Sophie Bolich

Halser Estate Auction Packed With Milwaukee History

Thousands of one-of-a-kind items owned by late Milwaukee inventor and entrepreneur.

By - Jan 31st, 2023 02:51 pm
Landmark 1850 Inn, 5917 S. Howell Ave. Photo taken April 23, 2022 by Jeramey Jannene.

Landmark 1850 Inn, 5917 S. Howell Ave. Photo taken April 23, 2022 by Jeramey Jannene.

As of Monday evening, the Joseph G. Halser III estate auction is live. For the next several weeks, nearly 1,000 one-of-a-kind tools, decorations and pieces of Milwaukee history could be yours — for a price.

The online-only auction features an astonishing range of items that Halser collected throughout his lifetime. The lifelong Milwaukee resident, teacher, inventor and entrepreneur died in April 2022 at the age of 80.

Among his many accomplishments, Halser is known for his role in revitalizing The Terminal event venue and Landmark 1850 Inn, the latter one of the city’s oldest taverns. He also held patents on a transformer design for high-end audiophile audio amps.

The vast collection of auction items includes dozens of architectural products, power tools, neon and porcelain signs, electronic tubes, display and storage cabinets, woodworking equipment, beer signs and tappers, records and photographs.

Standout collectibles include an assortment of taxidermy, rare Milwaukee police and fire call boxes, a four-sided Allen Bradley clock from AB offices, a Vendo 39 Coca-Cola machine and a variety of high-end audio and stereo components including transformers, amplifiers, preamps, turntables and speakers.

A full list of items can be viewed on the Proxibid website.

Many of the auction items have a unique history, having been sourced from local and regional landmarks including the Wisconsin Hotel, Schlitz Brewery, Plankinton Arcade, Avalon Theater, St. John’s Cathedral, Allen Bradley, the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago and Hotel Loraine in Madison.

Gerlach Companies is running the auction in partnership with Sell It Now Store. Bidding, which opened Monday, will begin to close starting Tuesday, Feb. 21.

Customers will get a chance to inspect purchases in person on Thursday, Feb. 16 and Monday, Feb. 20 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Pickup will take place Feb. 23, 24 and 25 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 5917 S. Howell Ave.

Items can also be shipped, though the auction company urges customers to reach out to UPS prior to bidding if they plan to have an item shipped. Special shipping instructions can be found on the Gerlach Auctions website.

For more information, or to register, review auction items and bid, visit the online auction website.


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One thought on “Halser Estate Auction Packed With Milwaukee History”

  1. Marty Ellenbecker says:

    This auction is special not just for the novelty or range of the items. It also RESCUES items with intrinsic, functional or cultural value from being discarded or scrapped because neither the deceased’s heirs nor the people who gained possession of them knew their value, or cared.

    Many a tool, workshop, collection or wardrobe was thrown away because no survivors knew it’s function or worth. Items that went to people who measure value in dollars per pound, were scrapped.

    If auctioneers, collectors, even thrift shops and
    powers-of-attorney would work together on making people more aware of these losses, some, maybe many would be prevented. And money would be made in the process.

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