Habitat ReStore scores amazing haul from former Peter Guber estate

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Heavy and ornate Native American dresses made from animal hides and a photo of Jack Nicholson in "The Last Detail" are part of the former Peter Guber estate donated to Habitat For Humanity's ReStore in Basalt.
Scott Condon/The Aspen Times |

Habitat For Humanity’s ReStore is accustomed to reaping large donations of furniture, electronics and such when Aspen-area hotels decide to remodel.

But the Roaring Fork chapter’s stores in Basalt and Glenwood Springs have never seen anything quite like the estate belongings that were donated in late April.

The latest bounty features promotional still photos from blockbuster movies, Indian artifacts, a Steinway piano valued at $45,000, high-end Stickley chairs and loads of hand-carved, U.S. Western-themed furniture.

The items come from the former estate of Hollywood movie chief and independent producer Peter Guber. A woman who bought his Mandalay Ranch some years ago has donated more than 500 items from Guber’s former estate, according to Scott Gilbert, president of Habitat For Humanity Roaring Fork. More items are coming from the home theater and bedrooms. The donor wants to be anonymous.

“This is the mother lode, man. This is nuts,” Gilbert said one recent day while surveying the items from the Guber estate in the ReStore showroom. The ReStore, where Clark’s Market was formerly located in downtown Basalt, boasts about 18,400 square feet of floor space. Gilbert estimated that 6,000 square feet features items from Guber’s estate. Other pieces still need to be placed on display.

Habitat sent five trucks to the estate to collect items on the first day, Gilbert said, and one truck went back for more.

The donor decided to remodel the home and initially tried to donate the items to the Jewish center in Aspen. It didn’t fit with the decor there, but congregation member Assaf Dory suggested the woman donate the items to Habitat For Humanity for sale at the ReStore, according to Gilbert. The nonprofit raises cash from sales — in this case, it will likely be well into six figures — and the donor receives tax credits.

Dory and his family were awarded the first Habitat house in Basalt. He works closely with the organization to pay it forward.

Guber sold his Mandalay Ranch in February 2004 to Dawn and Roland Arnall for $46 million. It was a record sale at the time for residential property in Pitkin County and one of the top sales in the country, according to a story of the sale in The Aspen Times.

At the time of the sale, the 15,000-square-foot house featured 7 bedrooms and 7 ½ bathrooms, a home theater, an indoor gym and basketball court. The property is located between the Two Creeks section of Snowmass Ski Area and West Buttermilk in Owl Creek Valley. The sale included the furnishings and artifacts.

Guber owned Mandalay Ranch for 18 years. Pitkin County took action against him in 1992 for building illegal structures in sensitive wildlife habitat. Guber tore down a barn. In return, county commissioners allowed two cabins to remain.

Guber has enjoyed an illustrious career in Hollywood. He was studio chief of Columbia Pictures when it released movies such as “Tommy,” “Shampoo,” “The Way We Were,” “Taxi Driver” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”

Guber left Columbia to co-found Casablanca Records, which signed KISS and The Village People, among many successful acts.

Guber also was an independent movie producer. His box office smashes included “Batman,” “Rain Man,” “The Color Purple” and “An American Werewolf in London,” according to his website.

Guber apparently had an interest in Native American artifacts. His former estate includes incredibly heavy and ornate Indian dresses made of animal hide. There also are baskets, moccasins, a headdress and immense drums used as coffee tables.

A dining room table features hand-carved wood chairs that feature images of George Custer, bucking broncos, bison and the like.

Sales of the items will help boost Habitat’s activities in the Roaring Fork Valley. The store is located at 140 Basalt Center Circle.


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