Friday, September 24, 2021

Josie Beckos Wood online auction is Saturday

By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor

10.7 carat solitaire diamond — from the estate of Josie Beckos Wood, to be auctioned online on July 31. It’s valued at as much as $300,000, says Mark Lawson Auctions. Photo provided

The live, online auction of “Fine Art, Important Jewelry, Watches and Accessories” from the estate of Josie Beckos Wood, “the late Mrs. Charles R. Wood,” is planned on Saturday, July 31, beginning at noon.

Find the auction link and catalogued pictures of items available at

“Internet and absentee bidding only,” says the Website. Online bidding had already begun on Tuesday.

“On one platform alone we are already into the seven figures of bids placed,” says auctioneer Mark Lawson. “I think it’s going to be a very successful auction.”

Mr. Lawson said a “top tier dealer” from Manhattan who had come up to preview the auction during the associated estate sale last weekend told him, “In the trade, it’s the sale of the summer. It’s a high point for the dealers that specialize in the kids of things being offered, as well as collectors who are hungry for buying things.”

Mr. Lawson told The Chronicle previously, “I’ve never seen — it’s almost a historic collection of the finest designer jewelry of the 1960s and 70s. Tiffany pieces, pieces by Jean Schlumberger, who was one of three named designers exclusively for Tiffany’s — 20 to 30 pieces by him, several of which are significant.”

Also, pieces by Perry Winston — the “Winston” whose diamonds Richard Burton bought for Elizabeth Taylor, he said.

Furnishings include what Mr. Lawson says are ‘significant artworks’ by Spanish artist Joan Miro, Marc Chagall and Robert Rauschenberg; a “magnificent” tabletop kinetic sculpture by George Rickey whose famed “steel needles” sculpture adorns the Empire State Plaza in Albany; a “wonderful” mirror by Salvador Dali; a “beautiful” pair of Baccarat crystal candelabra; and “very nice pieces of Steuben glass.”

Mr. Lawson also cites two “very rare” and prized $10 “Lake George” bills from the early 20th century, when regional federal banks printed their own currency, called National Currency. Each is worth as much $1,000 to $1,500, he said.

Mrs. Wood, who passed away in December 2020 at age 97, was a philanthropist who operated the Montcalm and other area restaurants with her late first husband, Gus. Mr. Wood’s first wife Margaret had also passed away.

Mr. Wood, who died in 2004, was perhaps the region’s foremost philanthropist. He founded Storytown, now The Great Escape; numerous other ventures; and co-founded with the late actor Paul Newman the Double-H Hole in the Woods Ranch in Lake Luzerne for critically ill children.

Wood estate sale drew a throng

Mark Lawson, who oversaw the Josie Beckos Wood estate sale last weekend at her home in Queensbury, tells The Chronicle, “The first three hours of the sale on Friday were the busiest three hours I’ve ever experienced — at any sale, anywhere./p>

“Part of that was a testament to Mr. and Mrs. Wood,” he said. “We had people coming in all weekend that introduced themselves, they worked at Great Escape or Storytown or worked at foundations the Josie and Charley were a part of./p>

“The feeling I sensed, it’s not quite paying their respects, but people really cared about Josie Beckos Wood and Charley Wood. The sense that I had is both of them Josie and Charley treated people well. It was nice to experience that.”/p>

“We sold virtually everything in the house, which was wonderful,” he said./p>

“The most important thing is, whether for $1,000 or $2, beautiful things went to good homes, to people who were very happy to buy them.” — Cathy DeDe/p>

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