Live auction returns to Wakefield-Scearce

It's also the launch of a new partnership.
Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 2:31 PM EDT
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SHELBYVILLE, KY (WAVE) - For the first time in 70 years, it’s back to the beginning for a well-known Shelbyville antiques gallery. Wakefield-Scearce Galleries is holding a live auction and it’s the launch of a new partnership as well.

The 30,000 square foot building housing the Wakefield-Scearce Gallery is a sea of treasures. The building was once a girl’s school.

“It was a boarding school,” Interior Designer Lee W. Robinson explains, “for affluent girls from the south.”

Robinson came to the gallery as a child. Now, the two are teaming up for a new venture.

“I said ‘you know I’m sick of these supply chain issues.’ So, I said ‘who do I know that has tons of furniture in stock? Wakefield-Scearce.’” Robinson said.

Robinson is opening a shop and will design an upholstery line. He will incorporate the antiques found in the 75-year-old gallery in his designs.

“(It was) started by Mark Scearce in the 40′s after World War II,” Robinson said. “He went to Europe. Bought out all the bombed English country houses furniture, bought the paneling, the chandeliers, brought them over here.”

The gallery is also known for their sterling silver julep cups. They mark the production period with the initials of the current president. They’ve been doing it since Harry Truman held office, and always send the new president one of the cups. President Lyndon Johnson thanked them with a signed letter.

“He actually called my grandfather in Christmas one October and said, ‘I need 650 cups for my cabinet members,’ and these are the sterling silver julep cups,” Matt Burnett, Scearce’s grandson said.

When the gallery first started, they had live auctions. The two decided to kick off their new venture by holding one again. One of the items that will be up for auction is a leather trunk.

“It’s dated 1638. It has a royal crest on top of it,” Robinson explains.

There’s also a pastel painting that was cut out of the frame in an Italian castle by a soldier during World War II.

“We think it’s King Louis, who Louisville was named after. It even has Lafranchini, the artist’s name,” Robinson said.

Pieces of history as new history is made.

The auction is Saturday, August 27, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Wakefield-Scearce located at 525 Washington St., in Shelbyville. But you don’t have to be there to bid. You can go to to see the items up for auction and bid.

They plan to have more auctions in the future.