It wasn’t the West’s swankiest antiques store, but Blinky’s Antiques and Collectibles in Denver might’ve had the region’s most unusual—and friendliest—proprietor.
A retired clown.
Coloradans grew up watching the children’s show “Blinky’s Fun Club” on KWGN-Channel 2 from 1965 until it went off the air in 1998. By then Blinky—whose real name is Russell Scott—had been running the antiques shop on South Broadway that bore his screen name for about 10 years.
A large sign for Blinky’s Antiques and Collectibles that sold for $575
In good weather, he would sit on the sidewalk wearing one of his trademark hats and waving back to passing motorists.
Now 87, Blinky has turned in his driver’s license and determined he no longer has the energy to run the store. He closed the doors on Nov. 12. Corbett’s Auction House of Littleton handled the final sale on Nov. 23.
Dressed in an orange cardigan, Blinky cheerfully autographed a stack of black-and-white publicity photos from his TV days and congratulated hundreds of bidders on their purchases. If he was disappointed in the sales, which amounted to pennies on the dollar, he kept it well hidden behind a beaming smile.
Russell Scott, aka Blinky the Clown, congratulates a woman who successfully bid on a pair of chairs
“Money isn’t everything,” he explained to well-wishers. “Enjoy yourself today.”
Rows of tables held a bewildering array of collectibles in an equally broad range of conditions. There were boxes of license plates, china, toys, lunch boxes, hand tools, musical instruments and gadgets.
(left) Old license plates, including a 1937 Colorado example; (right) “Sesame Street” characters and “Gunsmoke” lunch boxes
Blinky’s good humor was rubbed off on auctioneer Adam Kevil, who kept a brisk pace even as display cabinets, furniture and other large items sold for well below $100.
But Kevil couldn’t hide his frustration at the slow bidding for the choicer items, such as a century-old Singer red eye treadle sewing machine. Red eyes in good condition typically sell for upward of $400.
“Goodness gracious, somebody bid, or I’m going to lose my job,” Kevil exclaimed before surrendering the item for $25.
There were some notable exceptions. A toddler-sized wicker buggy “pulled” by a rocking horse sold for $255. A Grundig radio sold for $100.
The toddler-sized wicker carriage and rocking horse
The most popular items may have been Blinky the Clown signs, including bidding for a large sign that Kevil coaxed to $575.
Even in what he says is now his real retirement, Blinky may be turning to what could become a new collectible. He paints and autographs birdhouses that are sold as curios in two Denver-area restaurants.
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