bidding in the dark header

October 8-10, 2020

It’s not too late! The auction is closed, but you can still support us with a donation or a purchase.

Oh my, this is an unusual event.


Nope, no dinner this year.  Instead, we are asking you to tap into your inner adventurer and philanthropist and bid on items without being able to see them. We call it, Bidding in the Dark.

For all of the items, we’ve provided some description, so you’re not completely in the dark.

For some of the items, our sponsors have provided hints. Just click on the “Get a Hint” link wherever you see this on an auction item to view the sponsored hint.

For a few of the items, we’ve attempted to simulate what the item might look like to someone who has a rare retinal disease. Being blind doesn’t always mean a complete loss of light perception. It might involve loss of one’s central vision, blurred vision, extreme sensitivity to light, night blindness, color loss, a limited field of vision or a number of other challenges based on the retinal disease and severity of the condition.

Only a few of us experience the challenges of growing up without sight, or of going to high school and wondering every day if tomorrow morning will be the day you wake up and can no longer see daylight.

With your help, we can make a difference by raising funds for research to treat blindness and to support our rare retinal disease community. We hope that you will join us in supporting Sofia Sees Hope and enjoy this different approach to an online auction!

Thank you to these auction donors:

Adventure Mystic
Angelica Montingelli
Beth Pite
Lake of Isles
Maureen O’Brien
Mohegan Sun
Mystic Financial Group
Mystic Seaport Museum
Never Enough Bakery
Paul Osgood
Pure Eco Spa
Simply Majestic
SSH Event Team
Wireless Zone of Groton and New London

Support with a purchase!

When you purchase a “Buy Now” item or donate to Sofia Sees Hope, you are supporting scientists across the globe who are working to find treatments that will restore vision to those diagnosed with inherited retinal disease. You are providing access to patients and families who need critical genetic testing. You are helping us connect the patient community with advocacy and education.

Book cover: The New Craft of the Cocktail

Autographed copy of The New Craft of the Cocktail, by award-winning mixologist, Dale DeGroff.

yeti wine tumbler

A pair (2) of 10oz Yeti wine tumblers – perfect for outdoors or the boat!

yeti tumbler

A 20oz, stainless steel Yeti tumbler in white and made with stainless steel.

Auction Reveal

Item #2 – Simply Majestic

Rare 15 mm blister pearl, suspended from a 14k yellow gold, 18” Singapore chain with lobster claw closure.

Value: $1,200
Donor: Simply Majestic

bottle of wine

Item #3 – From Mike’s Cellar

Selected for our event from the private collection of Michael Mondello, this gift includes 7 bottles:

  • 1999 Piper Heidsieck Rare Champagne Magnum, valued at $399.95 (1)
  • 2013 Dominus Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend  “4 perfect 100 points scores”, valued at $524.99 (1)
  • A selection of 5 more bottles from Mike’s collection

Value: $1,100
Donor: Mystic Financial Group LLC

Under the Tuscan Sun

Item #4 – Hills and History, a Tuscan Getaway

7 nights for 4 guests

Situated at the top of two ancient Tuscan hills are the Etruscan towns of Pitigliano and Manciano, both with breathtaking views in all directions. This package includes seven nights of accommodations for four people in Manciano or Pitigliano, Italy, located 1.5 hours north of Rome on the southern edge of Tuscany. You may choose from among more than 10 different villas. Wondering how much fun this is or need pointers on the area? Ask any of the four couples who won this before and gave rave reviews! 

Details: There is no expiration date on this gift and the winner may postpone travel until any year in the future. Dates are subject to availability.

Value: $4,550

Escape to Antigua

Item #5 – Sun and Sea Getaway, Escape to Antigua

7 nights for 4 guests

Enjoy this getaway to Antigua in the British Virgin Islands, where crystal waters lap more than 360 white sand beaches and ocean breezes carry the scent of jasmine and hibiscus. This getaway is for up to four people in a beautifully decorated two-level waterfront villetta in Jolly Harbor. It’s an easy stroll from your home for the week to all the exceptional restaurants, nightlife, beaches, weekly sailing regattas and access to land and water sports. 

The villetta is newly renovated and features two bedrooms, 1.5 baths, open floor plan on the main level with a fully equipped kitchen, and a large terracotta patio overlooking the water and boat docks. Perfect for outdoor dining and watching the sunset.

Details: There is no expiration date on this gift.  The winner may postpone travel until any year in the future. Reservations are subject to availability.

Value: $2,400

never enough bakeshop logo

Item #6 – No Soggy Bottoms Here

The Never Enough Treats Club is a monthly subscription box. Every month, on the second Friday or Saturday, your treat box will be ready for pick up from our location at the Bleu Squid in Mystic, CT! The box could include bread, cookies, cake- the surprise is yours to find out!

This club makes a perfect gift for anyone in your life who loves all things food (this can include your family, friends, co-workers, and, yes, even yourself).  We say food rather than sweets because some months may include baked goods that are not super sugar laden. We have aimed to design this club to be a variety of products – some of which are not even on our regular menu!

Your box is always valued to be $15.00 or more. Each month it may be one large item, or multiple smaller items. 

Value: $90
Donor: Aimee Filippetti, Never Enough Bakeshop at the Bleu Squid

glass vase by Jeffrey Pan

Item #7 – From the Studio of Jeffrey P’an

This round vase is simply stunning with a herringbone pattern. It was created by glass artist Jeffrey P’an using traditional glassblowing techniques that can be traced back centuries with a modern twist on the colors. Jeffrey first creates colored sticks of glass which are formed into a mosaic herringbone pattern. The mosaic is coated in clear glass, then blown up and shaped into the vessel you see today.

Jeffrey P’an studied in Murano, Italy, and founded Prescient Studios in 1994 upon his return to Mystic. Today, Jeffrey’s work can be found in all corners of the world, and Studio Jeffrey P’an is a design house, artist’s workshop, and factory in the tradition of the factories of Murano.

Value: $1,600
Donor: Studio Jeffrey P’an

standup paddleboard

Item #8 – Up a Creek, Standup Paddleboard & Accessories!

This auction item includes:

  • Standup ATX Paddleboard (10’6”): Viking Model 
  • Standup ATX Leash
  • Standup ATX Adjustable Paddle
  • One free lesson ($75)

Value: $1,075
Donor: Adventure Mystic

Lake of isles north course

Item #9 – Cheers for Four Fores: A Golf Foresome at Lake of Isles

This prize is a foursome at the award winning North Course at Lake of Isles, offers golfers  the ultimate upscale golf experience. While the championship tees stretch more than 7,300 yards, multiple tee locations offer a fair and varied test for golfers of every skill levels. The all inclusive golf fee includes 18 holes with a cart, range balls, yardage card and bottled water.

  • Complimentary golf fees (North Course) for up to 4 people
  • Complimentary cart fees

Value: $600
Donor: Lake of Isles

colorful pastel of venetian canal

Item #10 – “Venice Laundry” by Beth Pite

Colorful pastel on paper, 11×8″ (15×13″ with archival mat and frame).

Value: $590
Donor: Beth Pite,

Item #11 – Unwind at Pure Eco Spa

Day spa experience for two: Two persons will unwind with an organic facial, massage and infrared sauna treatment at Pure Eco Spa & Boutique in Westerly, RI. This award-winning luxurious spa offers organic and advanced holistic treatments in a tranquil setting suited to relax the mind and body. And tonight you can win a basket of spa products valued at $300, plus a spa experience that includes these services:

Two Signature Massages (60 minutes / each) + Two Super Oxygenating Facials (90 minutes / each) + Two Infrared Sauna Treatments (30 minutes / each)

Details: Spa services must be reserved in advance directly with Pure Eco Spa, and are subject to availability. Package expires October 10, 2021. 

Value: $1,050
Donor: Rose Maloney, Pure Eco Spa

abstract oil painting of women

Item #12 – “She Was Found in the Garden

She was found in the garden“, a provocative oil painting with Asian silk inlays. Measures 28″ wide x 22” high, and ships unframed, anywhere in the continental U.S.

Value: $650
Donor: Maureen O’Brien

drew brees jersey

Item #13 – Autographed Sports Memorabilia

Drew Brees’ authenticated, unframed, autographed replica football jersey.  He is a 2nd round pick, 13-time NFL Pro-Bowl Quarterback, and a Superbowl MVP.


Value: $600
Donor: Anonymous

colorful paste of The Garden theater

Item #14 – “Filmfest” by Beth Pite

Colorful pastel on paper, 12x 9″ (18×15″ with archival mat and frame).

Value: $590
Donor: Beth Pite,

beaded black and white earrings and bracelet

Item #15 – Boho-Chic Jewelry

Milanese fashion houses call upon Angelica Montingelli to design and produce work for their shows. Angelica’s handmade earrings and bracelet were made using a specialized weaving technique with beads embedded into the design.  She produces work on commission for private clients.

Value: $120
Donor: Angelica Montingelli, Happy Bead Milano, La Fabbrica delle Perline

Mohegan sun casino and hotel

Item #16 – Want Mo’ Sun?

Mohegan Sun, a destination unlike anything you’ve ever imagined, is delighted to be able to provide a complimentary overnight stay, Sunday through Thursday, at our luxury hotel. 

In addition, Mohegan Sun is delighted to be able to provide a complimentary dining certificate for two up to $100 at Todd English’s Tuscany or Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain!

Value: $350
Donor: Mohegan Sun


Item #17 – The Quarantine Kit

Our event team put together this creative Quarantine Kit which includes the following:

  • Dr. Fauci mug
  • COVID-19 coloring book
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • 1 roll of toilet paper
  • 1000 piece puzzle
  • 2 KN95 masks
  • 1 handmade cloth mask with nose bridge and pouch for adding a filter layer
  • 1 can of tuna


Value: $100
Donor: SSH Event Team

Item #18 – Yes We Can Hear You Now

This auction item provided by Wireless Zone of Groton & New London and includes a basket of wireless communication accessories:

  • Extending Monopod Selfie Stick – $19.99
  • iLuv Fast Wireless Charger – $59.99
  • CellHelmet Liquid Glass Screen Protection – $69.99
  • CellHelmet Portable Battery Charger – $49.99
  • CellHelmet Phone Mount – $29.99
  • iFrogz Airtime Pro Bluetooth Headset – $59.99
  • Speck Loot Lock Stick-On Wallet – $9.99
  • Wireless Zone Gift Certificate – $50.00

Value: $350
Donor: Wireless Zone of Groton and New London

Item #19 – A 4-Hour Tour… Aboard the Mamie!

A private cruise on board Mamie begins from the dock at scenic Mystic Seaport Museum. From there, the boat cruises down river to Noank and Fishers Island Sound. Once in the Sound, why not have a picnic lunch anchored off a secluded beach followed by a swim? Or, you could tie up alongside a restaurant and get a traditional New England lobster lunch followed by shoreside explorations. 

You choose the adventure.

The cruise is available to a group of up to six guests, and you get the whole boat to yourself for four hours. BYOB food and drink is encouraged! The boat provides a cooler with ice and water to keep drinks and food cold. They also have all the eating and drinking utensils you may need, including bottle openers and wine coolers. Mamie has a below-deck area that includes a head (bathroom).

Value: $600
Donor: Mystic Seaport Museum

Pastel of sail boats

Item #20 – “Sailboats” by Beth Pite

Colorful pastel on board, 8×11″ with archival mat and frame (13″ x 16″ with frame).

Value: $490
Donor: Beth Pite,


L+M Hospital
Foundation Fighting Blindness
Jupiter Pointe
Simply Majestic
Clarity Quest Marketing
Mystic Financial Group
Wireless Zone
Pure Eco Spa
Jeffrey P’an
Michael Lahan
Eighty Six Media
ABC PhotoLab
Design Intervention

Looking for a clue to one of the auction items?

Click a video link below, answer the question, and you’ll get a hint to one of the items in our auction.

Bidding in the Dark Event Team

Alessandra Manfre
Annette Tonti
Ashley Luppold
Betty Smith

Billie Jo Abbiati
Cristina Manfre
Elizabeth Borysewicz
Kelsey Ruiz

Mary Jo Shultis
Michael O’Farrell
Stephanie Brown
Thomas Robarge