Television show finds treasure in Janesville

Comments Comments Print Print
Catherine W. Idzerda
Wednesday, April 30, 2014

JANESVILLE—In June—or possibly July—a clock from Minnesota and a business from Janesville will be on national television.

A crew from Velocity, the Discovery Communications “upscale male lifestyle network,” was at Bargains and Beyond, 2340 Center Ave., on Tuesday filming a segment for a show called “What's in the Barn?”

The show, which is part “American Pickers” and part “Antiques Roadshow,” features Dale Walksler and his son Matt. The pair scour the country for rare motorcycles and memorabilia.

The item at stake Tuesday was a 1940's neon advertising clock from a Harley-Davidson dealership in Minnesota.

“This is a cool piece of history,” said Dale Walksler. “This is relevant to what we do.”

“What we do” refers to the Walkslers' passion: Repairing and restoring motorcycles for the “Wheels through Time” museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina.

Everything in the museum works, even the century-old motorcycles,

Bargains and Beyond is owned by Jeff Wesling and Brad Hughes. What they do is search for, buy and sell treasures.

The pair started by taking items to flea markets, steam shows and similar venues. But their collection grew too large to pack and unpack every weekend. They still do some of that, but the store gives them space for display.

They specialize in advertising signs and tools but also sell a miscellaneous collection of antique, retro and new items. You might find a set of Susan Dey paper dolls from the early 1970s or a NASCAR item from last week.

But the walls are filled with classic signs from gas stations, feed stores, tractor manufacturers, breweries and local companies.

Royal Gasoline, Red Coon Chewing Tobacco, Harvester and Coke signs share space with the Hamm's bear and Esso oil drops.

But the Harley-Davidson clock, that is something special.

“It's probably the Holy Grail of all advertising clocks ever made,” Hughes told The Gazette.

Hughes is a fan of “What's in the Barn” and emailed the Walkslers about it.

They responded enthusiastically.

The green neon rim on top of the clock illuminates block letters that read, “Mechanic on duty." On the clock's face is the name of the northern Minnesota dealer. Although the clock dates from the 1940's, the trim has an art deco feel that makes it more striking.

The original cost of the clock, the amount the Walkslers might have paid for it and other details related to the time piece cannot be revealed until the show runs. That will be in June or July, Hughes said.

The clock is “about history, about stories and that makes it great for us,” Walksler said.

Sadly, both of the owners said it is one of their favorite pieces.

“When you're in love with the stuff as much as the guy who wants to buy it, that's hard,” Walksler said.

Comments Comments Print Print