[Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect Angela Laney is Max Whitsel’s granddaughter.]
CANTON, Ohio (WJW) – One Northeast Ohio family is working to move a mountain of memorabilia collected by the family’s patriarch for decades.
Max Whitsel was a family man.
“Four daughters and 24 grandkids – that includes grandkids and great-grandkids,” his granddaughter Angela Laney said.
But he was also a collector with a sharp eye. Over his 80 years, he amassed a music and memorabilia collection that filled four storage units.
“He loved the hunt, is how I’m going to put it,” Laney said. “I’m pretty sure that’s why. But he collected stamps, lots of old stamps, coins, records, books comics, signed autographs, pictures.”
Whitsel’s treasures amount to more than 100K items, mostly vinyl records.
“We knew it was big, but we didn’t realize how big until we got in and started moving the stuff out,” she said.
Whitsel passed away from throat cancer on Oct. 10, 2022. His family said he wasn’t ready to go and held on for as long as he could. The end was a true struggle.
They only have fond memories of the man that was the glue of their family – the one who coordinated all the family reunions and made sure to take each family member on trips with him.
His collection spans decades, and some items hold great value on the open market. But the item not found in his collection was life insurance to cover end-of-life costs.
“My aunt had to put the funeral on her credit card. So, a lot of this money that we’re getting or have gotten is going towards a lot of that,” Laney said.
With no way to list each item, the family made the difficult decision to auction the entire collection through Kiko Auctioneers.
“It would probably take us years to go through every single thing, every single record,” she said.
The family is hopeful the items find their way to other people who will enjoy them the same way Max Whitsel did for all these years.
“We’re hoping that there are some collectors out there that hit the jackpot,” she said. “Find something that they really truly like.”
There will be two auctions. The first of which is open currently, ending on Wednesday, Feb. 22. The second auction is planned for mid-March.
Browse the collection here.