The historic Tusculum mansion sold for $5.5 million in a live auction on November 7. Laura Brady, managing director of Concierge Auctions, declined to name the winning bidder. The closing is scheduled for Friday, December 6, at which point the name will become public record.
Tusculum was built in 1773 to entice Rev. John Witherspoon, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, to become the sixth president of Princeton University. Tom and Avril Moore bought the five-bedroom home in 1996 and did many renovations to restore its historic character. The Moores had put the home and its 23-acre grounds on the market in 2007 with a $12 million asking price.
Brady said interest in the historic home was intense, with about 9,200 people visiting the auction website beforehand. The estate, located at 166 Cherry Hill Road, also includes a cottage, a pond, orchards, a shale barn, a corn crib, a tennis court and 9,235 square feet of space in the main house.
Bidders had to register ahead of time for the event, and put down a $100,000 deposit in escrow. Brady said eight people bid on the home for about 15 minutes, bringing the price up from a reserve of $2.5 million.
Before the main auction, Concierge auctioned a watch, a laptop, and several other items to raise about $2,000 for the Historical Society of Princeton. About 200 onlookers attended the auction. “It was a very exciting outcome for us,” said Brady.