Stella Forster to sell his lifetime collections
“I never thought I had so much stuff,” Steve “Stella” Forster said as he loaded a trailer with “stuff” on a very warm July day.
Stella has sold his auto body repair shop and will be selling his lifetime collections at public auction in the Island Ballroom located along Highway 212 on the east edge of Bird Island Tuesday and Wednesday, July 24 and 25. He would have liked to hold the auction at his former business along busy Highway 14 in Springfield, but it lacks space and parking and protection from the elements of the weather. He has more than 2,000 items for sale and the big ballroom provides space and air conditioned comfort. Henslin Auctions will do the calling in two rings, and there’ll be live online bidding.
Vehicles, gas pumps, automotive memorabilia, Rat Rod collectibles, auto body shop tools, equipment and parts will be sold on the first sale date, July 24.
Day two, July 25, will sell motorcycles, cycle parts, pumps, signs, memorabilia, and hundreds and hundreds of miscellaneous items.
Forster grew up in Springfield and acquired the name, “Stella,” from classmates when he was about seven years old. He doesn’t know how that came about, but the name stuck. After his 1970 graduation from Springfield High School he worked at Ochs Brick Company and Acolite for several years. “I decided that I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life,” he said, so he studied auto body repair with a two-year course at Jackson Vocational Technical School (now Minnesota West Community and Technical College).
He began his career of more than 40 years in the auto body repair industry at Vern Stephens GM Dealership in Windom where he worked three years, rented space in Ed Pautzke’s Repair Shop for a couple of years, and then rented space at Weber Ford dealership in Springfield. In 1991, he purchased a building that had been a gas station and headquarters for Glen Erickson’s Oak Grove Dairy distributorship located along Highway 14. He moved his equipment into the building during the Halloween blizzard.
With his own place, Stella began collecting “stuff” such as gas pumps and signs, tires, cars, motorcycles and all kinds of related things. Many of them he displayed in his business.
See complete story in this week's issue of the Springfield Advance-Press.