SANDWICH, Ill. — Each keeping one eye on the cloud-covered sky and the other on the rain-weary crowd that hoped to duck any more thunderstorms, the two-man team of Joe Meyer and Chris Wegener auctioned off more than 100 farm-related antique and vintage items at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds June 28.
The consignment auction is one of the strongest drawing cards of the venerable Sandwich Early Day Engine Show. The event also features vintage gasoline engines known as one-lungers, a tractor parade through the village of Sandwich, a 25-mile tractor ride around the area, a pull competition using local garden tractors, kids’ games, pedal tractors for children and tractor-drawn hayrides around the fairgrounds.
Nancy Quantuck, outgoing president of the Sandwich Early Day Engine Club which sponsored the 43rd annual two-day event at the fairgrounds, noted attendance was down from previous years. "Probably because of the weather," she said. "But, it was a good show again, and the auction went well."
Attendance usually averages about 1,500 people. The highlight of the auction included an antique gasoline engine manufactured many years ago in a former factory in Sandwich, Ill. The painted word, Sandwich, was still quite visible on the engine’s water tank. The engine sold for $750. A grinder from the same factory brought $370.
Other highlights were a John Deere plow on rubber that went on a bid of $450 and a corn sheller, at $240. Wording painted on the side noted the sheller was manufactured in Coldwater, Ohio, but did not list the year.
Other high-sellers included a golf cart at $1,100, John Deere garden tractor at $675 and a food stand concession trailer at $800. A 1.5-hp Fairbanks Z gasoline engine brought $320, a hand-pushed planter $105 and an International 3-5 hp gasoline engine $270.
A youth of about 9 years old won a vintage bicycle with banana seat on a $50 bid. He jumped aboard and tried it out to the cheers of the crowd. "This was his first time to bid at a sale," said Meyer, who auctioned it to the boy.
Many collectors and vintage tractor and agriculture parts aficionados stayed to the end as the auctioneers found new owners for items off the hayrack, such as a machinist’s heavy iron bench vise at $220; a 4500 winch (utility recovery tool) at $65; milling machine vise at $55; a blower at $42.50; and another large iron workbench vise at $90.
Smaller bids won items including a pulley wheel at $2.50, tractor wheel at $20, box of hub caps at $10, pair of small implement wheels at $5 each, two tiny tin oil cans at $7 for both, an International tractor steering wheel at $6 and a JD tractor cylinder at $22.50. Several bidders with change in their pockets won the following at $1 each: a small spreader, a JD wheel hub, the bottom section of a JD oil filter – "It’s one of those things," Wegener joked – and a handful of unidentified "new stuff."
Hayracks accommodate many items at an auction such as this. Another rack held vintage items such as a hanging household brass lamp which fetched a bid of $10, a second brass hanging lamp with glass chimney that went at $70 and two old-time table lamps at $32.50 and $20.
"Don’t blame me tomorrow because you all stood here together the same day," Wegener noted in case of post-sale regrets for not raising the bid. One tiny oil tin can went at $17.50. A box of about 20 tiny similar tins sold on a bid of $105.
A new metal grinder in box went at $37.50, a riveter in box at $65, a little drill press at $1 – "I can’t believe it," Wegener said of the bid – a small iron vise at $32.50, set of transfer punches at $100, small table saw at $22, box of miscellaneous International parts at $30, International flywheel cover at $10, soldering iron at $5 and brass soldering torch at $8, plus a doorbell in a wooden box at $25.
Vintage operating paper manuals in apparently good condition quickly sold. These included two Silver King tractor manuals at $18 each, two Ford tractor manuals at $5 each, two 1921 Ford manuals at $12 for both, two Fairbanks gas engine manuals at $4 each, two Model T car manuals at $12.50 apiece and a heavy, large Ford truck manual at $25.
The 44th annual Early Day Engine show will be the last weekend in June 2015 and will feature Ford tractors. "We’ll start planning right away, and it will pretty much follow the same pattern of the past years’ shows," Quantuck said.
Meanwhile, the rain that had threatened the 2014 event all day finally showed its gusto in northeastern Illinois that evening.
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