For those who remember a time when phones were big, dialing took work, and ring tones never featured Justin Bieber, a weekend auction may provide a welcome trip down memory lane.
About 140 telephones, some dating back more than a century, are going on the auction block at Red Deer’s Bud Haynes Auction.
This tour through telephone history comes courtesy of collector David Anderson, of St. Paul, who is putting 30 years of telephone gathering up for sale to the highest bidder.
His collection provides a fascinating glimpse of our love affair with phone chatting.
Dozens of candlestick phones — those tall, thin phones with a separate speaker that show up in the occasional old movie — are up for sale.
Other phones boast elaborate designs and show that there was a time when a phone was a relative rarity and a costly addition to any home.
Bud Haynes Auction president Linda Baggaley said the expense of using a phone may have been the inspiration behind one of the rarest pieces Anderson collected, a walnut candlestick vanity-style telephone desk with a matching stool.
The desk features a delicately carved box where you could safely stow your phone out of sight, and perhaps reduce the number of times someone asked, “Do you mind if I use your phone?”
Another gem in Anderson’s collection is one of the earliest desk phones, an 1885 Eiffel Tower model produced by L.M. Ericsson.
The phone, which has legs that look a little like those on its namesake landmark, is worth about $2,000.
Baggaley said it is the biggest phone auction they’ve had in a dozen years.
The collection has numerous versions of the earliest wall-mounted long box phones with hand cranks to groovy examples of phone design from the 1960s and ’70s.
The best part of this collection is its diversity, she said. Collections that usually surface involve a certain style of phone.
“But you don’t have the variety in the years and not the different stages of phones.”
Some of the pieces look impractical enough to bring a smile. Take the Hush-A-Phone for example.
This unwieldy contraption about the size of a can of tennis balls was meant to fit over the mouthpiece of the old-style candlestick phone to allow for private conversations.
The auction goes at Bud Haynes at 7429 49th Ave. on Saturday.
Previews begin at 9 a.m. and the auction starts at 11 a.m.