- The Washington Times - Monday, September 6, 2004


JERSEY CITY, N.J. - A company that acquired artifacts salvaged from renovation of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island did not authorize an online auction of the items, the company founder said last week.

The items advertised for auction on EBay were 18 10-inch metal pieces from the statue’s original metal framework erected in 1886, and 25 bricks from the Great Hall, Ellis Island’s main immigration processing building, built in 1916.

The auction sought minimum starting bids of $60,000 for each metal piece and $25,000 per brick. The bidding was to have lasted 10 days but was cut short by the seller Aug. 31 after beginning Aug. 27, according to Chris Donlay, an EBay spokesman.

The Associated Press reported on the auction Aug. 30, quoting Carl Malek, who said he represented Gold Leaf Corp. of Fayetteville, Tenn. On a press release announcing the auction, Mr. Malek’s name appeared with Four Star Brokers as the contact.

Richard Stocks, Gold Leaf’s founder and chief executive officer, said he had preliminary talks about marketing the items with representatives from Four Star. He said they never reached a deal.

“There were no written or even verbal agreements with Gold Leaf or any of the principals,” said Walter Wolfe, Gold Leaf’s lawyer. “I think the best light you could shed on this is perhaps they were overeager, maybe even eagerly looking forward to the potential deal. But they got way ahead of themselves.”

Mr. Malek did not respond to numerous telephone messages left late last week.

Mr. Stocks and his father, John R. Stocks, who helped form the company with his son in 1984, said they met with several representatives of Four Star at a hotel in Asheville, N.C., about two months ago. Both men said there was talk of building a museum to house artifacts from the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, but that the meeting ended without any definitive plans.

“What I discussed with him was the possibility of them repping [representing] our product line, which we’re currently developing,” Richard Stocks said.

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