One of my favorite auction finds

Many (more than I care to admit) years ago, B.C. (before children) in fact, my husband and I attended an estate auction in Hortonville, Wis. We arrived the requisite two hours early so we could properly scope the goods for Knapstein beer memorabilia … there was none listed in the auction bill, but since Hortonville is so close to New London – the brewery’s location – there was a pretty good chance they would have some undiscovered breweriana gold.

While looking the goods over, I found a beautiful old rotary-dial candlestick telephone. It was PERFECT. I don’t “collect” telephones, but I do collect interesting things. I call my home’s decor “vintage eclectic” … I just want to have interesting things to look at everywhere I look. I told my husband that I was going to buy it. And, of course, he said “Go for it!”

I don’t remember if we got any Knapstein brewery items that day, but I did get my candlestick telephone. It was the very first item they pulled off the wagon when they started the auction and people weren’t paying attention yet. The auctioneer called the opening bid, I jumped on it, and no one bid against me so I got it – for $15!

I couldn’t believe that I actually got it … and for less than $20, too.

We’ve moved since then, and most of our belongings went into storage while we remodeled our house. Now I just have to find it again …

If you would care to share any of your favorite auction finds, feel free to post a reply here or you can visit the message boards and post a reply to the Favorite Finds message board thread. (Click here to go to the “Favorite Finds” forum thread.)

— Karen                     

Karen Knapstein

About Karen Knapstein

Karen Knapstein is the editor of Antique Trader magazine. A lifelong collector and student of antiques, she has written dozens of articles on vintage collectibles and their historical context. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Joseph, and daughter, Faye. She can be reached at