Own a piece of Rotary history
Among the items to be auctioned is this cast bronze statue of a girl holding a dove. Photo courtesy of Charles Keller
Antique Indian Kangra paintings. A wristwatch commemorating Rotary's 75th anniversary. A shirt from Nigeria with the RI theme Lend a Hand printed in four languages around the border.
These are just a few of the items that will be auctioned off online from Past RI President Charles C. Keller's collection, gathered during his year as president 1987-88.
Rotarians anywhere in the world can bid on the items, with the proceeds going to the Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution.
"In many parts of the world, people don’t shake hands, they give a gift," notes Keller. "You can't imagine the extent of it. Art objects, handicrafts -- there's an unbelievable variety of things people would give."
Keller turned part of his home into a museum, complete with lighted shelves, to display the items. After moving to a smaller home, he is parting with some of his treasures. Two hundred lots from his collection will be sold through the online auction, which closes midnight 23 February.
"I was a bomber pilot in World War II, and I've been shot at, and that makes an impression on you," he says. "My passion is the search for world peace. The Rotary Centers program is the most direct effort that Rotary has ever made at peace-building, so that’s where I want my money to go."
Three Rivers Auction Company has volunteered to organize the auction. Auctioneer Tripp Kline, a member of the Rotary Club of Washington, Pennsylvania, USA, hopes the auction will get Rotarians' competitive juices flowing.
"Somebody might bid US$2,000 on a $5 coffee mug," Kline says, "not because they think it's worth $2,000, but because they want to support the Foundation."
"Some of the items have significant intrinsic value," Keller says, "but all have the enduring value of warm friendships and happy memories from every corner of the world."
Before consigning his collection for auction, Keller consulted with Rotary History and Archives to find out which items should become part of RI's permanent collection.
If you have items you think might be of historical value, contact the archivists at firstname.lastname@example.org.