Admiralty House Antiques readies for liquidation sale July 26-28

Every so often, we get a question about whether Admiralty House Antiques in The Admiral District is open or closed. Our somewhat tongue-in-cheek answer has usually been “yes.” But soon, the answer will be definitively “closed.” Chris Foss from Foss Estate Sales has announced that Admiralty House’s owner Fred Dau is retiring at age 97 after more than 45 years in business, and “has hired Foss Estate Sales to liquidate the inventory and all the store fixtures.” We stopped by Admiralty House (2141 California SW) this morning as Foss prepared for the sale, for a quick peek at some of the items (like those above) that Foss is cataloging. He says his photos and info will start appearing on this special webpage soon. The sale will run 8 am-4 pm Friday, July 26th, and 9 am-4 pm each of the following two days.

27 Replies to "Admiralty House Antiques readies for liquidation sale July 26-28"

  • Traci July 15, 2013 (10:50 am)

    Thank you for letting us know! I’ve been wanting to go inside that amazing shop since I moved here and always peek inside to look at the stuff. We’ll be there!

  • Diane July 15, 2013 (11:37 am)

    “Police Officer & Video Surveillance on Site”
    very good idea after the armed robbery at estate sale at home next door to me few months ago
    and I really look forward to finally seeing inside of this store, although sad to hearing it’s closing

  • Roger July 15, 2013 (11:46 am)

    We always jokingly call it the “let me in” store.

  • miws July 15, 2013 (12:10 pm)

    I’ve lucked out and managed to get into the store maybe 3 or 4 times, probably within the last 5 years or so.


    So much cool old stuff, cool not only because it’s old, but because of the memories the stuff invoked; old, old, old tools that remind me of some that my 1893 born Grandpa had, old dishes, knick-knacks, and stuff that remind me of stuff my Mom, or Grandma, or an Aunt had.


    I seem to recall that Kennedy photo, maybe there was even more than one, because as I recall they had quite a bit of JFK memorabilia, including at least one copy, of probably the Times or P-I announcing the tragedy.


    There was so much stuff, especially when Mrs. Dau had to close up her own Pioneer Square Shop, and they had to combine. Although a bit difficult for a klutz like me to navigate, the clutter added to the charm.


    This place seemed different than other Antique Stores, though they may be very nice and have cool stuff, in that this place wasn’t quite as spit and polished and organized as these other places might be. And, I don’t recall, but this place may not have had “antiques” such as Cabbage Patch Dolls, or 1970’s/’80’s hand held electronic games, or at least very few.


    This place was so cool to visit, if one was able to plan a visit, but is also the place that would be such a fun find if, say, one were visiting a small town, unaware that the place existed, and discovered the gem on pure chance.



  • margaritaville July 15, 2013 (12:14 pm)

    Many of my old Christmas ornaments were purchased at that amazing shop full of all kinds of very cool things-you-didn’t-know-that-you-needed!

  • me July 15, 2013 (12:57 pm)

    @diane, Foss is the same company that ran that sale with the armed robbery. if i was them i would have a police officer on site too!

  • Brian M. July 15, 2013 (1:53 pm)

    Admiralty House was a labor of love for Fred’s wife, Marge. Fred lost Marge late last year, and I’m sure that the closure must be tough on him. I hope that the community will come out in support of him during the store’s final days.

  • Peggy July 15, 2013 (1:54 pm)

    I use to live across the street 10+ years ago and would pop in whenever I could to browse and chat with Fred. I bought many treasures but my favorite is a beautiful oak chest which Fred help me carry up 3 flights. We stopped for breaks. I wish him the best in his retirement–well deserved!

  • Brian July 15, 2013 (2:16 pm)

    Thank you Chris, for the information! This will be a truly great sale.

  • Diane July 15, 2013 (3:39 pm)

    do we know if Fred will be there? would love to meet him

  • Diane July 15, 2013 (3:40 pm)

    thanks me; the name looked familiar but wasn’t sure if it was same company

  • SteveP July 15, 2013 (3:58 pm)

    Very excited to finally get to go inside after only gazing wishfully through the windows for so many years! Will definitely be there!

  • enough July 15, 2013 (4:13 pm)

    I was sad to read Marge passed away. She and Fred are such wonderful people. I started going to their antique store around 2005 and visited often, when they had regular hours. They tried to retire about 3 or 4 years ago. I think they loved it and just couldn’t stop opening up occasionally.

  • Chris July 15, 2013 (6:17 pm)

    I knew this property before it was Admiralty House and the building was shared by Carroll’s Drugs and Roberts’ Food Store. The original drug store and soda fountain was operated by my grandparents, Clinton and Margaret Frankenfield. This was in the 1920’s and 30’s. After my grandfather’s death @1931, my grandmother sold the pharmacy half to Mr. Carroll and operated the larger half as Roberts’ Food Store in the late 40’s through the late 60’s.

    I have fond memories of working with my Grandma Maggie in her store in the mid 60’s. She loved Christmas and would have enjoyed knowing Marge and seeing all of the antique Christmas things in the store. She was a collector as well.

    I look forward to visiting the store during the sale. I have some vintage photos of my Mother, Uncle, and Grandmother in the store. I hope to share them with Fred in the coming weeks.

    This building is full history and I’m proud to have shared in some of it.

    • WSB July 15, 2013 (6:19 pm)

      Chris – if you have any digital version of any photo, I expect to be following up on this later this week and it would be fun to include – – TR

  • WSTroll July 15, 2013 (6:26 pm)

    I love that building. I hope a developer doesn’t buy it and tear it down for a seven story apartment thingy.

  • Residents July 15, 2013 (7:53 pm)

    When Marge was alive she said her son was going to get the building. And I think she was against it being torn down.

    @Chris, it was neat to still see the shadows of where the stools were when it was a pharmacy.

  • WestSide45 July 15, 2013 (9:42 pm)

    My first job was working for Fred and his partner in business (always looked like a sea captain, but now I cannot recall his name). I mowed the “lawn” on the south side of the store (made $1.50) and sold popcorn for them at their Pike Place Market store. In the following few decades whenever I’d visit Fred in the store we’d talk about whatever was lying around on the floor, usually a tool of unknown usefulness to me. Not to Fred—he knew about every tool in the store and how to use it. Quite the resource.

  • Kristine Dahms July 15, 2013 (11:39 pm)

    So bittersweet to read this article. My husband and I had been visiting Fred and Marj every holiday season for close to 15 years and before that when Marj had her shop in the old FirehouseAntique under the viaduct. We don’t live in the neighborhood and last we’d heard, about 3 yrs ago, Marj called to let us know they were closing so I was surprised to read that they were still open. Also had not heard until now that Marj had passed. Loved them both, loved their place, loved their stuff, loved their stories. What wonderful people. I know they wanted their nephew to take over the building so it would not go to developers. We have a photo we took with them on our last visit a few years ago outside the front door. I will have to dig that up.

  • pupsarebest July 16, 2013 (7:08 am)

    Very sad to hear of Marge’s passing.
    I discovered her space in the Old Firehouse Antiques building, under the viaduct, back in the late 1980s.
    So many wonderful old Shiny-Brite Christmas ornaments and decorations, Marge was so sweet and warm, and recognized me each year I’d go in for my annual Shiny-Brite “fix”.
    When she merged her treasures with Fred’s at Admirality House Antiques, there was a double bonus—easier access to her beautiful things, and the pleasure of meeting Fred.
    Equally kind and friendly, Fred became another nice part of the annual visit.
    My husband and I offer our sincere condolences to Fred, Marge’s family and friends, and feel fortunate to have met such loving, caring people as Marge and Fred Dau.

  • WSB July 16, 2013 (7:27 am)

    For those who have mentioned Ms. Dau’s passing – we didn’t receive an obituary, so there’s not one in our archives, but here’s the one I found at the Seattle Times (WSB partner) website, from early this year:

  • chris July 16, 2013 (8:46 am)

    Never believed they actually wanted to sell their stuff…rarely open and crazy high prices when you actually could get in. Seemed to be a hobby or a collection…not sure which.

  • sc July 16, 2013 (9:15 am)

    my husband bought a roofing “ax/hammer/nail puller(?)” from them a few years ago for $1. We just used it this weekend to split kindling while camping. It works great!

  • Forest July 16, 2013 (9:43 am)

    WestSide45 –

    The business partner would have been his brother-in-law Donald Voris. Both of them were shop teachers at Denny Junior High.

  • Diane July 16, 2013 (11:40 am)

    @Chris; please do share your photos with TR so we all can see
    thanks to everyone for sharing stories about the history of this site

  • shoesnsox July 23, 2013 (2:52 pm)

    I just moved here from Kitsap County last year…although my extended family on both sides are all long-time Seattle-ites, and I was born in Seattle. I’ve never lived in the city myself, and I have totally & absolutely fallen in love with the neighborhood. I walk by this place almost daily, and have often wondered about its story. Pleased to learn more about it. I truly hope it doesn’t become a residential building. I admittedly dream of it being a bakery/cafe with sidewalk seating and the occasional open mic night. :D
    I will be at the sale too, and it would be a delight to meet Mr. Dau. I hope he’s there for a bit.

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