Art Buchwald is returning to hospice — this time as a benefactor.

In 2006, when his kidneys failed and he decided against daily dialysis, Mr. Buchwald entered hospice care in Washington, DC. He was 80, his leg had been recently amputated and the expectation was he would only live a few weeks. Instead he thrived, living for more than a year, holding weekly salons from his hospice room, writing a book about his experience and traveling back to the Vineyard for another summer.

It was, as he wrote in his memoir Too Soon to Say Goodbye, some of the best times of his life: “Every day I sit in a beautiful living room where I can have anything I want; I can even send out to McDonald’s for milkshakes and hamburgers . . . I have a constant flow of visitors. Many of them have famous names, and my family is impressed with who shows up.”

Starting Dec. 9, Mr. Buchwald’s son Joel and daughter in law Tamara will host an auction of the famed newspaper columnist’s personal items through The Potomack Company, with a portion of the proceeds going to hospice. The auction will be online, but anyone in the area can stop by the showroom for an in-person look.

“His collection of things really represent him,” Tamara Buchwald told the Gazette by phone this week from Washington.

Ranging from a player piano, his desk and comfy chair, a Man Ray chess set, a Notre Dame football signed by Ronald Reagan, the collection is gathered from Mr. Buchwald’s Paris, Washington and Martha’s Vineyard homes. Taken together, the items represent much of the journey of his life. He grew up in Forest Hills, Queens and had a hard childhood.

“He was essentially an orphan, living in orphan asylums and foster homes,” Ms. Buchwald said. “He had to hire a wino to play the role of his father so he could enlist in the Marines when he 16 years old and too young to join up.”

Several items in the auction include marine memorabilia. After an honorable discharge, Mr. Buchwald went to the University of Southern California thanks to the GI Bill. Two items in the auction from those days include a USC beer stein and a football.

But he never graduated from college because the university learned that he never graduated from high school, choosing instead to enlist in the marines, Ms. Buchwald said. But again the marines arrived to save the day in the form of a $250 check sent to all veterans.

“He used the money to go to Paris and talked his way into becoming a stringer for a stringer for Variety Magazine,” Joel Buchwald said. “So that’s about as far down as you can get. But then he talked his way into writing restaurant reviews at the Herald Tribune. He goes in to see the managing editor who kicked him out because he had no credentials. And then the guy left for home leave. So Dad went back and talked to the guy who was filling in for him and said, ‘I was just here talking with the managing editor about writing a column on restaurants and he said it was a good idea.’ And the guy said, ‘Oh, that is a great idea.’ And when the managing editor came back a week later, there was Art sitting at a desk trying to duck down and avoid his eyes. That’s how he got started.”

Mr. Buchwald won a Pulitzer Prize in 1982 for his syndicated column that at one time appeared in more than 500 newspapers. The vintage chest he kept his Pulitzer in is part of the auction, as is his collection of paper weights and the desk he wrote at for 50 years.

There are numerous items from his Vineyard life. Mr. Buchwald first visited the Island in 1961 and soon after bought a home on West Chop, along the street known as writers’ row, near his friends Mike Wallace, William Styron and John Hersey. All four men are buried in a small cemetery in Vineyard Haven, just down the road from where they lived, played tennis and poker, and held court each summer.

Mr. Buchwald is perhaps best known on the Island for his longtime role as auctioneer at Possible Dreams, raising millions of dollars for Martha’s Vineyard Community Services.

The Gazette interviewed Mr. Buchwald while he was in hospice in Washington, and he showed the reporter a memento a Vineyard visitor had brought him: a jar filled with sand and sea glass from Owen Park.

“It’s all about how we are connected,” he said in the interview. “And so many of us are connected to the Vineyard.”

Mr. Buchwald’s health improved so much while staying at hospice that he came back to the Vineyard for one final summer, where he wrote several columns for the Gazette — about his time in hospice, about the loss of his leg which in typical Buchwald prose became a source for humor. “The good side of losing my leg is everybody is nice to me,” he wrote. “I am getting terribly spoiled. Friends say I’m going to have to go to remedial charm school.”

The auction also contains some of Mr. Buchwald’s own photography, including three shots taken on the Island: a beach sunset, the fog in Chilmark, shoes on the sand.

Another photograph in the collection not taken by Mr. Buchwald is of the Buchwald Diamond, which is actually a photograph of his kidney stone, which he said was “10 times bigger than any other kidney stone.” At a doctor’s waiting room he befriended renowned goechemist Meyer Rubin who agreed to study the kidney stone after it had been removed. The photograph comes with a column Mr. Buchwald wrote about the Buchwald Diamond.

In the fall of 2006, Mr. Buchwald returned to Washington, writing a final column for the Gazette.

“The summer is over,” he wrote. “As I reported in June, instead of going to heaven I went to Martha’s Vineyard.”

Mr. Buchwald died on Jan. 7, 2007.

The auction items will go online in December; visit