Contents of the Rancho Mirage home of President Gerald R. Ford and Betty Ford will be auctioned to benefit the Betty Ford Center, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley, and St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa in Indian Wells.
“Our parents wanted this auction to be a gift to the people of the Coachella Valley,” says Jack Ford, a son of the Fords. “We hope that people from across the community enjoy the opportunity to share our parents’ legacy and to benefit these three organizations that have been so important to our entire family.”
- See related story: 'The Lime Grows on You' on the Ford's former home in Rancho Mirage.
The auction, which is open to the public for a $5 cash payment at the door, will include a Faberge-style egg in a box from President Bill Clinton, a kaleidoscope, Tiffany White House china, and a large collection of Asian decorative pieces. The Fords’ collection of decorative sculptured elephants—the symbol of the Republican Party—in china, crystal, bronze and other materials, will also be auctioned. The elephants were housed in the “elephant room” of the Fords’ home.
The auction will also include accessories personalized for the Fords, books signed for the couple by their authors, artwork and a large selection of designer clothes, furs, personalized Stetson hats, Ford's pipe collection (pictured right) and crystal and porcelain by Lalique, Waterford and Lladro. Golf clubs owned by President Ford will be on offer, as will Betty’s personalized Lark luggage. Altogether, the live and silent auctions will include nearly 1,000 items broken into about 500 lots.
“Thanks to President and Mrs. Ford’s thoughtful generosity, this auction makes it possible for many people to own a piece of history,” says Jim Ducatte, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley. “The items on offer range from one-of-a-kind collectors’ pieces to everyday household gadgets and personal items that can provide all of us with a memory to treasure.”
“The Fords have been generous to us in this legacy, just as they were during their lifetimes,” adds the Rev. Lane Hensley, rector of St. Margaret’s. “We are delighted to share this opportunity with our partners at the Betty Ford Center and Boys & Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley Foundation.”
Complimentary parking will be available for the auction, which will be handled by the Gavel Group of Lake Forest, Calif. Cash, American Express, MasterCard, Visa, and Discover cards will be accepted as payment for items purchased.