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Top Hat auctioned after 44 years
HANOVER- Antique enthusiasts from all over attended the two-day auction at Top Hat Antiques to see if they could add a piece of history to their collections, and there were also those of the older generation present who just wanted to witness the end of an era.
The shop occupied the former Top Hat dance hall and was owned and operated by members of the Bouffard-Hamann families for the past 44 years. The families of Albert “Beber” Bouffard and Leo and Jill Bouffard-Hamann, decided to auction off the inventory after discussing it with one another and realizing that the times are changing and they don’t have the time to dedicate as their uncle and parents did to keep the place going.
Steve Poulin of Poulin Auction Company got things started off very quickly on that rainy Saturday morning informing everyone that they needed to wave their numbers high and get serious about their bids, otherwise they were going to miss out on a lot of great items.
“I know it’s buggy. There’s bug spray making its way around. If you are swatting at the bugs and I see your number wave, you’re going to buy a lot of stuff today.”
The Hamann families sat nearby under the covered porch of the nearby house, where their parents, Leo and Jill, once taught them how to clean, inspect and tag the antiques they collected from auctions, and put them to the shop for sale.
In true auctioneer fashion, Poulin spoke a mile a minute and got down to business. He warned that they would move rather quickly and sell upwards of 50 lots per hour and would keep things rolling.
In a matter of an hour, there were dozens of items being wrapped, packed and carried off to waiting vehicles. Several enthusiasts allowed items to pile up next to their chairs as they continued to bid on others.
“It was really sad to see all of what my mom, dad and uncle had worked so hard for, just being bought up like that,” stated daughter, Cindy Hamann. “I remember my mom smiling from ear-to-ear when she would come home with treasures. She was an amazing lady, always smiling, laughing and so proud of her collection.”
Hamann added, through tears, that it was a bittersweet day for her sister, Lorna, brother, Don and her. “We grew up around there. We worked there and helped out all those years. It’s just not something we could keep going. It was a tough decision.”
The family won’t know for sure until the end of July what their parent’s estate made during the two-day auction, but would like people to know that there still are a few showcases left for sale. Showcases consist of glass-cased shelves for the display of items.
The family is also considering selling the property and thought it would be neat if someone decided to open the Top Hat Dance Hall, as it once was a lively place in its hay day.
“Stranger things have happened,” laughed Hamann. “My uncle was always buying strange things and one time he brought home an airplane. And, you know what, my mother sold it. So, for someone to purchase the old hall and open it as another dance hall, I think it could definitely happen.”
For more information on the showcases available for sale, please contact Don Hamann at 357-8667 to make an appointment.