For the Antigo Times
The estate of James and Alice Aulik goes to auction June 3, held by North Central Sales. The Aulik’s made their home at 1919 Fifth Avenue since they built it in 1964. Jim and Alice were active hobbyists and collectors in many fields.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Aulik worked at the Fidelity Savings Bank, now Chase, which is where they met. When the bank modernized, Mr. Aulik salvaged much of its original material such as the marble clock that hung over the lobby, the barrel chairs that sat around the board room table, the intercom system with original labels, the Greco-Roman style bronze light fixtures, slabs of marble and many other artifacts large and small. His collection also includes items of interest from the bank ranging from Fidelity Savings Bank tape measures to bank bags.
From the time of his youth, Mr. Aulik had a passion for understanding how things worked, collecting and fixing them. His wide-ranging interests provide an excellent example of curiosity and life-long learning. His collections include clocks, wristwatches, telephones, radios and music-playing devices from many decades.
Other areas of interest could be described as “things pertaining to money.” Mr. Aulik collected small banks from the 20th century, money counters, adding machines, cash registers, and a prized item: A 1929 Mills Poinsettia five cent slot machine (in good condition with key). The small banks are also notable as they are from the Langlade National Bank and the Fidelity Savings Bank. The bank held the key to unlock the patron’s savings, thus, while the banks are common, the keys are rare. Many of the Aulik banks have keys.
Mrs. Aulik developed a serious interest in glass and ceramics. She attended sales and auctions weekly for decades building her collection of carefully-curated pieces. It was not unusual to wake up on a Saturday morning for her daughter to find the kitchen table covered with “finds” with more in the garage. She regularly bought and sold, leaving a refined collection at the time of her death in 2000.
Mr. Aulik, as president of the Fidelity Savings Bank, received many gifts of fine liquor. The bottles and decanters, with their contents, have been stored for decades. A favorite is a brandy decanter of a football player wearing green and gold with #15 on his jersey, holding the ball back before releasing a pass, in a seeming homage to Bart Starr. It is unopened. It claims “Wisconsin: Sports capital of the world” and comes with the original collector certificate. Brandy, bourbon and whiskey drinkers will appreciate that neither Aulik cared for those spirits and many unopened bottles from the 1960s and 1970s have survived to this day.
Jim and Alice collected antiques as well as the many items inherited from each of their families. They were also a very modern couple in 1964 when they built their house and furnished it with the very most on-trend mid-century furniture. A bedroom set, end tables, and many still-hip decorative elements remain and will be for sale.
The garage holds another bit of Aulik history: A John Deere riding mower. Aulik Implement, a former Antigo business, was the successor of the Aulik & Sons blacksmith shop, and the Aulik’s purchased many John Deere items over the years. The mower is a recent 2014 purchase of a John Deere Select Series X310 Tractor. Jim rode it often tending to his .8 acre lot.
Mr. Aulik also took immaculate care of his vehicles and the sale includes a 2001 Buick Lucerne and a 1986 Chevy Silverado pick up truck. Neighbors recall the truck as a sign of spring, as it was stored for the winter and would emerge to take the results of spring yard work to the dump. Former Dairy Queen employees will also remember Mr. Aulik arriving in the truck to purchase a baby cone for the dog where she’d enjoy the cone before he’d drive her around town to stop to look at other dogs and get some barks out.
While still in high school, Jim learned clock and gun repair from neighbors. Those interests continued his entire life with a wide variety of clocks and wristwatches from many decades and styles. In recent years, he became a dedicated volunteer in the community and participated in many raffles. He won a variety of things (including a lot of NASCAR mirrors) and became a gun collector. At auction will be over ten new shotguns, rifles and pistols as well as a historic Russian rifle with ammunition returned from WWII by an American serviceman.
A part of Jim Aulik that many people did not see involved overalls and work boots. He created a very complete shop in his basement that included a table saw, lathe, and a vast collection of supplies and equipment for carpentry, electrical work, painting and plumbing.
The auction includes many more dimensions of this family’s interests ranging from vintage stoneware to mahogany Empire furniture to local history and collectibles. For more information visit www.northcentralsales.com.