Fair Finance Co. co-owner Timothy Durham's art collection goes to the highest bidders on Saturday.
But anyone can get a look at the auction catalog, which is online now, and even make a bid.
The collection has 119 pieces, with works by contemporary artist Peter Max that include portraits of Durham, engravings by Picasso and Renoir, Norman Rockwell lithographs, automotive-themed art and furniture. Suggested started bidding prices range from $10 to $2,000.
A select group of people, including media, will get a first-hand look at the artwork at an invitation-only event tonight at Trinity Cathedral in downtown Cleveland.
What is officially called The Durham Contemporary Art Collection Auction starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, also at the cathedral at 2230 Euclid Ave. People can bid in person, by phone or online. As of Monday afternoon, people had already placed online bids on some of the art, with a James Bond movie poster autographed by the actors who portrayed the secret agent getting the most attention.
Proceeds will go into the Fair Finance Co. bankruptcy estate for eventual distribution to the Akron company's creditors who include about 5,300 holders in Ohio with more than $200 million of the company's investment certificates. Many of the certificate holders are elderly and live in the greater Akron area.
Indianapolis businessman Durham in recent months has turned over his art collection to Brian Bash, the Cleveland lawyer who became the court-appointed trustee for Fair Finance when the company was forced into bankruptcy by investors in February. Bash set up the art auction and is also auctioning off Durham's collection of ex
pensive automobiles that were seized earlier this year by the FBI.
While court documents show federal investigators suspected Fair Finance was being operated as a Ponzi scheme since Durham and James Cochran bought the company in 2002, no arrests have been made. Durham remains the chief executive officer of California-based movie company National Lampoon Inc.
Between 50 to 100 people are expected at tonight's advance viewing that starts at 6, said Kelly Grimm, auctioneer and principal at the Cleveland Auction Co. that is running the event on behalf of the bankruptcy trustee.
''It is not a big, fancy event that we are spending lots of money on,'' Grimm said.
Best possible prices
The point of the auction is to get the best possible prices on behalf of the Fair Finance estate, she said.
''The money is going for those people who are creditors,'' she said. ''Hopefully, we will find the right buyers.''
The people invited to the private showing are primarily associated with the bankruptcy case or are ''good contemporary art buyers,'' Grimm said.
The auction is taking place in one of the cathedral's community spaces, she said.
The Durham art auction catalog can be seen online at www.artfact.com/catalog/searchLots.cfm?scp=c&catalogRef=ULTZ8RUWPM.
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.