Rolls-Royce Auction To Benefit Ohio State Cancer Program

Armen Hareyan's picture

Richard J. Solove's passion for his cherished collection of Rolls-Royce automobiles is almost as strong as his determination to see a cure for cancer.

His vision for that day is unwavering, but it's his method of funding this quest that is stirring excitement among researchers in one of the nation's major cancer centers and around the world in the circles of vintage car collectors.

Late this summer, the Columbus real estate developer will see his remarkable collection of 13 Rolls-Royces, the fruits of more than 35 years of collecting, sold at auction with all proceeds going to the cancer program at Ohio State and benefiting the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Solove is a longtime contributor to the university's cancer program and it's his resolve to boost cancer research that is behind one of the largest philanthropic gifts in the James' history and an event that fills the 82-year-old Solove with wide-ranging emotion.

As an avid collector of cars bearing the Rolls-Royce nameplate, Solove will be ringside watching his beloved cars, some 100 years old and a few originally owned by Maharajas, pass to the hands of new owners for the first time in decades. The collection, which includes the oldest Silver Ghost in the world, a 1907 Rolls-Royce built just three years after the company began operation, is regarded as one of the finest and most complete collections in existence.

Parting with the cars will be a sentimental moment for Solove; however, the sale will benefit clinicians and cancer researchers at Ohio State more than just financially, according to Dr. David Schuller, the hospital's senior executive director.


"Dick is a person who, when he believes in something, never falters in his support," said Schuller. "His monetary contributions have helped us immensely, but it's his unwavering faith in our mission as caregivers, scientists and educators that keeps us energized. Despite the challenges we face each day trying to gain ground on such a dreaded disease, Dick never loses hope in what tomorrow may bring," adds Schuller. "It's an outlook that is very refreshing."

Solove is humble when asked about his charitable gifts. But he does hope his own examples of giving will inspire gifts from others to their favorite charity or cause. "No matter what you do, you can always do better," said Solove. "There is such a tremendous need to support programs that have the potential to do so much good in the lives of others."

Collecting the cars has been a labor of love for the Columbus native. "I'm told they could all go (at auction) within an hour," said Solove. "That's incredible. But even more incredible will be what the proceeds will be able to do."

The sale of the cars will take place Aug. 19 as part of this year's Pebble Beach Auction, the final event of the internationally renowned Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. David Gooding, founder and president of Gooding & Company, which conducts the sale, said the selection of Rolls-Royces from Solove's collection will attract world-wide interest.

"This sale is tremendously exciting because of the incredible quality, rarity and value of the cars offered," said Gooding. "Gooding & Company is proud to have been selected to help Dick facilitate the unprecedented generosity of this gift."

Solove received a bachelor's degree in pharmacy from Ohio State in 1948. He eventually owned three Columbus drugstores before he sold them in 1963 to devote full time to real-estate development.

The Solove name has long been associated with Ohio State, but it was his close relationship with his longtime friend and the hospital's namesake, Dr. Arthur G. James, that drew him closer to the cancer program.

His many years of support for cancer research was recognized in 1999 with the renaming of the hospital to the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. The renowned hospital is the clinical arm for the university's Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of only 39 in the country.