NEW YORK — An auction offers buyers the chance to own a piece of New York nostalgia. Gifts given to New York mayors over the years are offered for sale to the highest bidder.
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In an online auction series called ‘Gifts to the City’, New York is offering buyers the chance to take home items – ranging from jewelry and sports memorabilia to a paperweight and a cake slicer – from the archives municipalities of the city.
Items are sorted by the mayor they were given to. Among the items for sale from Ed Koch’s tenure is an original signed painting by Peter Max, depicting the Statue of Liberty. The art includes a handwritten inscription to Mayor Koch on the back. The initial bid for the painting was $50, but the bid had reached $15,200 by November 23. The auction for the item ends on December 11.
David Dinkins served as New York’s 106th mayor from 1990 to 1993. Items from his tenure for sale include a paperweight given to Dinkins by Diana Ross and a t-shirt and hat that read: ‘Racism is a disease . Are you sick?”
New York Department of Records commissioner Pauline Toole told WNBC the auction was the first of its kind in 37 years.
Perhaps the most unusual item for sale is a Louis Vuitton soccer ball, which was given to Mayor Rudy Giuliani in 1998 to commemorate the World Cup. Originally listed for $600, the bid on the ball reached $1,575 on November 23. The auction for the item ends on December 11.
Giuliani also received a basketball signed by members of the New York Knicks in 1999, which is available until December 4.
Michael Bloomberg is the most recent mayor whose gifts appear in the auction, having served three terms from 2002 to 2013. Among the items offered since Bloomberg’s tenure are a silver Tiffany cake slicer and a pair of sneakers Nike Air Force 1 autographed by Ice-T and Fab 5 Freddy in 2008.
Asked about the sneakers by The New York Times, Bloomberg replied, “So that’s what happened to those sneakers.”
Mayors are not allowed to take the gifts with them when they leave City Hall because the gifts are considered New York City property, the New York Times explained. The Department of Archives and Information Services is responsible for the more than 185,000 cubic feet of items that have accumulated over the past 400 years.
The auction takes place entirely online, with lowest prices starting at $20. The money raised will help fund the preservation of more valuable items not for sale, including old blueprints or the 1957 Ebbetts Field home plate, WNBC reported.
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