About the Art Auction

Past, present, and future will come together on May 15th at the Columbia Public Library’s Second Annual Art Auction, a fundraising event featuring live bidding on more than two dozen historic and contemporary works of art and “buy it now” opportunities on a number of donated items.

The auction and sale will feature works by leading artists in and around Columbia, including pieces from galleries in Lancaster City, as well as several paintings that the library has decided to remove from storage and deaccession. Several oil paintings depicting local scenery are being refurbished and reframed before being offered to the public with services provided by Garth Gallery in Columbia.

“The deaccessioning process is always a bit painful,” says Steve Sherk, Library Board President.  “However, it is also gratifying to know that these treasures will hang in homes and businesses where they will be admired and appreciated. In addition, the funds raised at the May 15th auction will enable the library to conserve and display important pieces in its permanent collection.”

The Library is also expanding a feature that proved extremely popular at the inaugural 2021 event, deaccessioning a selection of high-interest and collector-quality books from its collection.

Most of the individual books are priced at $5 or $10, with a few themed lots on Railroads, World War II and Baseball. A vintage lot of Bobbsey Twins books, a boxed Lord of the Rings set and signed cookbooks by Betty Groff are also included in the sale.

Buy It Now items will be available on a first-come first-serve basis when the doors open for the preview at 1:30 pm.

Among the featured items in the rare books segment of the auction are signed copies of The Splendid and the Vile (Erik Larson), Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (John Berendt) and Electronic Life (Michael Crichton), as well as a 1st edition of Milton S. Hershey signed by co-authors Katherine Shippen and Paul Wallace. A lot of three books from the personal collection of Columbia artist Wilfred Ferguson—several of whose paintings are included in the auction—should also be of interest to collectors.

Two books that have already begun to generate significant collector interest are the 1952 1st American edition of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl and a one-of-a-kind 1905 copy of Lloyd Mifflin’s The Fleeing Nymph and Other Verses. The Mifflin book is in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and was originally donated in 1931 by Dr. Houston Mifflin in memory of his son.

The event is open to the public free of charge and there is no buyer’s premium on the auction items.  Preview begins at 1:30 p.m. inside the library at 24 South 6th Street and the auction will take place beginning at 3 p.m. on the library terrace overlooking Locust Street Park, weather permitting. Light fare and beverages will be served.

The Columbia Public Library was built in 1960 and enlarged in 1973. The library underwent a major renovation and expansion in 2018 — increasing its interior space by more than 60% and adding a reading terrace overlooking the park.

We look forward to you joining us for the 2nd Annual Columbia Public Library Art Auction!


Sponsorship opportunities are available to underwrite auction costs. Those interested may contact Robin Gamby 717-575-9032 or rcgamby@comcast.  You may also click the links below.

CPL Art Auction Sponsorship Request Letter

CPL Art Auction Sponsorship Form