Culture
2:00 pm
Sun December 9, 2012

“Priceless items” that belonged to former President Ford, Betty Ford, head to auction

This week the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation is auctioning off a bunch of memorabilia and personal items that once belonged to the former president.

“This is a rare opportunity for people that want to have part of President Ford or Mrs. Ford’s legacy,” Joe Calvaruso said. He’s President of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation.

There’s a set of Ford’s own golf clubs, an American flag that flew at the White House during the Michigan native’s presidency, and a fur ushanka a Russian official gave him.

Credit Courtesy photo / Heritage Auctions

Calvaruso says a signed, eight-by-ten color photo of Ford with George H. W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon is attracting a lot of attention.

“That’s really a rare find for collectors. There’s very few of those out there. But then the personal family items maybe something more that an individual would like to bid on,” Calvaruso said.

One of former first lady Betty Ford’s formal gowns, a purse, and a fur coat are up for auction too.

“These are all things that reflect Mrs. Ford; her elegance, her beauty and these are kind of priceless items,” Calvaruso said. He says they do not know how much money the items will net.

The items were donated from Ford’s surviving family members.

The proceeds will benefit a new student center to be built in Grand Rapids. Calvaruso says the center will teach young people about Ford’s presidency and try to inspire them to become public servants. It won’t open to the public until 2014 at the earliest.

The bidding has already begun online. The live auctions are Tuesday and Wednesday in Texas.