“I got that from a castle in England ... That was in an old casino in Monte Carlo.”
That’s how the Chicago Sun Times led a profile of local antiques dealer Stuart Grannen in 2002. His collection — which goes by Architectural Artifacts, and lives in an 80,000-square-foot warehouse in Ravenswood — has only grown in the 15+ years since.
But now he’s selling the farm as he prepares to downsize: 90% of the collection will go up for auction on November 1st, with previews of nearly 250 lots now listed online. They include everything from fragments of demolished Frank Lloyd Wright builds to a functioning foosball table from Mussolini-era Italy.
If you’re not familiar with Grannen’s story, it’s an interesting one. The son of two hobbyist antiquers in New Jersey, he spent his weekends as a kid exploring New York City’s museums and Tri-state estate sales in the 1970s. That led him to the University of Tennessee to study archaeology, though he eventually dropped out and moved to New Orleans to work for an antiques dealer.
He had a rough few years in the Big Easy, ending up in a rehab facility before he was 30. But he got clean, moved to Chicago and then built up the most prized antiques collection in the city over the course of three decades.
Now it’s time for new endeavors, hence the auction. He and his business partner will maintain a smaller, more tightly edited version of Architectural Artifacts in its current facility: “We’re not leaving Chicago. We’ll be here,” he told the Sun Times.
If you’re interested in attending the auction (and you should be — some truly investment-worthy pieces are likely to go for a fraction of their actual value), swing by 4325 N Ravenswood Ave on November 1 at 10 a.m. (the auction will continue on November 2, though you know what they say about early birds and heirloom furniture).
Feel free to browse the offerings before you go; we’ve compiled a few of our favorite lots below.
A pair of French carousel lions, France, circa 1900; estimated value: $10,000-$15,000
Zinc Zodiac clock face from the original Schlitz Brewery, late 19th century; estimated value: $5,000-7,000
A pair of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed side chairs, 1953; estimated value: $1,500-$2,500
A coin-operated foosball table, Italy, circa 1930; estimated value: $2,000-4,000
Main image via Architectural Artifacts; inline images via Leslie Hindman Auctioneers