They were quite the couple during a turbulent time in America. A retired Ted Williams married an ambitious beauty queen from Vermont. Now, pieces from their six years together are heading for the auction block.
Items from the living estate of the ex-wife of baseball great Ted Williams will be sold in a two-part auction according to Knotty Pine Auction Service of Vermont.
During their marriage from 1967-1973, Williams and his former wife Delores Wettach Williams had two children: a son, John Henry (1968-2004), and a daughter, Claudia (with whom Dolores now lives, in Hernando, Fla.). Ted was Dolores’ first and only husband. Today, she is 73 and still recovering from a stroke.
Among the items up for bid will be letters written by Williams to Delores Wettach Williams as well as numerous gifts given to the Red Sox Hall of Famer, signed collectibles and other personal and baseball memorabilia.
The sales will take place in November of 2008 and the spring of 2009.
While part one of the sale will include primarily antique period furniture pieces, decorative accessories and original works of art, Part II of the sale next spring will feature personal effects, ephemera, photos and other memorabilia relating to the couple, their family life and careers.
Three hundred-plus lots will be sold in the Part I sale.
Among the highlights:
Mounted African taxidermy heads of exotic game bagged by Ted Williams while on safari. Included are a Greater Kudu (woodland antelope); two Sable Antelope; a Cape (or African) Buffalo; and others.
A suite of six high-style English Victorian dining room chairs, highly carved and said to be acquired from the estate of the noted British author Rudyard Kipling, who also maintained a residence in Vermont.
Many original watercolor works and oil paintings by the artist Charles De Feo (N.Y., 1892-1978). Mr. De Feo was a noted landscape artist and pulp illustrator (and personal friend of the Williamses).
Numerous color lithographs by various artists and personally presented to Ted Williams. Many of the lithographs depict hunting and fishing themes — hobbies and passions for both Dolores and Ted and several automobiles, to include a 1999 BMW M3 convertible, and a 1962 Jeep Willys truck.
‘Even if Dolores had never married Ted Williams, she still would have led a full and exciting life,’ said John Pappas of Knotty Pine Auction Service. ‘She was a successful and glamorous fashion model and international actress even before she met Ted, and before that she was a Miss Vermont.”
A college student with a Jackie Kennedy-esque look, she walked on to the cover of Vogue magazine. Almost immediately, her career took off, and in the years that ensued her image also graced the covers of Look and Reader’s Digest magazines, plus hundreds of print advertisements.
She played in several movies, including a lead role in the 1964 film Controsesso (translated, means ‘Countersex’). The movie, a sexual farce, was a critical hit in France and Italy. She was also screen-tested for a part in the 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger. Although she didn’t land the role, her copy of the script and screening photos will be sold in Part II of the sale.
Ms. Wettach met Ted Williams in 1964, on a plane flight back to the United States from New Zealand. She had just completed a photo shoot for a modeling assignment. She was 32, the former big leaguer was 49. Williams had been on a hunting and fishing trip, accepting a challenge by the New Zealand tourism board to fish and hunt game in a Sportsman’s Marathon. Following their courtship, the two were married in 1967. By 1969, Ted was back in baseball — as manager of the Washington Senators, later the Texas Rangers.
Part II of the sale will feature memorabilia, personally-owned baseballs, and other signed collectibles. The auction service says no uniforms, awards or signed bats are included in the sale.
Part II will also feature wardrobe items and other accessories from Ms. Williams’ modeling and film careers; correspondence between Ted and Dolores; books, many of them signed and personalized by authors and other personalities; photographs of Ted’s career, photographs of Presidents Kennedy and Nixon, some personally inscribed; Dolores’ modeling portfolios; and other memorabilia from her career.
The sale will be held at Knotty Pine’s showroom, located at 787 West Swanzey Rd., in West Swanzey, N.H. The Part I auction will begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, November 23. Previews will be held Friday, November 21, and Saturday, November 22, from noon to 6 p.m., and on Sunday, November 23, from 9-11 a.m., or by appointment. West Swanzey is located in the southwestern corner of New Hampshire, an hour-and-a-half from Boston, Mass., and Hartford, Conn. Bidders will be able to participate in person, by telephone, by left bids, and live online, via eBayLiveAuctions.com or iCollector.com.
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