Entire Toad Hall estate for sale

Imagine having to put a price on another person’s life work. Imagine the difficulty of estimating the value of something that took decades of time, heart and passion to build—just to sell it on eBay.

Brian Schutzer had to do just that a little more than a week ago for Beverly and Larry Mason, owners of Toad Hall Books & Records.

“It often pains me to try to put a price on an individual’s life’s work,” Schutzer said.

The Masons had both been collecting items since they were 8. Every item Toad Hall held was a small piece of their massive collection.

Beverly and Larry met in a used bookstore in Rockford in 1961. Both shared a love of collecting, and later shared a love of much more. When they were married in 1970, it seemed fitting they would open a shop for collectors.

What started as a store selling children’s books and comics in 1972, quickly grew into a priceless collection of many other items, including vintage records, sheet music, rare books, paperbacks, toys, movie posters, movie magazines, pulps and much more.

To those who knew about Toad Hall Books & Records in Rockford, it was a treasure. The Masons’ collection spread out into three different buildings, which included more than 20 rooms full of collectibles. There were well more than 500,000 items with various value ranges.

Toad Hall had at least 25,000 different comic books, sheet music and books as a part of their major collections.

The Masons had well more than 250,000 records, LPs, 78s, 45s and other extensive and diverse collections, some as old as Edison tubes.

Toad Hall also had minor collections, including movie posters, stills, press books, games, old toys, video game machines, puzzles, vintage magazines, and baseball cards.

A collection this size would be worth more than one could probably count. Unfortunately, Beverly passed away, and the collection was just too much for Larry to handle on his own.

So, the people who were running the estate had contacted Schutzer, who lives in New Jersey, to sell the items. Schutzer runs an eBay store called Neat Stuff Collectibles, where he usually sells large wholesale lots of other retailers.

“We specialize mainly in comics, but we deal in all kinds of collectibles,” he said.

He has been a registered eBay member since March 2000, and has a 98 percent positive feedback score.

The eBay auction started at $1 and was listed for 10 days. The auction ended Oct. 30 without the reserve amount being met. A total of 45 bids by at least 17 different users bumped the highest bid to $51,100.

Schutzer would not disclose what the reserve price was or what offer would make the deal, but he did say he’s had offers and is thinking about relisting it on eBay.

“When I put it on eBay, I didn’t really think it was going to make the reserve,” Schutzer said. “I’ve had a lot of people contact me, people from all over the world. If something doesn’t work out, I might re-list it or I might just re-list it anyway.”

Those interested in making an offer on the collection should contact Brian Schutzer at 800/903-7246 or 201/923-1230.

From the Nov. 2-8, 2005, issue

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