"Literally, there are tens of thousands of items," he said of his late father's collectibles. "There is much more stuff than I can possibly display at my own house, and I'm doing my double best to [display] it."
This weekend, he'll give Utahns a chance to buy items from Stan Sanders' estate. The elder collector, who died in August at age 81, was what his son calls the "black hole of Utah collectors." He gathered everything imaginable for four or five decades.
While Ken will keep the core of his father's collection, including items such as 100 antique whiskey jugs, there will be plenty of collectibles for sale.
"This is like the tip of the iceberg," Ken said, pointing at items such as some of his own childhood toys that he selected to preview the sale at his bookshop, Ken Sanders Rare Books, for this month's gallery stroll tonight.
The display gives visitors a taste of Stan's large variety of collected items.
Ken says it began with the usual stuff -- coins, stamps, rocks. Then came the tropical fish phase, then the bottles.
"Everything Dad did, I think both of us inherited this trait," Ken said of himself and his younger brother Doug Sanders. "We don't do things normally. We just go completely over the top with it."
At the height of his tropical fish-collecting phase, Stan had more than 100 aquariums running simultaneously.
"If he liked it, he wanted to collect it," Ken said.
To fit the collections, Stan turned the family garage into a shop, then a museum. He built an annex next to the property, then purchased the rental next to the family's house, which became another museum.
Ken said his mother went along with it so she could keep the stuff out of the house because it had already taken over the basement.
"My husband was a collector, I called him a junk collector but it's very valuable," Eleanor Sanders said of her husband's lifelong hobby.
She said she got so used to having the collections around that she didn't know how much stuff they had.
"He would be happy that [Ken] kept some of the most valuable and rare items. He probably wouldn't have said much," Eleanor said.
Her husband not only collected the items but learned everything there was to know about them in detail.
The estate sale will include antique bottles, brewery and liquor items, advertisements, signs, postcards, neon and tin signs and vintage medicine and medical equipment. The sale also will include a bargain room.
Proceeds will go to the family estate.
Items from Stan Sanders' collection will be displayed at Ken Sanders Rare Books, 268 S. 200 East, Salt Lake City, tonight from 6 to 9 as part of the November gallery stroll.
"Stan Sanders Estate Sale of the Century: Utah collectibles, antiques and memorabilia" will be Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 2745 S. Blair St.