Architectural Artifacts Auction Review – A First at Twenty-Five

I was able to attend the first day of the first auction at Architectural Artifacts, my first auction, too.  The three-day auction was owner, Stuart Grannan’s spectacular unique way of celebrating twenty-five years of business in the same location.   As I entered the front door I was immediately struck by the sense of space, as I needed to look up and up to find the ceiling.  The auction was underway with its rhythmic pace and intoned calls, almost hypnotic.  Two of my friends had always wanted to visit Architectural Artifacts and this was the perfect time.  I was told that it was OK to wander and to take pictures.


In a phone interview (, Grannan told me a little bit about the way his business expanded and about his filled warehouse.  But nothing prepared me for the real thing.  Huge room after huge room filled with intriguing, strange and beautiful items all rescued from what were once imposing structures, some very historic.  We noted among several room packed with all kind of items that some were marked for the second day auction.  Some items were huge while others quite small such as the gorgeous tiles and the crystal.


As the three of us wandered around, we saw rooms filled with surprising items.  There were tables and tables with beautiful tiles from places all over the world piled high.  An entire room was filled with mantles.  There were large items like some cars, a jukebox, a merry-go-round and other unexpected items.  There was a table filled with crystals of all sizes.  We had a chance to talk with a gentleman who was sweeping the floor.  He told me his name is Roosevelt.  He also told me that a few days before, a crew from Architectural Artifacts had delivered tons of stones to City Museum in St. Louis.  Later, when I looked up the museum, I was surprised and charmed by their website.  It described the Chicago auction, what was purchased and how the items purchased would offer greater enjoyment to the visitors to that museum.  (


For a while the three of us sat and just watched and listened to the auction.  It was so interesting to see the unexpected items shown on the screen, the price suggested, the final price agreed upon and the special “song” of the auctioneers.  Later, I had the chance to talk with Sue from the company who arranged the auction, Donley Auction Service (  The auction Donley Auction Services is located in Union, IL and an auction to take place in Union, IL soon.  From the website: “ The Donley name is internationally recognized for hosting the worlds largest sale of antique phonographs and music boxes.  This years’ event takes place June 7th, 8th and 9th in Union Illinois.” 


Stuart Grannan is in the process of creating a museum where he can share the unique architectural artifacts he has collected.  To learn more about this go to:

Any day is a good day to step into Architectural Artifacts and be amazed.


Architectural Artifacts

4325 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

Phone:(773) 348-0622



Sunday hours 10:00 am–5:00 pm 


Photos:  B. Keer




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