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‘Timeless’ chandelier, once at Pabst Mansion, part of massive auction of Von Trier memorabilia

"Iron Man" chandelier at Von Trier

MILWAUKEE -- An iconic part of Milwaukee's history is set to light up the auction block this week. The "Iron Man" chandelier, originally commissioned for the Pabst Mansion, is being sold.

Von Trier is the current owner of the chandelier, which is part of a massive auction of historic memorabilia from the bar. The chandelier, which is the centerpiece of the auction, could fetch more than $130,000.

It's the first thing you notice when you walk into Von Trier.

Patti Fox

"Antlers and rod iron. It's just a timeless, beautiful chandelier," said Patti Fox, auctioneer and appraiser.

It has been part of the bar on Milwaukee's east side since 1978, but soon, it will hang elsewhere.

"The master blacksmith -- Cyril Colnik -- he learned his work from his grandfather's hands. Then his father's hands, and he brought this amazing gift to Milwaukee," said Fox.

Fox is handling the "Iron Man" chandelier's auction this week. There's a fascinating story about how it ended up in Von Trier in the first place.

"Iron Man" chandelier at Von Trier

Pabst Mansion

Steve Schultz

"Originally from the Pabst Mansion. It was commissioned by Capt. Frederick Pabst in the early 1890s," said Steve Schultz, Von Trier general manager.

Schultz said the piece was sold to the original owner of Von Trier when it was believed the Pabst Mansion was going to be demolished. The Pabst Mansion eventually wanted it back when it stayed open as a museum, but Von Trier's owner was murdered, and his estate remained in probate for years. A replica was commissioned and hangs in the mansion.

"You can buy it now for $130,000 or you make an offer. We're going to see where it goes," said Fox.

Von Trier is looking to sell the chandelier to cover the costs of a recent renovation -- and it's not just the chandelier that's going. More than 500 pieces will be open to bidding -- enough stuff to take up an entire storefront a block away from the bar.

"Steins. We have the bar mirrors. Neon lighting. Tap handles," said Schultz.

Hundreds of those taps, and there's also oddities like an accordion, beer-guzzling garden gnomes, glass lamps and antique clocks. It took days to catalog, but again, the centerpiece is the chandelier. There's hope its new owner could be the original.

"Ultimately, we hope it ends up back in the Pabst Mansion. It should go there and be where it belongs," said Schultz.

The chandelier itself weighs nearly 1,000 pounds.

There's a preview of the auction Monday -- where you'll be able to walk around and see all of the items in person.

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