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Suwanee auction to include more than 900 items

SUWANEE - Rae Hewell used to travel the world, collecting one-of-a-kind items that eventually came to fill his Suwanee home.

Hewell, co-founder of Peachtree Windows and Doors in Gainesville, acquired hundreds of unusual pieces over his lifetime that will soon be up for sale at a Saturday surplus auction.

Suwanee will auction off more than 900 of Hewell's belongings - items the city acquired after Hewell's death in 2003.

The city purchased Hewell's home before his death with the hope of using the picturesque, 62-acre property on Suwanee Dam Road as the location for the construction of Sims Lake Park, an open space initiative approved last year, that will include a trail that will pass by where the 30-year-old home stands.

As construction of the first phase of Sims Lake Park is set to begin, the city must dispose of the estate.

More than 900 pieces of antique furniture and exotic collectables, including amethyst geodes, a mahogany bed, a Herman Miller oak grandfather clock and a Singer sewing machine console, will be sold at the auction from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Pierce's Corner, 597 Main St., Suwanee.

"This is not your typical government-surplus sale," said Kimberly Larson, an intern for the city who cataloged the 900-plus pieces. "He definitely had some treasures."

In addition to Hewell's collections, Larson said approximately 50 government items, more typical of a city surplus auction, will be sold at bid as well. Retired police cars, office furniture and lawn mowers are among the lot.

Lynne Bohlman DeWilde, city spokeswoman, said all proceeds from the sale of Hewell's belongings will go back to the city for use for parks and open space initiatives. She said the funds raised from the sale of city surplus items will go back to the department from which the item was sold.

Larson said anyone wanting to view the auction items before the bid date can attend a preview from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Anne Evans, certified estate specialist and owner of Anne's Estate Auctions Inc., the company organizing Saturday's event, said she puts on 30 to 40 auctions a year and commented that Hewell's items are some of the most interesting auction pieces she's seen.

"Oh, indeed. This is probably one of the most interesting auctions I've had," Evans said. "We discovered a small rifle there (among Hewell's things) and a receipt with a date that shows the piece is about 120 years old."

Although Evans said she could not predict how much some of Hewell's items could go for, she said there is something for everyone at the auction.

"It depends on who's there and how badly they want a piece," Evans said. "It's not just the most expensive pieces that are great. There are some unframed canvas art pieces that could go pretty inexpensively. There are some really great buys. ... There's really something for everybody and something everyone could afford."

SideBar: At a glance

What: Suwanee's surplus auction

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday with preview times from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday

Where: Pierce's Corner, 597 Main St., Suwanee