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Auction raises $11,000 for Watertown Urban Mission


WATERTOWN — A bidding war was underway between Arthur W. Deren and Thomas L. Ferguson for lot number 34 at Saturday’s auction supporting the Watertown Urban Mission.

At stake: an antique spinning wheel.

After a slow start, the pair’s bids picked up the pace, with each side flashing his bidding card immediately after the other:

$140. $150. $160. $170.

The bids fit the budget of Mr. Ferguson, who planned to give a set amount to the group during the day, primarily through auction bids, with the rest in a donation.

“It’s not so much the item,” he said. “It’s to support the mission.”

$180. $190. $200.

Asked by auctioneer and local businessman Paul A. Simmons to go higher, Mr. Deren bumped his bid to $210.

Mr. Ferguson kept his bidding card down. Going once, going twice, sold.

“I just knew I wanted it,” Mr. Deren said. “Price wasn’t the criteria.”

The spinning wheel was one of more than 100 items auctioned off during the event, held in the bingo hall of St. Anthony’s Church, 850 Arsenal St. The event is in its sixth year.

“It’s all friendly competition, and I love it,” said Erika F. Flint, the nonprofit’s executive director.

Organizers said Saturday afternoon that about $11,000 was raised between the auction itself and other fundraisers held during the event, one of the highest amounts raised in the past three years. The money will go toward all of the Urban Mission’s programs, which Mrs. Flint said aids thousands of people in the north country.

The auction featured a wide range of items, from musical instruments to sports and military-themed memorabilia, a vintage baby stroller and a silver dining set.

One happy bidder was Watertown resident Isaiah Cantey, who won a cuckoo clock with a $100 bid.

“It’s from Germany, and I was born there,” he said.

He said the clock reminded him of the time he spent with his grandparents in the Münchweiler area.

Many items auctioned during the day were donated by local churches, including a collection of 20 themed baskets, which raised $2,680.

“We’ve been blessed with the support we’ve received,” Mrs. Flint said.

The lot that raised the most money was a collection of Hummel figurines, which went for $510.

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