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Published: Sunday, 3/8/2009

Dana Holding Corp. to hold series of auctions

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

And like a couple downsizing their home after the children move out, Dana has accumulated stuff that must be cleared out before the movers come.

The firm, one of Toledo s oldest and largest corporate residents, will hold what amounts to an estate sale auctioning off everything from classic antique furniture, crystal, and fine china to racing shorts, steering wheels, and go-carts.

We ve been here for 40 years. In that period of time, you collect a lot of things, Dana spokesman Chuck Hartlage said. It s all going.

There are to be three or four of the auctions this year as Dana begins packing itself up for the move to its technical center in Maumee. The first an absolute auction run by Pamela Rose Auction Co. begins at 6 p.m. Friday at Brandywine Country Club, 6904 Salisbury Rd. in Maumee.

This isn t the first time Dana has sold off some of its collection of antiques. It auctioned off 60 pieces of glass, porcelain, and furniture with a Detroit auction house in April, 2006, raising an undisclosed amount of money while it was under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The items to be auctioned off this week are things that weren t on display or being used by the 175 Dana employees who work in the 182,500-square foot headquarters, Mr. Hartlage said.

The auction has no file cabinets or office chairs, and no computers or printers that dominate most corporate office settings. But what is up for grabs are items that are uniquely Dana things that reflect a heritage completely intertwined with the small cadre of men who ran the once-proud auto supplier for decades prior to its filing for bankruptcy in 2006. Men like the late Rene McPherson, who ran the company for seven years and traveled the world with his wife, Nancy, collecting antiques, many of which found their way into Dana s lavish headquarters.

Among the more than 250 items being auctioned off this week:

• A 200-year-old mahogany Chippendale slant-front desk with ball and claw feet.

• A 20-piece set of Wedgwood China.

• A 19 th century bronze Spelter Lion du Pays statue by French artist Eutrope Bouret.

• A restored green 1927 Chevrolet stake truck with 53,633 miles on it, used to commemorate Dana s 100th anniversary in 2004.

• Four Audubon prints.

• Four go-carts.

The auction is held locally instead of somewhere such as New York or London to give a large number of current and former Dana employees and retirees easy access to the items, Mr. Hartlage said. The firm will be giving its current and former employees a 25 percent discount on items they win in the auction.

Dana employees and retirees are to have a special two-hour preview with the items at Brandywine starting at 4 p.m. Thursday. The general public can view the items beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday.

I think it s very exciting that they re doing this here. It s an exciting event for Toledo, said auctioneer Pamela Rose, who s been working to bring Dana s possessions to auction for more than a year. That whole building is filled with treasures that have never been offered to the public before.

Bids will be accepted from registered parties over the Internet, at www.pamelaroseauction.com.

Michael Murray, who works with the auction firm and will help auction off the items this week, said many pieces have links to Toledo history, such as the bronze statue and an accompanying mahogany stand that came from the former Tiedke house.

It s an eclectic collection of pieces out of the world headquarters that will have an appeal to a broad collection of people, Mr. Murray said. There are a lot of things in there that will appeal to someone who has a nice home in Perrysburg or Ottawa Hills and who wants a period piece, and there are some things that will appeal to collectors.

Ken Lindsay of American Eagle Auction & Appraisal Co., in Livonia, Mich., said it is becoming more common for corporations to liquidate nonrevenue-producing assets such as these to raise money. He said General Motors Corp. recently sold several dozen historic vehicles from its collection, but said the items Dana is auctioning looked like a family inheritance. This is extremely unusual for a corporation to have this kind of inventory, Mr. Lindsay said. This is something that you would expect to find in an antiques business.

There will be at least two more auctions of Dana possessions this year, one of which will take place after the firm vacates its Dorr Street headquarters, which is set to occur by the end of the September, Mr. Hartlage said. Toledo-based Health Care REIT, a real estate investment trust with holdings nationwide, purchased the 90-acre parcel last month.

Contact Larry P. Vellequette:lvellequette@theblade.comor 419-724-6091.



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