By JO ANN HUSTIS
SANDWICH, Ill. — Sales results that top their presale estimates make for happy auctioneers like Chris Wegener.
“I’m quite pleased,” said Wegener, of Sandwich, in the wake of the vintage consignment sale he and fellow auctioneer Joe Meyer conducted at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds on June 29. The benefit auction was a top draw item at the 42nd annual vintage tractor and gasoline engine show sponsored by the Sandwich Early Day Engine Club. The 2 1/2-hour sale ended as another of the season’s many thunderstorms rolled across the Midwest, adding another inch or more of moisture to soils still sodden from previous weeks of almost daily rainfall.
A long-time auctioneer, Wegener spices his chant with one-liners that have the crowds smiling and focused on the reason they are there.
“Gotta get it gone,” he cajoled prospective bidders as they hesitantly eyed a vintage manually operated water well pump by Rockford. A minute later, the pump went on the high bid of $60.
The day’s top selling item was a Farmall Cub with a decent paint job and a plow and other attachments that went for $2,000 all told. “Boy, that’s sharp,” Wegener said in starting the offers at $1,000. “It’s a parade tractor,” he noted as the bidding climbed. “It’s ready for the field.” The Cub was one of three vintage farm tractors offered, and sold within five minutes.
Bidding dragged a bit on an older Farmall Cub in traditional I-H red and complete with belly mower. Bidding opened at $250. “It’s a nice little Cub, boys,” he said in coaxing the offers higher. “It runs like a watch. We can paint it green.” The crowd chuckled and the Cub sold for $625.
A green John Deere 3000 series tractor was next. Bidding started at $500 and stopped at $1,550. The Internet lists the series at an average $2,200 to $2,400, and at $3,850 for a high.
At the top of the popularity list were a half-dozen early 1900s stationary hit-and-miss gasoline engines. Highest was an Appleton 1.5 horsepower engine that sold at $825, followed by a Stover 1.5 horsepower at $625, and an unidentified make at $650.
Two John Deere engines mounted on separate wood pull carts brought $500 and $450 each. An International Harvestor engine topped out at $600, and another at $475. Also known as one-lungers, a hit-and-miss engine in pieces brought $650. “You can put the pieces all together,” Wegener said. A Fairbanks engine sold at $135. A small two-cylinder cycle engine brought $20.
Other popular items included a burr mill at $300, air compressor at $280, Maytag seed cleaner at $85, and an Ottawa brand log saw at $65. A large somewhat battered tin advertising sign went at $25. The lettering read: “Kendall 2000 mile oil. Christen’s Mach (sic) Shop. Hinckley, Ill.”
A four-wheel electric club car did well at $1,450. Three large iron anvils went to the same bidder at $475, $450, and $375 each in spirited bidding. “I’m a dealer. I’ll get $900 for that one,” he commented afterwards, pointing to the $475 anvil. Other anvils included a pair that went at $95 each, $140 for one on a factory made stand, $100 for a single, and $85 each for three different anvils.
Of interest, too, was the engine from an International Harvestor tractor that brought $200, a lawn sweeper by Agri-Fab which fetched $300, a 12 horsepower Briggs and Stratton engine at $20, vintage Johnson outboard boat motor at $115, an old lumber buzz saw on wheels at $50, a two-bottom plow minus wheels at $10, and an I-H two-bottom plow with wheels at $35.
A six-foot grain seeder or planter by Thomas of Springfield, Ohio, attracted many curious lookers before it sold at $50. “I dare you to find one just like it,” Wegener told the crowd. “That’s a show piece.”
Other farm implements included a New Idea manure spreader that quickly went at $500, an oil “bowser” storage tank at $70, steel grain planter at $12.50, JD grain planter at $17.50, two Massey-Harris metal tractor hoods at $20, M-H tractor grill and screen at $12, old grinder at $25, and a tractor flywheel at $5.
A tin advertising sign with red letters that spelled “Deering New Ideal” on a yellow background tallied $90. “Just think what it would bring if I’d advertised it,” Wegener commented. A pair of metal tractor seats went for $28, a third seat brought $12, a hog oiler took $35, and a fuel pump for a John Deere M tractor brought $60. A big heavy iron hayfork for barns came to only $10. “Hang it on the wall, boys,” he said.
Also doing well was a rusty tractor grill at an even $100, a pottery butter churn with wood paddle at $50, tractor radiator at $35, JD right-hand metal shield panel at $20, belt pulley for a John Deere M tractor at $40, red metal tractor seat at $50, wooden buggy seat on springs at $115, and a Super H or Super M tractor drawbar at $80.
All auction proceeds benefit the SEDEC. This year’s two-day show featured International Harvester tractors and gas engines and equipment. Drawing cards included the auction, tractor parades, flea market, craft vendors, horse drawn wagon rides and pedal tractors for kids.
The club’s goal is restoration and preservation of vintage and antique farming equipment like stationary gas engines and old farm tractors. Their engine and tractor show has a strong following. The consignment auction was added in 1992 and consistently draws a large crowd.