Maddow, Colbert shows winning bidders at presidential wax museum auction

A life-like replica of President Eisenhower in his green easy chair. The wax Ike is on his way from Gettysburg to New York.

Who likes Ike?

TV talk-show host Rachel Maddow surely does, so much so that her eponymous show on MSNBC cast the winning bid of $1,870 for his wax figure when the closed Hall of Presidents and First Ladies museum in Gettysburg auctioned its contents Saturday.

"I know he kind of looks like your uncle after a rough night," she teased viewers Monday, broadcasting a photo of her prize. "But according to the auction catalog ... that is 'President Eisenhower, life-size wax figure, in casual clothing in a sitting position.' "

In selling off its collection, the shuttered museum garnered approximately $200,000. (Prices paid for individual items can be viewed at www.paonsiteauction.com.)

Auction participants included descendants of the former First Families, as well as the son of the woman who sewed most of the replica gowns.

Maddow did not reveal what role she envisions for her wax Ike, but said "his addition to our family here is without a doubt the best new thing in the world."

Her winning bid was placed by telephone, she told viewers, so she dispatched an intern to drive the replica of America's 34th president to the show's New York City studio Wednesday. She reminded the intern that even if Ike wears a seatbelt, that doesn't qualify for the HOV lane.

In other auction action, the seated figure of Abraham Lincoln drew the highest bid — $9,350. A standing James Monroe — at $1,100 — was dead last.

Jane Irwin Findlay (wife of ninth president William Henry Harrison) finished first among First Ladies at $1,045; Rosalynn Carter — at $247.50 — tied with two 19th-century White House hostesses for last place. The First Ladies are scale models, 3-feet-10-inches tall, and dressed in replicas of their Inaugural Ball gowns.

Camera icon SEAN SIMMERS / Pennlive.com via AP
Ariel Dumas, a writer for "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," carries the wax statue of Zachary Taylor.
 

A crew from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert filmed parts of the bidding. A writer for the show, Ariel Dumas, was seen leaving the parking lot with 5-foot-8 Zachary Taylor — a relative bargain at $2,200 — in tow. According to a museum source, the wax Taylor could be featured in an upcoming Colbert skit.

Everything sold — from the historic murals, to the hand-carved miniatures, and historic photos. A box of "old clothing buttons" brought $44.

Even three artificial plants, which had been used in displays, went for $11.

mmatza@phillynews.com

215-854-2541

@MichaelMatza1

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