Pawn star deal
CANTON – The McKinley Presidential Library and Museum in northeast Ohio is hurriedly fundraising in hopes of buying a tiara that once belonged to President William McKinley’s wife.
A local library director believes anytime a public group can aquire something for all to see, it is beneficial.
The owners of Ida McKinley’s diamond-accented headpiece sold it to Gold and Silver Pawn, the Las Vegas pawn shop featured in the History Channel show, “Pawn Stars,” the Akron Beacon Journal reported.
Shop co-owner Rick Harrison has offered to sell the piece to the Canton museum for $43,000, the amount he paid for it.
“It’s been appraised at $75,000, so it’s a good deal,” museum curator Kim Kenney said. The piece has a metal band with detachable diamond wings that could be worn instead as brooches.
The catch is that the offer expires June 24. The nonprofit museum is not a federally funded presidential library, and it does not have a budget for acquisitions, so it is soliciting donations in an effort to purchase the tiara.
The facility had borrowed the tiara previously to display for special events but was caught off guard by the sale to the pawn shop and initially was told the shop wouldn’t sell the headpiece, Kenney said.
She said Harrison then called last month offering to sell it, and the museum hasn’t yet hashed out exactly how to go about the urgent fundraising blitz.
“We never do this,” Kenney said. “This is extraordinary for us.”
Ida McKinley, a Canton native, died in 1907, and the headpiece was then passed down in her sister’s family, the newspaper said.
Patrick Finan, director of the McKinley Memorial Library/ Museum in Niles, said the effort to acquire the tiara for public display is to be commended.
”If they can get the tiara, it will be great. It will be kept in the public eye where it can be seen by many people as opposed to being in someone’s private collection where no one will see it,” Finan said.
He said over the years, the McKinley Memorial Library Board has acquired pictures and other McKinley artifacts to display in the William McKinley Replica childhood home or the museum auditorium.
”The market for items is starting to dry up so there is not as much out there,” Finan said.
He said he watched the program on television that is making the tiara available once he heard about it.
”Anytime something can be acquired for public display is what we support,” Finan said.