David Steffen of Double D’s
Sarah Pryor /
David Steffen became interested in the antiques world in a
non-traditional way. As a paranormal investigator, he traveled
to homesteads all over the region searching for spirits, but he
also found some cool old wood-burning stoves, vintage farm
equipment, ancient household items and more.
has hung up his ghost-hunting gear - at least for the time being
- to open a male-centric shop at 808 N. Grand Ave. called Double
Double D’s, but it’s not what you think. It’s because my
business partner is also named Dave (Atwater),” said Steffen,
who relocated the store from Wauwatosa. “We’re getting T-shirts
made up that say ‘Who doesn’t love Double D’s?”
So what’s the
difference between an antique and a mantique?
“An antique is
something that’s old, like from 1930 or before. But a mantique
is something that catches a man’s eye - the old, metal, rusty
crap ... tools, corkscrews ... ,” Steffen said. “Some of these
places we go, the family has lived there for hundreds of years.”
inventory isn’t limited to old farm items, however. Steffen and
Atwater also offer everything from taxidermied foxes to a King
Kong head made entirely of wax.
one-of-a-kind items, like the hand-painted Gordon Rettew horse
plate that Steffen bought for a dollar and is worth more than
$1,000 now. He’s also got lots of items that he personally finds
interesting, like the Madison Muskies baseball cap.
“You’ve got to
put the real value on something,” said Steffen, who has even
sold to Austin “Chumlee” Russel of “Pawn Stars” fame.
Steffen and Atwater’s finds are just a little creepy, like a
stroller containing two vintage dolls with their eyes fixed in a
None of the
items are haunted, though. Steffen has checked.
“It’s never a
bad thing if a spirit is connected to an item,” said Steffen,
who uses a K2 meter to detect electromagnetic frequencies that,
he says, could indicate a spiritual presence. “Most of them are
usually pretty casual.”
Double D’s is
open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, except sometimes
during Packers games.