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‘Old’ Means ‘Sold’ at the University of Texas Law School Library

At least 700 pieces of art and other collectibles that were given on long-term loan to the University of Texas Law School of Law Library are scheduled to be auctioned off in Dallas this Thursday. Apparently, after extensive renovation including additional offices for faculty and staff by reducing library space, there is little room to house the art collection.

Elton Hyder III the son of late Elton Hyder Jr. authorized the sale of the pieces, many of which had been at the law library for more than 50 years. Some of the pieces dated back from the 17th century and quite priceless. But, as Elton says, “The Internet brought cataclysmic changes to how a law school looks at itself … I think it was something that the law school knew needed to be adjusted. It’s a very normal part of the evolution after 50 years.”

The Internet changed how law schools looked at 17th century antiques?

Barbara Bintliff, director of the library was more straightforward. She said, “We didn’t have room for everything … Once we got the first wave of the collection back and installed, we realized we needed a little here and a little there.”

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The collection, at least thousand pieces of which are owned by the school’s foundation was important enough to have a brochure at the front-desk for visitors, and have drawn visits from art history classes frequently. Bintliff emphasized the collection was invaluable and when asked about it she said I “couldn’t begin to tell you.”

Elton Hyder said there were problems of curators, insurances, and space, and of course the immense money that might be at stake. He said, “Something like this has never really come on the market before, which makes it unique and also more unknown. You also have Texas alumni who have lived with this collection.”

Brian Roughton, the fine arts department director of Heritage Auctions in Dallas said, “A lot of Texas exes might want to have a piece of history.”

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