Equine photographer Tony Leonard's personal items to be auctioned

vhoneycutt@herald-leader.comFebruary 25, 2011 

On Sunday, the personal items of Lexington equine photographer Tony Leonard will be auctioned to help pay for his long-term care and medical costs.

In nearly 50 years as an equine photographer, Leonard, 88, captured hundreds of great Thoroughbreds, including Northern Dancer, Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Barbaro.

The auction in Lexington will not include his extensive negative collection and portfolio but will feature several signed, framed photographs, said Rebecca Naser, a Lexington attorney and Leonard's guardian.

"It is a very eclectic offering," auctioneer Filson Graham of Bluegrass Auction said in a statement. Items will include Leonard's cameras and lenses, and signed artwork of Secretariat, Genuine Risk and Nashua.

When Leonard and his wife, Adelle, needed care in 2009, the court made them wards of the state.

There was a groundswell of public support for them to have a more independent lifestyle and to make sure Leonard's negatives were preserved and that money from their sale was used for their care.

Last May, Leonard, his wife and their relatives won an effort in court to have responsibility for their care transferred to private guardians — Naser and a nephew.

Leonard recently moved from an assisted-living center because he wanted to be with his wife at Homestead Nursing Home in Lexington, Naser said.

Efforts are being made to sell or endow his negative collection with an institution of the Thoroughbred industry.

The auction Sunday will include items that Leonard collected in his travels around the world.

"We have items from his travels, such as African carved figurines and masks, and a baseball signed by the New York Yankees during the Reggie Jackson era, when they won the World Series," Graham said.

The items will be auctioned, along with items from other estate sales, beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday at Bluegrass Auction, 1387 East New Circle Road in Lexington.

They can be seen from noon to 5 p.m. Friday and from noon until the start of the auction Sunday. Items also can be seen in an online slide show at Bluegrassauction.com.

Reach Valarie Honeycutt Spears at (859) 231-3409 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3409.

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