READING, Pa. - Berks Community Television (BCTV) is bringing live auctions to television with the debut airing of a new show called Auction Action On BCTV on Monday evening, January 30th, at 6 pm, with the first item up for bid at 7 pm. The program will be hosted by Bill Howze, the owner of The Renaissance Auction Group in Reading, Pa., and host of the popular BCTV show All That Stuff.
In the first hour of the show, Mr. Howze will explain how the auction works and preview featured lots. All bidding is online. Individuals can bid from anywhere in the world on their desktop or mobile devices beginning Monday, January 16th.
Auction previews will be held at 1251 Chestnut Street on two Saturdays and Sundays - January 21st, 22nd, 28th and 29th, from 9 am to 1 pm each day. Berks County residents who have BCTV as part of their cable package will be able to view the show live. Bidding will be driven through The Renaissance Auction Group website at www.auctionhowze.com. The show will be fast-paced - averaging one item closing per minute.
Starting at 7 pm, the auction will officially kick off. The debut program will feature many items in a broad range of categories, many of them specific to Berks County. These will include a circa 1775 Berks County tall case clocks, a Reading Trolley fare counter, a Philadelphia & Reading Railroad platform sign and original works by artists with ties to the Berks County area.
“The merchandise mix will include multiple categories of antiques collectibles and fine art,” Mr. Howze said. “We expect a strong and enthusiastic viewership in our first show, especially with the many interesting items relating to Berks County. I’m pleased that my auction firm will be conducting this event in conjunction with BCTV. Part of the proceeds will benefit our public access channel.”
Heather Adams, executive director of BCTV, echoed those words. “Bill Howze’s All That Stuff show consistently ranks in the top ten programs viewed online at bctv.org, so we’re excited to have him host a second show with such a unique auction concept,” she said. “As for the partnership, it’s a win-win. Plus it widens our audience by attracting antiques and collectibles enthusiasts.”
Ms. Adams said BCTV has benefited from fundraiser auctions for 25 years, but not in this way. She added that Auction Action On BCTV is scheduled from 6 pm to 10 pm, but because of the nature of an auction, it may run shorter or longer. The show will be telecast live from the BCTV studio. BCTV is seen in 100,000 homes in Berks County, through Comcast and Service Electric cable.
The regional artists represented in the auction will include Christopher Shearer (1846-1926), Victor Shearer (1872-1951), W. Eugene Burkhardt, Jr., M.B. (Mary) Leisz and Hazel Feltman (1947-2012) among others. All had direct ties to Reading and Berks County. The Christopher Shearer is a 1925 oil on canvas, three Victor Shearer works date from 1935-1941. Two W. Eugene Burkhardt, Jr., works are beautiful cut flower collages.
Christopher Shearer was born in Reading and was best known for his landscape, coastal and wildlife paintings. His father encouraged his artistic side by building him a studio in the back yard of his Shearertown farm. At age 21, he opened a studio in Reading and was quite successful in selling his paintings. Shearer exhibited his works at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
Victor Shearer made a name for himself by becoming a landscape and seascape painter in the traditional style. He often sold his artworks for a few dollars apiece on the streets of Reading. He lived in Reading nearly his entire life and before pursuing art he had a basket making business.
W. Eugene Burkhardt, Jr. was an internationally known dried flower artist and the author of Pressed Flower Art: Tips, Tools and Techniques for Learning the Craft. In September 2015, at Renninger’s Market in Kutztown, an auction of Burkhardt’s work. framed and unframed prints, awards and Philadelphia Flower Show entries - was held. Mr. Howze officiated the sale, in fact.
Additional items in the auction specific to Pennsylvania will include a Chippendale tall case clock, a period Chippendale side chair, a 1909 photo lithograph showing the Mayor of Reading and members of the Reading Police Department, photos of Civil War soldiers from Fleetwood, Pa. and Reading and a watercolor painting by Jack Coggins (1911-2006), who was born in Great Britain but emigrated to the US and lived in New York and Pennsylvania.
Items in the auction not connected to Reading will include an original work by pop art icon Peter Max (N.Y., b. 1937), a Tiffany sterling silver cake stand weighing 38 troy silver ounces, portrait miniatures of the Emperor Napoleon and his Empress Josephine, and a pair of original oil on canvas studies by Lord Frederick Leighton (Great Britain, 1830-1896).
Leighton received his training in Brussels, Paris and Frankfurt, unlike most major artists of the 19th century, who studied at the Royal Academy of Schools. He was blessed with golden good looks and led a charmed life. He was also the only painter ever to be raised to the English peerage, but it was short-lived; one day after being designated a Lord, Leighton died at age 66.
Berks Community Television can be seen on Comcast Reading channel 15; Comcast-Southern Berks channel 965; and Service Electric channel 19. The Municipal Access Channel (MAC) is Comcast Reading channel 99. BCTV.org is a 501c3 nonprofit corporation committed to providing live programming produced and hosted by members of the community on cable TV and its website.
The Renaissance Auction Group is located at 1404 Friedensburg Road in Reading. The firm assists clients in the liquidation of tangible property, including antiques, collectibles, business inventories and commercial equipment, as well as residential, historic, commercial and agricultural real estate. Benefit auction consultation and production services are also provided.