Many 1904 World's Fair items featured in auction Saturday

Few subjects stir more interest among STL collectors than the 1904 World's Fair, and an auction Saturday has mounds of memorabilia through which to wade.

Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers will hammer out items from the estate of Patricia Villmer, a founder of the St. Louis World's Fair Society.

The fair, officially the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, was held from April to December 1904, in and around Forest Park.

The fair-related memorabilia — most estimated to sell for less than $1,000 — includes collections of advertising cards, pins, medals, shot glasses, silk postcards, event programs and hand fans.

One of the fair items expected to draw a top price ($400 to $800) is a short sword and scabbard made about 1900. The etchings on the blade show "Jefferson Guard" on one side and "Louisiana Purchase Exposition" on the other.

The auction also will offer other non-fair St. Louis items, including the one expected to draw the most money: A limited-edition miniature version of "The Captain Returns" — Harry Weber's sculpture of Lewis & Clark that resides in Gateway Arch National Park — is estimated to sell for $5,000 to $7,500.

Miniature of "The Captain Returns," by Harry Weber (Photo by Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers

Another item expected to go over the "grand" mark is an 1874 Currier & Ives colored lithograph of St. Louis city. Estimated auction price is $1,000 to $2,000.

For interested bidders, there will be a reception at 6 p.m. Friday at the auction house, 555 Washington Ave. The auction will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday.

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