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Thanksgiving auction of antique machinery raises money for a farm history museum
Illinois Correspondent

TAYLORVILLE, Ill. — Sunny weather complimented Aumann Auctions 11th annual Antique Tractor Auction on Thanksgiving weekend.

The crowd filled the Christian County Fairgrounds in Taylorville. A few brave individuals found a high perch on threshing machines; others stood on fences, and some just shimmied up close to see what was selling next.

While many years have brought cold or damp auctions, this year’s event was blessed with good weather, a strong crowd and a gift for the American Farm Heritage Museum in Greenville, Ill.

Several members of the flourishing museum, which was founded in 2002, joined together and bought a 1928 Case Model K-1832 to sell at the auction and donate the proceeds to the museum.

Virgil Straeter, who found the tractor and was instrumental in the donation, drove the tractor through the line as it was auctioned.

“Several members bought the tractor out of Oklahoma last year,” Straeter explained.

The tractor sold for $12,000.

“We have a swell of volunteerism and are working with the grade school and high school students,” Straeter said, explaining how they keep interest in the museum.

Expansion has been ongoing. Last year, the members erected a steel building that had been a truck terminal in St. Louis, Mo. Straeter, who owns Advance Structures, which is a pre-engineered steel building company, said they cleaned the building, painted it and erected it onsite in Greenville.

“Two-hundred-and-eighteen families belong to the club,” he said. “We want to build a sawmill; lay more track (for the steam engine they purchased), erect an old-time village and build a replica of Hill Fort.”

Hill Fort was an early settlement that was in the early pioneering days where Greenville now exists. According to Straeter, the club recently received a donation of literature from the Massey Collectors Club and the Museum members have plans to have a curator someday down the road.

In April, members plan to set hours and have the museum open for visitors. Ollie Schaefer, president of the club, can be contacted at 618-267-3050 for details.

The auction had a number of highlights. There was a 1923 Farmall Regular that, according to Aumann Auctions, is the “Oldest-known Farmall.

“It’s the earliest known Farmall tractor and selling absolute.”

The tractor sold for more than $5,000. Many other makes and models were on hand, too. On Friday, mostly literature and memorabilia sold, and Saturday was all about tractors.

Members of the Ansar Ag Shriners were on hand to drive the tractors for the auction. The club received a donation from Aumann’s for their work.

Along with the auction itself, a few vendors were also at the show. Chad and Katie Elmore, owners of Belt Pulley Magazine, an all-brand tractor publication were busy selling subscriptions to new readers and renewals to other customers.

The I & I Antique Tractor and Engine Club was also around offering raffle tickets and videos of the Century of last year’s Progress Show in Rantoul, Ill.

Russell Mayes Restoration was set up with examples of his tractor restoration work pictured for interested viewers.

To see how much the items sold for, visit Aumann Auctions website at

This farm news was published in the Nov. 29, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.