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Annual farm toys auction caters to present-seekers
On the heels of the National Farm Toy Show, which was the first weekend in November, farm toy collectors had a chance to score big with great buys at Aumann Auctions’ Thanksgiving toy auction. A holiday tradition, Aumann’s has staged its pre-Thanksgiving auction for the past 17 years.

Over the years the auction has been at a variety of locations, as the crowd grew. For the past few years it has taken place at the American Farm Heritage Museum in Greenville, Ill., where the grounds offer indoor facilities as well as plenty of outdoor space.
This year’s auction began with toys, literature and memorabilia that sold Nov. 9, with tractors selling on Nov. 10. Auctioneer Mark Sypherd estimated around 300 bidders were onsite that Friday for the toy auction.

“We had bidders from Colorado to Pennsylvania, plus a few from Canada. There were some phone bidders, but the majority of bidders were online bidding live along with the sale,” he said.
He explained while one cataloged ring took place inside there was another auction ring outside. The outside sale was comprised of parts, tractors and implements. Mark said, “The following day, Saturday, we sold 180-plus running tractors through the ring.”
Both the toy and tractor auctions brought a nice crowd. Many headed to Greenville to the toy show for the Big Bud models that Mark said “were the biggest attraction.

“The main portion of the Big Buds came from an estate south of Atlantic City, New Jersey,” he said, adding the former owner of the models, a Mr. Burbage, loved four-wheel-drives, especially Big Buds. “This is our biggest auction of the year, so this made sense to sell them here. We sold over 30 Big Buds and had (100) four-wheel-drive tractors there.”

Choosing this auction for the Big Bud blowout paid off. “A Martin Fast Big Bud 650/84 with a blade sold for $3,200 and another Martin Fast Big Bud 450 with a yellow blade sold for $2,400.”
For those not in the farm toy hobby, he explained the significance of the toys: “Martin Fast is from Montana and he produced Big Buds. These toys do not come up at auction very often and this was the largest collection I can remember offered at auction.”
Part of the lure for those in the Midwest is this is not a run-of-the-mill tractor. “The real Big Buds are not at every tractor dealership,” he explained. “You have to go mainly out West, where the fields are large enough to accommodate them.”

Some of the other highlights of the toy auction: “There was a John Deere Quality Farm Equipment sign that sold for $3,000. It came from a John Deere dealer in Maine.”

A few rare toys that should be mentioned were the lineup of Reuhl Toys from a collection in the St. Louis area. There were also two variations of self-propelled combines that each sold for $475. There was also a Massey Harris Model 44 tractor with the box that sold for $425 and a Model 44 with the loader that sold for $435.
Mark added, “We also had five variations of Massey Harris Clipper combines that sold for $220 to $260.”

Another item that sold well was a scale model Farmall Super MTA pedal tractor that was new in the box. The toy came from the 2004 Red Power Roundup and sold for $750.

The auction had items besides toys. There was literature and memorabilia, and one piece that sold well was a Cockshutt Farmers Catalogue Presenting the Complete Line of Equipment and Accessories (26 pages) that went for $1,000.

Mark said, “We run online only toy auctions every Sunday ending at 12 p.m. (noon). December 8, we have the Tutt Sullivan Collection from Mississippi.

“Tutt has been a lifelong collector of toys in the Mississippi area. He loved International, but he collected all brands and we have a lot of toys to sell. This will be a live auction of part of his collection. The live auction will feature 25-plus pedal tractors, customs by Riecke, Cottonwood Acres, Trumm, Siegel, Precision Engineering, Freiheit, cotton pickers, four-wheel-drives, dealer editions and old box toys.”
For more information, phone 217-563-2523 or email marks@aumann

Readers with questions or comments for Cindy Ladage may write to her in care of this publication.