RUMSON MANSION AUCTION A BUST

A jazz duet played on, even after bidders left the auction, which lasted just four minutes. Below, an aerial view from the auction website. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

They can’t give this baby away, it seems.

A mansion on the Navesink River in Rumson that was once listed for sale at $10.5 million drew a high bid of just $2.6 million at auction Wednesday afternoon, prompting the seller to reject the offer and leaving real estate professionals dumbfounded.

“I don’t know if you could buy the land for that,” the auctioneer told the small cluster of potential bidders who’d gathered under a white tent for the event.

In fact, the land alone is assessed at $2.13 million, and the 12,000-square-foot house, with eight bedrooms and 12 bathrooms, adds another $4 million to the taxable valuation, according to Monmouth County records. Annual taxes: $93,000.

Phil and Lisa DePaulis are listed as the owners of the estate, at 8 Navesink Avenue, having paid $5 million in 2001. But they were unable to sell it when they listed it at $10.5 million in 2010. The property was pulled from the Multiple Listing Service in late June when it failed to sell at the reduced price of just under $6 million.

The auction, conducted by Max Spann Real Estate and Auctions, drew 83 registrants, but barely a dozen potential bidders made their way down the lush, snaking driveway to the three-story house on Wednesday.

A call for an opening bid of $5 million failed, and the first bid came in at $1 million before bidding stalled at $2.6 million, when the winner was declared after just four minutes. The price does not include a purchaser’s commission of $200,000.

But the whole thing appeared to have been an exercise in futility that had firm owner Max Spann unable to identify what had gone wrong.

“It’s a puzzlement,” he told redbankgreen. “I’ve been in this business 50 years, and I’m puzzled myself.”

Though Hurricane Sandy smashed up the dock, which has since been replaced, the river never made it over the bulkhead, and the house was undamaged, he said.

Spann said he would regroup with the sellers to see what the next move would be.