Society Column: Handbag Happy Hour a success at Lucas estate


A sold out crowd of 300 gathered at the Lucas estate May 1 to bid on favorite designer, vintage and antique handbags being auctioned for the benefit of IU Health services.

Methodist Hospital Task Core sponsored the handbag auction, which included a Louis Vuitton clasp purse valued at $3,100. Other designer bags such as Michael Kors, Tory Burch, Coach and Tommy Hilfiger garnered high bids.

The purse drawing the most bids was a 1950s Bakelite purse in mint condition. Bakelite is one of the first synthetic plastics and is now considered collectible due to its retro appeal. A black silk cocktail purse like one given to former First Lady Barbara Bush rounded out some of the unique items. Only two of these purses were ever made, and according to reports, Barbara Bush still has hers.

The one at the auction is the only other that exists. It sold for a reported $850. During the course of the evening, a total of 80 handbags were sold.

Laura Steele, the exuberant rock ‘n’ roll radio personality from Q95, emceed the event and announced winners of the wine pull, with winners taking home rare vintages of wine valued at $100 or more.

Ellen Frist, current president of the Methodist Hospital Task Core, noted that the handbag auction replaced the arts and antique benefit, traditionally held at the fairgrounds for 26 years.

“We’re trying something new,” she said.

“As a nod to the antiques event, we have the table of vintage purses,” President Elect Lisa Breall added.

Theresa Goble, a Task Core member, directed us to the vintage and antique items table, which offered the 1950s Bakelite purse, a 100-year-old coin purse from Germany and other interesting collectibles.

Of the 160 Task Core members, approximately one-third are Carmel residents. Those attending from Carmel and the metro area included, to name a few: Lisa Brandt, Mona Euler, Laura Gaybrick, Jane Tuttle, Linda Lugar, Sally Lugar, Ilana Mordoh, Dorothea Genetos, Anne King, Lauren Salerno, Karen Miller, Casey Miller, Sherry Fagin, Therese Coffey and Libby Miller.

For donations or information regarding the Methodist Hospital Task Core, contact: Kelli Alexiou at 962-1777.

Tonya Burton is the Current’s social scene columnist. You may contact her at