October 21, 2007

Collectors Quench Thirst for Storz Memorabilia

By Rick Ruggles, Omaha World-Herald, Neb.

Oct. 21--Browsers and buyers packed the Storz mansion estate sale Saturday in Omaha.

For sale were beds, trinkets and tables. Engravings, linens and a hand-carved Buddha. There were watercolors and oil paintings, a bear sculpture and photographs of the Storz family up for sale.

Old advertisements for Storz beer read, "Brewed for the light modern taste" and "Refreshing as the whole outdoors."

An ad of a man holding a can of Storz and winking at the camera also was for sale. "You can taste the difference and you'll like it!" read the text.

Family treasures become antiques and in time go to the landfill or into someone else's possession. The latter occurred Saturday for hundreds of items from the Storz mansion in Omaha.

Antique collectors and local history buffs gathered at Collector's Choice, 3504 Center St., for the sale of Storz items and goods from several other estates.

Gottlieb Storz had the mansion at 3708 Farnam St. built more than 100 years ago. He established the now-defunct Storz Brewing Co. in Omaha about 120 years ago.

Lissa Bebee of Omaha emerged from the estate sale with the observation that "no matter how rich you are, you die and somebody gets your stuff."

Bebee helped her friend Linda Myer carry out two boxes of ruby-red dishes, purchased for $195.

Almost all pieces had price tags, but three were up for bid. The deadline for bids is noon today.

One of the items on the block is a slowly revolving display featuring a monkey holding a 30-inch-tall can of Storz beer with a rabbit coming out of the top of the can.

"Y'know, it's different," said Ed Sorensen, an Omahan who as a boy 35 years ago wore a blue Storz T-shirt. "I guess if I had a place to put it, it would be a good conversation piece."

An era left behind could be smelled in the lightly musty air and felt in the ambience of old goods.

Many making purchases at the estate sale came without sentiment.

"I buy to sell," said Glenn Wolfe, who has antique shops in Omaha and Union, Neb. He bought a unique display case for $160 and plans to sell it for more.

Beverly Bell of Omaha had a box of assorted purchases, including a duck decoy, two vases, a tin of Coca-Cola playing cards and Crayolas in a tin box.

"I'm just a collector of whatever, and I just find things for different people and myself, " she said.

Jerry Pabst, owner of Collector's Choice, said about 60 percent of the items were Storz items. A Storz estate sale had been held five years ago, too.

Pabst estimated that 2,000 people turned out Saturday, and that pleased him. "I think there's never going to be another good estate sale and, boom, it shows up," he said.

Pabst's place buzzed with interest in the collection.

A promotional wall light read: "Anytime is Storz time."

But Storz's time of brewing prosperity has come and gone. There are only remnants. A Storz-facility smokestack near 16th and Grace Streets in northeast Omaha can be seen from many blocks away.

Other remnants of the Storz era have new owners as of this weekend.


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