Feinstein auctions collection, but doesn't want to lose PawSox
Alan Shawn Feinstein is one of the many who want to see the PawSox stay in Rhode Island.
That wasn’t the reason he was in the audience Saturday morning at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers in Cranston, although there is a connection. Feinstein was at Bruneau’s as works of art and other collectibles he and his wife bought in their trips to Thailand and the Far East were sold. All the proceeds, totaling more than $16,000, went to the Alan Shawn Feinstein Foundation that the philanthropist valued at $40 million.
“I’m giving out about $1.5 million a year,” he said.
Feinstein was joined by Roy Beye, a friend and former operator of the Carousel in Roger Williams Park, who ended up bidding and buying one of the pieces from the Feinstein collection.
Feinstein hoped the collection would bring more.
“Prices were going for less than anticipated,” he said. He was surprised by one lot – a set of jade animal seals – that fetched $7,070. He didn’t imagine it was worth anything like that.
A sterling silver Chinese junk (a type of ancient sailing ship) mounted on a jade stand sold for $950 and a gold peacock with jewels mounted in its plumage went for $1,900. Feinstein was happy with the amount.
Feinstein made his fortune with a monthly newsletter, “Insider’s Report,” that he started publishing in 1974. For many years, Beacon Press in Apponaug printed the report and Feinstein was a regular at the office. The report and a second newsletter, “Eye to the Future,” he says, had more than 500,000 subscribers. The newsletter offered financial advice, including the purchase of eclectic coins, stamps and collectibles, which in some instances he sold.
Saturday’s auction didn’t include any of those items. Rather, these were purchases Feinstein and his wife, Dr. Pratarnporn Feinstein, made for their personal enjoyment on their trips. Feinstein said he kept a few of his favorite items and others picked out by his son and daughter, but there aren’t enough items for another auction.
Since he had a personal attachment to items auctioned, as they weren’t bought for investment, didn’t he have difficulty parting with them?
Feinstein smiled at the question. He had thought of that.
“I’m pleased that it’s going to our school kids,” he said.
He said half the families in the state have children who are members of the Feinstein Junior Scholarship Club for the good deeds they do.
He said he is in talks with Roger Williams University and Rhode Island College to create scholarships for students looking to become teachers, as they will carry on the value he sees in helping others.
Junior Scholarship Club members are entitled to free admission to the Providence Children’s Museum, Battleship Cove, Mystic Aquarium and a number of other locations including the Pawtucket Red Sox. Feinstein said the foundation pays $20,000 a year to the PawSox for admissions.
But he fears the PawSox deal that has been endorsed by the State Senate but has stalled in the House may not pass. If it doesn’t, Pawtucket Red Sox games could become one less rewarding experience for Feinstein Junior Scholars. It’s not something Feinstein wants to see happen.
“They mean a lot to the state,” he said of the PawSox.