Tim Luke: Auctioneer To the Stars

Professional appraiser and auctioneer Tim Luke’s annual visit to Wheeling is being punctuated by a special trip to California to participate in two big celebrity auctions.

In the midst of his month-long stay at Oglebay Park, Luke will be traveling to the West Coast next weekend to serve as an auctioneer for Julien’s Auctions’ sale of personal and professional memorabilia from the estates of entertainers Bob and Dolores Hope and comedian Phyllis Diller.

Luke revealed that, yes, some of Diller’s famous (or infamous) wigs will be up for bid, along with a number of paintings created by the comedian, who also was an artist. Likewise, he said the Hope auction will include artwork that Bob Hope painted.

Both auctions will take place at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills, Calif. The Hope auction will be conducted in three sessions, offered Friday and Saturday, Sept. 20-21. The auction of Diller’s belongings will entail two sessions, both on Sunday, Sept. 22.

According to the Julien’s Auctions website, items being auction from Diller’s estate include costumes, wigs and jewelry, as well as antiques and furniture. Memorabilia to be sold from the Hopes’ estate features items from the couple’s careers and personal lives, including some of Bob Hope’s golfing gear.

Tim Luke and his business partner and husband, Greg Strahm, have presented annual educational, professional development and entertaining programs with the Museums of Oglebay Institute and community partners for the past 10 years. Proceeds from the events presented here by the couple are donated to the museums.

This year’s venture is particularly significant. In addition to being Luke’s and Strahm’s 10th annual visit to Wheeling, Luke is celebrating his 50th birthday here this weekend.

The pair presented their annual fun session of “The Appraisal Guys’ Price Is Right” with audience participation and “celebrity” contestants at the institute’s Mansion Museum Friday evening, Sept. 13. They conducted their annual appraisal event at Cabela’s at The Highlands Saturday, Sept. 14. The day was slated to conclude with a paella party at Oglebay to celebrate Luke’s big birthday. He encouraged friends to make a donation to Oglebay Institute if they wanted to mark the occasion.

Speaking at the Ohio County Public Library’s Lunch With Books session Tuesday, Sept. 10, Luke said that his mother and Strahm’s family are attending the festivities. “I wanted to share Wheeling with them,” he remarked. “It’s wonderful to be here.”

A tribute to the late Irene McKinney, who served as poet laureate of West Virginia from 1994 until her death in February 2012, is being offered today in Charleston.

The celebration of McKinney’s life and work will take place at the state Culture Center at 3 p.m. today, Sept. 15. An informal reception will begin at 2 p.m.

Speakers for the program include current West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman of Wheeling; Maggie Anderson, who served as poet-in-residence in Marshall County many years ago; Jeff Mann; Devon McNamara and Jessie van Eerden.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting and John Nakashima are presenting a montage of radio and video clips from some of McKinney’s “most memorable interviews and readings,” organizers said. Kate Long and Doug Van Gundy will provide music for the event. A memorial quilt, designed in part by Barbara Weaner, will be on display in the Culture Center.

Linda Comins can be reached via email at: lcomins@theintelligencer.net