Killer Antiques
Antique store sells more than just curiosities

By Eric Oliver - Enterprise Staff

April 23, 2015

 Curious Antiquities and Killer Antiques, 173 E. Wisconsin Ave., also carries several suits of armor. 
Eric Oliver/Enterprise Staff

OCONOMOWOC — Walking down Wisconsin Avenue, there’s a shop that has swords in the windows and in bright, bold letters the name Curious Antiquities and Killer Antiques, at 173 E. Wisconsin Ave., hangs for all to see.

Step in and owner Rob Gorecki will most likely be wearing full Renaissance garb welcoming people to his collection, and, if the price is right, selling it.

Gorecki’s reach is worldwide. From America to Russia he has sold somebody something. He even has an interesting story about the Vatican Museum in Rome and a certain useless product in his store, which he wants to share, in person.

The Enterprise spoke with Gorecki about his store, the economy and the effect of popular cultural trends.

ENTERPRISE: Does the popularity of “Game of Thrones” and “Lord of the Rings” draw customers in?

GORECKI: There’s always a new fad. Something on TV, new movies, there’s always something. That all helps, obviously; there’s no question about it. “The Vikings” on TV is good for us. We’re selling a lot of Viking stuff.

ENTERPRISE: What’s the oldest thing in the shop?

GORECKI: The oldest thing in the shop is 450 million years. It’s the Wisconsin state fossil, the trilobite, here, so that’s the oldest thing in the shop. At the opposite end of the spectrum in the shop, we start at a dollar for a ‘useless, ugly head that does absolutely nothing.’ It comes with a good story.

We supply a good number of Renaissance fairs all across this country and a bunch of re-enactors in Europe also.

We call this our wall of shame with all the photographs all around this country and Europe, etc.

 Curious Antiquities and Killer Antiques, 173 E. Wisconsin Ave., has a wide variety of medieval wares available to purchase.  
Eric Oliver/Enterprise Staff

ENTERPRISE: How does the economy affect your store?

GORECKI: We went from four employees down to me, and now it is coming back but we were definitely affected.

ENTERPRISE: What’s the furthest you’ve ever shipped an antique?

GORECKI: In the last 26 years we’ve been here, the furthest we shipped was to Moscow.

ENTERPRISE: What sort of things do you do along with this?

GORECKI: We work with a number of different museums throughout the country. I kind of grew up at the Field Museum. Well, I did grow up at the Field Museum. So we help out (with museums because of it).

We also work on criminal cases across the country to give an opinion on whether something is real or not. I can tell you some really good stories there too. Because you don’t know who the people are and when I’ve been in that kind of court case, and I would presume it’s like that all over the United States anyways, it’s a closed door. They bring me in, show me the evidence and then you don’t find out anything until after the court case is over with.

ENTERPRISE: Do you have any events planned for the future?

GORECKI: We have most of the Renaissance fairs coming up. Normally I’m in Renaissance garb here. We have a couple guest lecturers — famous speakers and stuff like that.

ENTERPRISE: Where do you find customers?

GORECKI: We advertise in Renaissance magazine. That is a worldwide magazine for people that are crazy about Renaissance fairs, medieval history and history itself.

Word of mouth helps because we’ve been around for so long. These people all talk to each other, and I hate to say it but it’s like a cult almost. It goes through any age group.

Our items start at a buck, and we have anything from cheap reproduction to very authentic originals. Our oldest group of re-enactors that we cater to is the Roman Legion. You have the Roman armor, the Roman helmet, the gladiator helmet, on the wall is an original Roman arrowhead, and there are a bunch of original Roman artifacts around the shop.

Every state in the union has a major Renaissance fair. It’s just like the old circus — it closes and moves to warmer climates. Even Alaska and Hawaii have permanent fairgrounds. So that’s an important part of our business. Most of our customers are repeat customers, and when you do this you meet all sorts of amazing people, and we love them all.

ENTERPRISE: What is the oldest piece you have in the shop?

GORECKI: Like I said, the Greek Sword. I am my best customer, and when I’m looking for a new piece in my private collection it just jumps out and grabs me. The oldest coin in the shop is the Alexander the Great which is from 330 B.C., which is on the shelf up here.