organization for doctors in the Indianapolis area with 2,000 members. The society is moving to smaller quarters and has no room for many of its artifacts.

Among the items up for auction also include artifacts that are directly related to the society such as membership application forms dating back to the early 20th century.

Flipside Estates, an estate and consignment concierge based in Indianapolis, is hosting an auction for these two special items as well as other items they acquired by the Indiana Medical Society.

The tag sale for all items up for auction is on Saturday, said Jess Pittman-Bidwell, co-founder of Flipside.

And one of the most interesting items is the clock made from the trunk of a tree, which was built by Charles L. Keifer for Louis Levey over the span of two and a half years.

The starting price for the clock is $7,500, but Pittman-Bidwell believes it will sell for between $15,000 and $25,000.

The highest bidder on the clock will hear the typical time telling tune, “Westminster,” echo through their home from the four tubular bell chimes installed inside it. The purchaser will also receive a 1910 catalog from Waltham Clock Company, which made the dial, as well as a photograph of the clock as it stood in the Levey mansion.

“This is an exciting opportunity to own a rare piece of Indiana history,” said Pittman-Bidwell. “And as a local estate sale company, we are excited to play a part in finding its new owner.”

An 1899 portrait of physician Theophilus Parvin by T.C. Steele is up for auction. Photo by Eddie Drews, TheStatehouseFile.com

Another significant piece up for sale is a portrait of a physician, Theophilus Parvin, by Steele. Parvin was an important figure in the medical community especially in the field of obstetrics, which deals with childbirth.

The portrait comes in a gold gilt picture frame along with a newspaper clipping about the painting. The portrait is valued around $8,000 to $12,000, according to Pittman-Bidwell.

The auction is live online now through Friday evening at www.flipsideestates.com,which also contains descriptions of items for sale.

Eddie Drews is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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