Huge Butler County history collection of 'First Lady of Fairfield’ to be auctioned this weekend

Items that belonged to the estate of Esther Benzing will be auctioned Saturday on her farm in Fairfield. Auctioneer Mark Mallette called the auction 'dynamite' because of the amount of quality items. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Caption
Items that belonged to the estate of Esther Benzing will be auctioned Saturday on her farm in Fairfield. Auctioneer Mark Mallette called the auction 'dynamite' because of the amount of quality items. SUBMITTED PHOTO

FAIRFIELD — Nearly 200 years of Butler County history will be on the auction block Saturday.

Items that were collected by Esther Benzing, known as the “First Lady of Fairfield,” will be sold Saturday on her farm, 3051 Mack Road. She was a local author, columnist, archivist and “high-end” antique collector, according to a local auctioneer.

Her son, Dr. George Benzing III, who lived on the family farm for many years with his parents, was a noted pediatric surgeon in Cincinnati.

Esther Benzing died in 2002 at 99, and her son died in May at 93.

Mark Mallette said his auction company has spent more than 200 man hours preparing for the one-day sale. He expects the auction, conducted in two rings, to last about seven hours and attract 300 to 400 bidders.

ExploreMan sentenced for starting huge New Year’s Day fire that burned for days

When he started to inventory the Benzing estate, Mallette was amazed by its size and the years it encompassed.

“I had to get stitches after my jaw hit the floor,” he said with a laugh.

Mallette, 72, an auctioneer for 42 years, said the auction will be “dynamite” and attract diverse bidders because of the variety of items available.

“This family threw nothing away,” he said. “It’s incredible what we have found.”

Some of the items include farm tractors, lawn mower, 2000 Chrysler 300, bush hogs, trailers, corn cribs, water troughs and what Mallette described as “outstanding contents” of the 1829 farm house and barns.

Part of the collection includes antique and collectible furniture, Romweber Nordic and Viking oak furniture, diamond and gold jewelry, prints and paintings, shotguns and rifles, clocks, more than 1,000 books, men’s and women’s vintage clothing from the early 1900s, Native American Indian artifacts, old coins, albums of vintage post cards, Rookwood pottery, dolls, and a World War II Army uniform.

Benzing III graduated from Glendale High School in 1944 and served in the U.S. Army from March 1945 to December 1946 with the rank of sergeant.

He received his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1958. From 1961-64, he trained at the National Heart Institute, Department of Pediatrics, while serving a fellowship in pediatric cardiology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

He joined the Division of Cardiology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 1964 and was a member of the team that performed the first heart transplant there in 1968.

Caption
Items that belonged to the estate of Esther Benzing will be auctioned Saturday on her farm in Fairfield. Auctioneer Mark Mallette called the auction 'dynamite' because of the amount of quality items. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Items that belonged to the estate of Esther Benzing will be auctioned Saturday on her farm in Fairfield. Auctioneer Mark Mallette called the auction 'dynamite' because of the amount of quality items. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Caption
Items that belonged to the estate of Esther Benzing will be auctioned Saturday on her farm in Fairfield. Auctioneer Mark Mallette called the auction 'dynamite' because of the amount of quality items. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Caption
Items that belonged to the estate of Esther Benzing will be auctioned Saturday on her farm in Fairfield. Auctioneer Mark Mallette called the auction 'dynamite' because of the amount of quality items. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Items that belonged to the estate of Esther Benzing will be auctioned Saturday on her farm in Fairfield. Auctioneer Mark Mallette called the auction 'dynamite' because of the amount of quality items. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Caption
Items that belonged to the estate of Esther Benzing will be auctioned Saturday on her farm in Fairfield. Auctioneer Mark Mallette called the auction 'dynamite' because of the amount of quality items. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Caption
Items that belonged to the estate of Esther Benzing will be auctioned Saturday on her farm in Fairfield. Auctioneer Mark Mallette called the auction 'dynamite' because of the amount of quality items, including this John Ruthven print. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Items that belonged to the estate of Esther Benzing will be auctioned Saturday on her farm in Fairfield. Auctioneer Mark Mallette called the auction 'dynamite' because of the amount of quality items, including this John Ruthven print. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Caption
Items that belonged to the estate of Esther Benzing will be auctioned Saturday on her farm in Fairfield. Auctioneer Mark Mallette called the auction 'dynamite' because of the amount of quality items, including this John Ruthven print. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Caption
Items that belonged to the estate of Esther Benzing will be auctioned Saturday on her farm in Fairfield. Auctioneer Mark Mallette called the auction 'dynamite' because of the amount of quality items. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Items that belonged to the estate of Esther Benzing will be auctioned Saturday on her farm in Fairfield. Auctioneer Mark Mallette called the auction 'dynamite' because of the amount of quality items. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Caption
Items that belonged to the estate of Esther Benzing will be auctioned Saturday on her farm in Fairfield. Auctioneer Mark Mallette called the auction 'dynamite' because of the amount of quality items. SUBMITTED PHOTO


HOW TO GO

WHAT: Benzing family auction

WHEN: 10 a.m. Saturday

WHERE: 3051 Mack Road, Fairfield

MORE DETAILS: Two auction rings. Food available. On-site parking.

MORE INFORMATION: Call 513-984-0400 or go to www.malletteandassociates.com.

About the Author