|By Eric C. Rodenberg
LIBERTY, Ind. — Back in the early 1970s, Lee Paul was shooting pool with a buddy. While they were shooting, Paul’s friend mentioned he was going to an auction later that day. He invited Paul to join him.
“That’s pretty much how it all got started,” Lee’s grandson, Jason Paul, said. “He was instantly bit by the collecting bug.”
He took his wife, Martha, to the next auction. She, too, was instantly smitten. During the next few years, Lee and Martha became prodigious buyers. On a visit to Martha’s hometown, Sandgap, Ken., they found a little antique store, discovered it was for sale and bought all the contents.
As many collectors shortly discover, these “great buys” were physically forcing the pair from their home. Shortly thereafter, Lee built a concrete business structure in front of their house on busy State Road 44 between Liberty and Connersville.
They operated the business for years. Between 1975 and 1984, Lee’s son, Gary Paul, operated an auctioning service there, according to his wife, Wilma.
“They just learned on their own,” Wilma Paul says. “They’d always be out looking, and they were reading the Tri-State Trader (which became AntiqueWeek). Lee always really liked clocks. He learned to look how furniture was made and became pretty good at picking wooden antiques.
“Martha would go more to the dolls. She loved dolls, and had many old dolls bought from all over the area. She also liked all kinds of glass, she had a collection of carnival glass, lots of cut glass … and lamps, she loved lamps. She had nearly every type of lamp there is.”
The older couple also ran an upholstery business, Paul’s Upholstery, and, if time allowed, would buy older, well-made chairs, and reupholster them.
They operated the business for 25 years. It closed in the early 2000s. Martha died in 2011 and Lee died in 2016.
“It’s been closed for at least 10, maybe 15 of the last years,” Auctioneer Terry Abernathy, who has sold in the area for 34 years, said. “But, a lot of what they collected has been in the store – and their home – was collected up to 50 years ago. They were great people. I remember when they were on the auction circuit. They were good customers of mine.”
On April 6-7, Abernathy will be selling the estate of Lee and Martha Paul. “There will be 38 long guns, 25 pistols and more than 60 clocks,” Abernathy said. “It’s one of the best auctions we have had in this area for some time.”
There will be at least 900 lots sold at Abernathy Auction, south of Liberty, at 640 W. Contreras Pike.
Contact: (765) 458-5826