PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire (NEWS CENTER) -- On Saturday morning the doors to Building E at the J. Moore Auctioneers complex will open, inviting in hundreds of people to take away a piece of history from The Rosa Restaurant.
Believed to be the longest operating restaurant under the same family name in all of New England, from its opening in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1927 until it closed in January of 2012, former owner Joe Hunt says now is the right time to get rid of much of the equipment and artwork he collected during the 30-plus years that he ran the place.
"It is very difficult, but it is time," Hunt said, sitting in the middle of the auction house with stacks of his stuff surrounding him. "It is just overwhelming."
Not all of the thousands of items up for bid came from The Rosa. Some of the collectibles are from Hunt's home, along with plenty of other odds and ends from businesses his wife used to run.
"We had some storage units, and we had the restaurant, and we had our personal house and garage filled with accumulations," he explained. "It is a lot of memories, a lot of memories."
Auction manager Thomas Sloan spent four days sifting through a sea of boxes, looking for treasures buried within.
"This is somebody's stuff and we are the couriers of it to the auction block," stated Sloan. "There is la lot of emotion in that. There is a lot of unknown for the owner, as well as the auction company."
Sloan organized the items as best he could, boiling the thousands of items down into just 600 lots. He expects the auction to take about six hours to conduct.
"We are trying to get this to a new home where it is going to be appreciated," he said. "Things of a unique nature like this, they get a lot of local interest, and when that happens there is kind of no knowing what someone is willing to pay to own basically a treasure or a memory in their own home."
The auction begins Saturday April 5th at 8am with two hours for folks to browse the aisles during the preview. Then the real fun begins with the first lot hitting the auction block at 10am.