(West Swanzey, N.H. ) – Part I of the living estate of Dolores Wettach Williams – the third wife of baseball legend Ted Williams – will be sold Sunday, November 23, by Knotty Pine Auction Service. Part I will consist of antique furnishings and accessories from the home the two once shared, near Putney, Vt. The sale will be held at Knotty Pine’s showroom, located at 787 West Swanzey Rd., in West Swanzey, N.H.
Ted and Dolores were married for six years, from 1967-1973. They 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.
Throughout Dolores’ life, she accumulated many beautiful antique period furniture pieces, wonderful decorative accessories, original works of art by noted, listed artists, and more. These items will be sold in November. Part II of the sale – scheduled for sometime in spring of 2009 – 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. Following are some expected 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.
• A mounted marlin, caught by Dolores (who, like Ted, was an avid and accomplished fisherman). At the time, the marlin was a world record catch for its class. That world record has since been broken.
• A small continental coffer (sunken ceiling panel) in oak, highly carved (circa early 18th century).
• A paint-decorated, four-drawer Sheraton chest in original old mustard paint, with foliage and fruit decorations (circa 1830s-1840s).
• A child’s push-sled in red paint (circa 1880s).
• 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.
• A Chippendale two-drawer tall blanket chest (18th century), with original red wash.
• Inuit stone carvings from the early 20th century, as well as many other country Americana furnishings.
• 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 who competed in the Miss Universe pageant, winning Miss Congeniality (1956). She was also a registered nurse and mink farmer.”
Dolores Wettach was born in Astoria, N.Y., in 1934, and raised in Vermont. She enrolled at the University of Vermont to earn a degree in nursing. While in New York, she caught the eye of the noted talent agents Bruno and Bodi. Because of her 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.
Her fabulous good looks led to the Miss Vermont title and parts in 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. He 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, where he made significant catches in a 24-hour span (for the record, he bagged two huge red deer, a 587-lb. thresher shark and several rainbow trout – all in well under 24 hours).
Following their courtship, the two were married in 1967. In 1969, Ted was back in baseball — as manager of the Washington Senators, later the Texas Rangers. The Part II portion of the sale will feature memorabilia, personally-owned baseballs, and other baseball memorabilia, with signatures (but not to include uniforms, awards or signed bats).
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, some personally inscribed; photographs of Presidents Kennedy and Nixon, some personally inscribed; Dolores’ modeling portfolios; and other memorabilia from her career.
Ted Williams was one of the greatest baseball players who ever lived. Nicknamed the ‘Splendid Splinter,’ he played his entire career with the Boston Red Sox, from 1939-1960, with two interruptions for military service (during World War II and the Korean War). Williams was an accomplished fighter pilot, and served as John Glenn’s wingman in Korea. Glenn called him “the finest pilot I ever knew.”
The Part I auction will begin at 11 a.m. sharp 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.
Knotty Pine Auction Service is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, estate or collection, you may call them directly, at (800) 352-5251. Or, you can e-mail them at [email protected]. To learn more about the company, or to see images and information for Part I of the Doloroes Wettach Williams living estate sale, please log on to www.knottypineantiques.com.