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Collection to go under an auction gavel

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Adolph Bautista stands by a 1928 Ford Model A that he inherited. The vehicle will be up for auction Saturday.


Before his passing on May 16, 2017, James “Jimmy,” Phillips spent much of his 75 years collecting local artifacts of the past.

“He had tons of knowledge about Madera,” said Adolph Bautista executor of his estate. “He loved this community a lot.”

Phillips was orphaned at a young age and was reared by his cousins, Guy and Edith Crow. The native and lifelong resident of Madera, and son of Everett and Gladys Phillips, attended local schools and graduated from Madera Union High School with the class of 1958.

He delighted in going to auctions, estate sales and swap meets. Housed in two warehouses, a Santa Fe boxcar and his home is a variety of relics he acquired from these sources.

“He had jukeboxes, cars, fire engines and arcade games,” said Bautista.

Poor vision prohibited him from driving but he rode a bicycle around town, becoming a part of the local Madera landscape.

Most mornings he left his home on Yosemite Avenue to meet for morning coffee with friends at the McDonald’s on Howard Road.

He met with a rotating group that included Bautista, Jim Toschi, Lewis Cramer, Rueban Arbarllo, Andy Gutirrez, Leon and Doris Potter among them, Bautista said.

Phillips spent his days curating an ever-expanding collection of antique and classic vehicles that includes a 1923 Maxwell, 1920 Chevy 490, three rare Besotes boats and three fire engines just to name a few.

Beginning Saturday at 10 a.m. at Phillips’ warehouse, 609 Gateway Drive, a large portion of his belongings will be on the auction block. Central Valley Estate Auction has been hired to sell his treasures.

A preview will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. Cash, credit and debit cards will be accepted, but no personal checks.

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