Aviator’s antique collection may bring top dollar

June 26 sale of World War II veteran’s estate features fine antiques, military collectibles


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Items of interest include KPM, signed Wagner and other paintings on porcelain and ivory, including a Victorian gilded mother of pearl posey holder or tussie mussie, a Russian bronze snuff box, a signed Bergman pen holder in the form of an owl on a feather and other Austrian cold painted bronze items and miniatures, to name a few. Photo courtesy Professional Appraisers and Liquidators

CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. – Professional Appraisers and Liquidators Antique Auctions will be the venue for the Estate of Harry Renker, retired Delta pilot and international purveyor of fine antiques.

The auction is to take place June 26 beginning at 10 a.m. Auctioneer, Charles Fudge, a 40 year veteran auctioneer of antiques, fine art and collectibles says this collection is one of the finest he’s seen.

The late Captain Harry Renker’s career in aviation began in the U.S. Army Air Corps in the South Pacific, where he logged over 200 combat missions and was awarded The Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals. After returning to the States, he served as personal pilot and liaison to Generals Truesdale and Candee at The Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Renker was hired by Delta in 1946 and was one of the oldest living retired Delta Airline pilots. In addition to flying commercial and military planes, he flew ultra-lites until he was 87 years old.

Aviation was not Renker’s only passion. In addition to flying, Renker and his wife Gayle loved fine art and antiques, and traveled the world to add to their ever-growing personal collection.

Captain Renker and his wife began their journey in retail sales when they opened Valley Coin Shop in Aurora, Ill. They later opened “Valley Coin and Antiques” in Geneva, Ill.
Geneva is a quaint little city 40 miles west of Chicago. Its history began with habitation by the Illinois and Prairie Pottawatomie Tribes during the 17th and 18th centuries. The year 1836 brought a group of settlers from Massachusetts called the Boston Colony to Geneva. The Renkers chose this historic city as the location for their shop because of its history and character. Geneva was noted for charming shops including approximately 15 antique stores.

Gayle Renker ran the antique shop on a daily basis, and Captain Renker worked there on his days off. They both studied and researched many types of antiques, but their primary areas of expertise were European antiques and antique jewelry. They also studied and collected antique weaponry and took an interest in American Indian artifacts, probably due to the early history of Geneva, Ill.

Being a Delta Airlines pilot with discounted flights and cargo fees had its advantages. Harry would often go on antique shopping expeditions while on layovers in various cities. But, perhaps the biggest benefit for a commercial pilot in the antiques business was the affordibility of traveling to Europe and shipping their newly found treasures home.

Captain and Mrs. Renker often traveled to Europe to scout antique shops in the city and traverse off-the-beaten-path shops in England and Scotland’s countryside. They were usually guided by an Englishman they’d befriended who knew many out-of-the-way places to find antiques that were unknown to the tourist trade. While on these buying sprees, they bought antiques for their shop, as well as their personal collection.

For many years, a big event at their antique store in Geneva, Ill., was the arrival of the Renker’s container of antiquities they’d purchased during their buying excursions throughout Europe. Clients would arrive at the shop in excited anticipation of the unveiling of the treasures they’d found. It is with that same anticipation that Professional Appraisers and Liquidator’s Antique Auction Gallery will offer the Renker’s personal collection at auction on June 26. The collection will be available for preview on Friday, June 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. until the auction begins.

The Harry Renker Estate Auction (with select additions) will feature fine art, including antique oil paintings — many by listed artists — ivory carvings, bronze and marble statues, Austrian cold painted bronzes and miniatures including Bergman, and paintings on ivory and porcelain, including KPM.

To view photos and a listing, go to www.charliefudge.com. The complete catalog for the estate of Captain Harry Renker (with additions), along with photographs of each item, is available on the firm’s website. Floor bidding, absentee and telephone bidding is offered.

Real-time bidding through Internet portals www.proxibid.com and www.liveauctioneers.com is also available for your convenience.

The auction gallery is available by calling 352-795-2061 or 800-542-3877 for further information or to request a brochure.  ?

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antiques & collectibles price guide
Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide
available at shop.collect.com.

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More Images:

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The estate is home to several bronze, marble and ivory figurines and statues.
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The collection holds many valuable items including antique clocks, such as the bronze Tiffany mantel clock shown here.

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