Austin billionaire selling part of personal collection


by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and photojournalist SCOTT MCKENNEY

Posted on September 13, 2013 at 6:23 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 13 at 8:27 PM

AUSTIN -- It's a collection unlike any other and the owner, Austin billionaire Richard Garriott, is selling some of his prized possessions to the highest bidder.

He's a gaming company tycoon. He's gone into space with the Russians, visited the Titanic site, explored the Amazon, and had other amazing adventures. 

Now he's ready to part with some of the unique things he's collected along the way.

Inside the Austin Auction Gallery is a treasure-trove collectors can't wait to plunder.

Items owned by Richard Garriott are going on the auction block.

Garriot is selling part of his well-known collection of automatons, which are antique and modern toys that you can wind up or plug in.

One of Garriott’s favorites has a life-sized couple whose bodies and hands move with the music they create.

Auctioneer Chris Featherston is getting the items ready

“A lot of what he collected was created by people who didn't let their imagination stay in their head,” Featherston said. 

While some of the items are flashy enough to catch everybody's eye, other items, Featherston says, like orreries, are extremely rare.

“It's supposed to mimic the track the heavenly bodies take,” he said.  “It's unusual, you don't find a lot of them. We've had a ton of interest.”

A replica of a Wells Fargo stagecoach is expected to fetch at least $30,000.00. And a model of the 1903 Tsiolkovsky space rocket is also up for grabs.

“Richard wants us to get rid of this stuff so he authorized us to start low and hope that the market takes care of things,”Featherston said.

There's even a working Model-T car.

The upcoming auction is getting international attention.

“in Europe as a whole there's a lot more interest in the curiosities, the microscopes and things like that,” Featherson said.

Some wonder why Garriot is selling these pieces.

“He's moved his main residence to New York, married a beautiful woman and now has a child,” said Featherston

That major life-change is a jackpot for collectors around the world.

The auction is set for Saturday September 21 at 10:00 am, at the Austin Auction Gallery at 8414 Anderson Mill Road.