WJTV News Channel 12 - Duke family items to be auctioned

Duke family items to be auctioned

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DURHAM, N.C. -

Antiques, art and other items owned by the late heiress to the Duke tobacco fortune are going up for sale.
    
The items from the family of Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans will be auctioned on Aug. 25. A preview will be held the day before.
    
Brunk Auctions spokesman Aaron Edwards said the family has kept several sentimental items, but would like the remainder to go to what he termed "good homes."

See the Brunks Auction website here

According to Brunk Auctions, items to be auctioned include paintings by artists such as the American painter Thomas Anshutz, 18th and 19th century Chinese porcelains and jades, French antique furnishings and an inlaid art case Steinway grand piano. The items come from homes members of the Duke family lived in over the course of more than a century, according to a news release from the auction house.
    
The list features items from the mid-19th century-era Duke Homestead; a townhouse at 1009 Fifth Ave., N.Y., that was built in 1901; a former Durham home remembered as "Four Acres" on West Chapel Hill Street, and the residences known as "Pinecrest" and "Les Terrasses" in Durham's Forest Hills neighborhood.
    
Edwards said Les Terrasses was Semans' home from the late 1940s until she died. He also said it's where her seven children grew up next door to their grandmother, Mary Duke Biddle, who lived at Pinecrest until her death in 1960.
    
The auction will be open to the public. There will be online as well as telephone and absentee bidding.
    
Edwards said the company is still researching and cataloguing the items, so a pre-auction estimate of their total value is not yet available.
    
Semans was the great-granddaughter of Washington Duke, a Confederate soldier who returned home after the Civil War and planted a crop of tobacco. With his sons, Duke helped build the worldwide popularity of cigarettes. He also endowed a small Methodist college that would become Duke University.
    
Semans was a patron of the arts and charities, as well as a crusader for equal rights for women.

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