The weathered, two-family home on East Delavan Avenue has lots of stories to tell.
Hidden in the garage was a treasure trove of mementos from the past: a Bible in German with the year 1829 inscribed on the front cover; tintypes – photographs produced on pieces of metal – probably from the middle 1800s; and a lithographed death notice for President William McKinley, who was assassinated in Buffalo in 1901.
All of the items, as well as photographs, postcards, documents and rooms full of other antiques and collectibles, will be sold during an estate sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, Sunday and Monday at 337 East Delavan Ave.
Organizers said they expect some of the hundreds of pieces – most of which were not hidden in the garage – to sell for as much as $1,200. The McKinley death notice could fetch $400.
“It is truly a beautiful and historic collection,” said Brandon Burns, the antique dealer who was preparing the property for the estate sale when he discovered the items in a concealed compartment in the garage ceiling.
The relics were well-preserved, “untouched for several decades,” Burns said, and also included a 1874 newspaper clipping in German, Freemason documents and pictures from 1935, assorted mail and a wooden ice cream maker with a hand crank to churn it.
The items from the garage revealed that two families – the Benders and the Hagels – owned the house at different times about a century before it went to the Grigsby family.
Since the 1950s, the house has been owned by the Grigsby family, an African American family that is the estate holder.
Burns, 27, who is the owner of Rusty Reliques antiques business, said he reached out to two people to try to track down descendants or friends of the Hagels and Benders but was unsuccessful. One elderly man told him that “all of the Hagels are all dead or not here.”
Those early families owned the home at a time when Humboldt was farmland, Burns said. “I believe the house was originally owned by the Benders and then it was sold to Albert G. Hagel.”
Hagel was the owner of Hagel Bread Co. on Locust Street. There is a picture circa 1890 or even earlier of a horse-drawn carriage standing on a cobble-stoned Locust Street. A man – presumably Hagel – is at the reins, and the name Hagel is spelled out on the side of the carriage.
Inside the East Delavan house, Burns found pie safes that belonged to Hagel and an ice chest or beer cooler patented in 1885 that could sell for anywhere from $400 to $1,200 at the estate sale, he said.
This is the first estate sale Burns has organized. He got into the business “by accident” after graduating from SUNY Buffalo State with a degree in history. His plan was to teach, but that did not pan out. Then one day he purchased a couple of pieces from a flea market and turned around and sold them online. After a couple more transactions, he decided he wanted to get into the antiquing business, he said.
Other pieces available at the estate sale include a trunk with Air Force stickers that belonged to one of the Grigsby men, who was a paratrooper in the Korean War, Burns said. The estate should be able to make about $100 to $150 off it, he said.
There are also Depression-era ruby glass pitchers and drinking vessels that are “very collectible,” prayer books in German, a 12-gauge shotgun and an intact kerosene lantern that is dated 1913.
“It still has the original glass,” Burns said.
There’s a washboard, a claw-foot tub and a faucet fixture with hand-etched crystal knobs and a chrome finish that could sell for $200 to $250 at top dollar, Burns said.
Old photographs show Lafayette Square with trolley cars on it and others depict what is now the Albright-Knox Art Museum with nothing around it but a barren field.
Postcards dated 1904 and 1905 from places like Hawaii, Salt Lake City, St. Louis, Detroit and Crystal Beach showed the Hagel family traveled a lot, Burns said.
A 1896 Bible in the German language with the name Rose B. Bender inscribed on the front cover is in good shape and could sell for $150 to $200, Burns said.
There’s a Remington typewriter vintage 1910 to 1920 that still works, a scrapbook that starts with a Happy New Year card for 1909 and an autograph book that was given as a Christmas gift in 1884 from a woman named Helen to her sister Carrie.
An entry from April 1894 reads, “Dear Carrie, In the golden chain of friendship, consider me a link. Your loving friend, Hattie King.”