Barnum family estate sale draws crowd in search of treasures

Barnum Family Estate Sale Draws Crowd

BROOKFIELD (WITI) - Crowds of people waited outside and eventually made their way into a Brookfield home owned by an iconic family.

"This is frozen in time. I know is sounds melodramatic but it's the truth," said Open House Estate Sales Inc. President Thomas Ewart.

The home is filled with possessions now on sale, but the owners make the items more unique.

Barnum Family Estate Sale Draws Crowd
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Barnum family estate sale draws crowd in search of treasures

One of the Barnum relatives of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus lived in this very house after moving to the Milwaukee area from Syracuse, New York, where she had a family estate which was home to generations of Barnums.

"Now it came down to herself, two brothers, one being deceased and so now it was liquidating this massive estate," said Ewart.

The now 90-year-old Barnum chose primarily fine china and jewelry from her family's estate in New York.

"It is like 'The Great Gatsby' because so much of this reflects that era and that was the heyday of the estate the roaring 20s before the depression hit," said Ewart.

The appraiser was amazed by the book collection, especially by a volume written by Mark Twain.

"They're so pristine they almost look like reproductions, but they're not. The full 37 volume set is there and it's actually signed by Mark Twain," said Ewart.

Shoppers scoured the home looking for unique finds.

"We go into the basement and hang out and find some tools and things and we let all the other people freak out about the china and stuff," said shopper Paul Norskog.

Although you won't find any lions, tigers, or bears, all of these possessions have a story as they were once used by the Barnums.

The Barnum estate sale ran from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on October 27th and from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on October 28th and 29th. For more information on the Barnum estate auction, check out this site.

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