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St. Charles' Old Man River Statue to be Auctioned Sunday

The statue stood out front of City Hall since 2002 but was damaged a year ago.

Old Man River will be up for auction in St. Charles on Sunday. 

He stood out front of city hall for nine years until vandals ripped the wooden helm from his hands a year ago. 

Made of construction grade foam, wood, paint and material that's used in truck bed liners, the Old Man River statue was created by artist David Potthast. 

It was commissioned by the Regional Arts Commission as part of its People Project in 2001, according to city spokeswoman Carol Felzien. The city purchased the statue for $3,000, she said. It stood outside with another statue, featuring a girl standing on the moon, holding a star. 

St. Charles Police Lt. David Senter said the investigation into the vandalism stalled because police had little information to go on. 

The statue has been in storage ever since. 

But on Sunday, Old Man River will be up for auction along with other forgotten, unneeded surplus items: boxes of typewriter correction tape, obsolete code books, a Christmas tree. The auction starts at noon Sunday on the top level of the parking garage at 200 North Second Street.

"We put Old Man River into surplus because it was irreparable from our standpoint," Felzien said, noting that the base, the statue's fingers and feet were damaged and the helm missing. 

Potthast told the Suburban Journals a year ago that he was saddened to hear the statue was damaged. "I am upset about it," he said. "It's shocking." He did not immediately return calls for comment. 

Felzien said under city ordinance, anything left unpurchased would be thrown out. She said if the artist is interested in the statue, he could bid on it or contact the city and pick it up if it remains unsold after the auction. 

The city would rather see it sold or returned to the artist than put in the trash, Felzien said.  

See the full list of items at the auction here. 

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