Jimmy Carter Raises Cane and Cash as He Puts His Chairs on the Block for His Library
updated 10/24/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 10/24/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Some thought the morning auction should have been held at night. "People buy better over cocktails than after bacon-and-egg breakfasts," noted a Sotheby employee. Still, two unidentified buyers shelled out $41,000 for the Carter chairs, which came with down-home scrapbooks documenting their making (Rosalynn helped weave the bark seats). The photos were annotated in Jimmy's own hand. Confiding that he had "dreaded" raising funds for his library, Carter spoke at length about his "lifetime hobby."
"Working with wood is like a vacation for me," he said, describing his use of drawknives and other "primitive tools" to assemble the chairs without a nail or screw. Explaining such arcana as slat-bending and the relation between seasonal sap flow and the ease of bark removal, Jimmy held most of his audience rapt. But you can't please everybody. Groused one neck-craning gala guest, "Gee, if this were Reagan, Frank Sinatra would be here."