Auction contents of defunct Duluth novelty, record and smoke shop are nostalgic, R-rated

31December 2021

DULUTH — The contents of Duluth’s embattled and long-shuttered Last Place on Earth are up for auction next week, and parents are advised to keep the children at home.

Superior’s Sellers Auction is emptying a 24-foot storage container filled top to bottom with vintage records, incense, black light posters, the original, tattered storefront sign and “a ton of adult items.”

“We’re calling it an adult auction date night,” said Christina Greene, co-owner of the auction house. “We’ll have a keg, champagne. We will sell the PG items first. … Then we’ll break into the R-rated items.”

In 2013, U.S. marshals arrested Last Place owner Jim Carlson in a drug raid. The arrest occurred because Carlson was openly selling addictive synthetic drugs branded as bath salts and incense, drawing long lines of users and filling the city’s emergency rooms with those who used the drugs. Authorities seized the property in the summer of 2013, and Carlson was convicted on 51 counts and handed a 17.5-year prison sentence. The conviction was upheld by a federal appeals court in 2016.

The shop’s contents went into a storage container paid for by Carlson’s son, Joseph Gellerman, Greene said. She said Gellerman stopped paying rent more than two years ago, so the unit’s owner, who wants to remain anonymous, asked Sellers Auction for help. Proceeds from the auction will help him recoup the lost rent.

Greene said her phone hasn’t stopped ringing since the auction was announced, with people calling who are interested in the records or a piece of Duluth history. The weathered storefront sign (a second is in better shape) could fetch up to $1,500, she said.

Greene wasn’t a resident of Duluth when the Last Place on Earth became the focus of attention by law enforcement and city officials, she said, but her husband is a Duluth native and recalls buying posters at the store as a teenager.

“There were two sides to that store from what I hear,” she said. “It had a really nostalgic, positive good side, until it got bad.”

The auction, at 102 Belknap St. in Superior, begins at 5 p.m. Jan. 8.

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