24 November 2016
Metropolitan Opera Guild Seeks NY State Supreme Court Permission to Auction Memorabilia Collection
THE METROPOLITAN OPERA GUILD, which publishes OPERA NEWS, has filed a request with the State Supreme Court in New York to auction a memorabilia collection containing items that include a gold cigarette holder that once belonged to the bass Ezio Pinza; a jeweled baton owned by Richard Wagner; a lock of Wagner's hair contained in a gold brooch; a silver, ivory and diamond pen that was used by Giacomo Meyerbeer; and a gold cigarette case given by Queen Victoria to baritone David Bispham.
Created through a 1956 charitable donation made by Henrietta Ten Eyck in tribute to Bispham, who died in 1921, the collection of nearly 100 antiquarian items has remained in storage and is rarely seen. Ten Eyck's charitable gift entailed that the Guild use income from donated stocks to establish a collection of memorabilia intended to promote opera. The request to the New York State Supreme Court made earlier this week has been planned for several years.
The Supreme Court request notes that, since the memorabilia is no longer displayed, the charitable intent of Ten Eyc's gift is likely best served by using funds from the collection's sale to support the Guild in its educational mission of promoting the operatic arts, as well as to support the Metropolitan Opera, where David Bispham sang a number of roles between 1896 and 1903.