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Property from the Estate of John R. Eckel Sr.: An Antique Love Story

Margaret and John Eckel fell in love with each other and with antiques in the 1940s upon John's return from World War II. The following few decades saw that passion grow to a critical mass when their house full of beloved "old things" became just too much of a good thing and prompted the couple to rent space in a Houston antiques mall. Stocking their new venture with some of what they could bear to live without, much to their surprise sold out to the bare walls the first weekend. The Eckels had stumbled upon the solution to a vexing problem. Margaret loved to shop, particularly for antiques, but to buy them required money and a place to put things, each scarce commodities. Reselling generated both, which enabled more collecting! Thus was Wellsprings Antiques born.

Wellsprings Antiques blossomed over the years in various forms and locations, always promising patrons that their visit would be a unique and memorable one. The Eckels discovered that the 19th century was a golden age of mechanical devices, generally aesthetic as well as functional, eliciting a sense of wonder like no other. Their focus of interest became the tools, instruments, weapons and devices of days gone by --- as artifacts of our shared history. Gradually Wellsprings acquired a reputation as a museum whose exhibits one could buy.

With Margaret's passing in 2000 following a three year battle with cancer, John pursued the dream he and Margaret had long held - to create the ultimate antiques venue. It would be dedicated to all types of antiques and not just to the buying, selling and care of old things, but also to the gathering and sharing of knowledge. It would be a blend of all their experiences and the best attributes of Wellsprings' past homes, a gift to the Houston antiques community and a monument to two lives well lived. So in the Autumn of 2009, at the tender age of 86, John launched Antiques on 8 in Houston. Called "the finest antique mall on this part of the planet," Antiques on 8 featured John's Wellspring Museum which housed a lifetime's worth of treasures --- often with asking prices that would ensure they would never leave his care.

John departed his life of collecting earlier this year and John's family has chosen Heritage Auctions to present their parents' best treasures through auction this Spring. Featured in Heritage auctions of Arms & Armor , Legends of the Old West , Americana and Civil War & Militaria , the offering of the Property from the Estate of John R. Eckel Sr. will be an opportunity for collectors to share in John and Margaret's love for antiques, rare firearms and historical artifacts.

View the collection here.