FOUNTAIN CITY, Wis. — After 29 years of joyfully sharing their auto and toy collection, the Duellman family honored Elmer Duellman with the auction of a lifetime.
Elmer and his wife Bernadette shared treasures of classic cars, motorcycles, pedal cars, bikes, tools and antique toys in Elmer’s Auto & Toy Museum in Fountain City, Wis. The large collection spanned five barns on their property. After Elmer passed away in July 2019, the Duellman family continued running the museum through Labor Day 2022.
The auction, held Sept. 14-17, 2022, celebrated Elmer’s love for the items and offered nostalgic experiences to visitors. Mecum Auction ran the days’ events of 2,020 items with total sales reaching $8.5 million.
“I love people,” Elmer said in a 2012 interview with the Post Bulletin. “When they come here, it’s fun sharing it with them.”
The final celebration brought bidders from around the world. Brothers Brad and Les, two of Elmer’s six children, said the auction items averaged more than anticipated.
“We’re fulfilling our dad’s wishes to share … each piece with the rest of the world so they can make new memories,” said Brad.
From their family to the collectors, the Duellmans know the items are in good, new homes. But the auction days were “bittersweet,” Les said. The Duellmans drove the cars and motorcycles, presented at car shows and played with toys at family gatherings.
“It hits home pretty hard when you’re seeing other people buying the collection and stuff that we’ve had in our family for most of my adult life or beyond, even back into my childhood,” Les said.
The collection featured more than 100 classic cars with a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS topping the sales at $242,000. The top 10 car sales at the auction included:
- 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS at $242,000