Here's a little about George: The grandkids grew up reading to him, he can't legally be sold and he's a giant taxidermied sea turtle. Right now, he sits by a fireplace in the Boise mansion of the late Velma Morrison. Next to George is a handwritten sign: "Not for Sale."
Morrison passed away in June 2013, leaving behind Boise's version of Camelot: a 12,000-square-foot home overlooking Ann Morrison Park. The mansion is packed with delicate china, exotic jade carvings, original oil paintings, bronze sculptures, furnishings and other unique finds like George.
This is where Kent Corbett comes in. He's the general manager of Boise-based Corbett Auctions and he talks fast. If you're not listening closely, you'll miss the jokes and peculiar tidbits he weaves into conversation. It's his job to sell every last object in the home--save for George the turtle and a handful of other interesting collectibles.
After Morrison's family members had their pick of possessions, Corbett set up three online auctions, letting buyers from all over the world pore over two dozen pages of her jewelry, art and furnishings. He'll host a live auction on Saturday, May 10 at 10 a.m. in Morrison's Crescent Rim Drive home.
When Corbett first walked through the home's giant glass front doors, past the glass elevator and through sitting room after sitting room, everything was just as Morrison left it--she spent most of the last few years of her life in her home in California. Corbett and his employees started taking things out of drawers, opening cupboards, emptying shelves and putting Morrison's belongings on display. Corbett figures his company has spent more than 300 hours sorting and arranging her belongings.
"Every time I come in here, I see something new," Corbett said, looking up at the intricate moulding on the ceiling. "There were five bedrooms and eight bathrooms at last count. You can fit 18 cars in the garage. Probably 20 if you're into small cars like Porsches."
Just then, the house phone rang. The ringing echoed around, ricocheting off of the spiral staircase, the rock wall inlaid with small lightbulbs and 100-pound bronze ballerina figurine.