By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Feb 10, 2023 at 1:25 PM

The late Joseph Halser III was an inveterate collector of vintage memorabilia of many kinds. And he put a lot of it into his Landmark 1850 tavern, 5905 S. Howell Ave., which dates to 1850 and which Halser bought in 1983.


Sadly, Halser passed away last May and the bar closed.

Now, an auction of some of Halser’s collection is being held by Waukesha’s Sell It Now Store and Gerlach Auction Company in Hartland, and what’s on offer is an incredible melange of Milwaukee-area history and more.


There will be architectural items from places like the Hotel Wisconsin, Schlitz Brewery, Plankinton Arcade, Avalon Theater, Cathedral of St. John's and Allen-Bradley in Milwaukee, as well as Chicago’s Blackstone Hotel and Madison’s Loraine Hotel, among many others.

There are Milwaukee harp lights and other street lights, a barber pole, a Milwaukee police and fire call box, taxidermied items, antique train collectibles, a Coke machine, cash registers, breweriana, street signs, sculptures, furniture, woodworking equipment, high-end audio equipment, restaurant hospitality equipment and supplies and more.

The list just goes on and on.

The auctions are online now here and they close in Feb. 21 and 22.


Before that, you can check out the items in person at the tavern site, 5917 S. Howell Ave., where the stuff can be seen in the bar, the adjacent Terminal Beer Garden and the old Port of Hamburg building, too.

The inspection sessions are Thursday, Feb. and  Monday, Feb. 20, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

“Many Milwaukeeans and travelers through Mitchell International have been at these two well known establishments over the years. We have experienced an amazing amount of buyer interest since we started promoting this auction due to the interest in the historic Landmark 1850 Inn and the sheer volume of merchandise,” says Mike Boerschinger, who owns Sell It Now Store.

“Due to the magnitude of this auction, it is taking two auction companies to list the nearly 3,000 lots.”

Boerschinger says the auctions are being held to settle Halser’s estate. He also said that Landmark 1850 is expected to reopen, which confirms a social media message I received from the tavern's Facebook account in December.

For more information, call Sell It Now Store at (414)727-0600 or visit Gerlach Auctions online here.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.