While my husband Keith was toiling away in the fields, I took a hosted trip to northeastern Indiana this April. Travel is a great way to see other parts of the country and view how other farmers are doing, as well. As a collector, it is fun to stop and visit farm centers.
On my trip, I stopped at the Conner Prairie museum in Fishers, Indiana. It was a great way to see a bit of what was old and what was new. Conner Prairie is a working farm and has several areas for adults and children to enjoy. There is the Treetop Outpost, the William Conner House, the 1859 Balloon Voyage, and a Discovery Station with some neat windmills on display in a section for kids to learn about wind power. One of the windmills on display was discovered in a manure pile, and a historic maintenance technician for Conner Prairie, Keith Thomas, restored it. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Another stop was in Wabash, Indiana, at the Dr. James Ford Historic Home. While Dr. Ford was a surgeon and served during the Civil War, he also invented a grain drill while laid up with malaria.
Travel offers a chance to learn information about antique tractors and implements created in different parts of the country or around the world, if you are an adventurous traveler. When Keith and I travel to shows and auctions, I enjoy seeing the nearby historic sites. It seems there is always, even if it is tenuous, a link to agriculture.
The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum in Auburn, Indiana, is full of beautiful, art deco-designed cars in a showroom that was designed to impress potential clients. The showroom boasts marble tile floor, art deco lights, and more. In the museum’s Special Interest Gallery, I saw a beautiful Graham car. Curator Jon Bill explained that after the factory closed, Auburn parts were sold to Graham to be used on its cars. Dallas Winslow bought companies that sold the parts and through his own efforts preserved many of these early cars.
Keith collects Graham-Bradley tractors, and this connection between the Graham automobile and Graham-Bradley, while small, is a learning experience that I would not have had if not for my museum tour.
These are just a few of the examples of how travel and auctions go hand in hand. When scheduling your next auction trip, whether it be just an hour away or a day away, think of the fun historic sites that you can see which can add to your collectible knowledge base.
Mecum Auctions—Muscatine, Iowa
Mecum Auctions presents its Muscatine 2017 auction on June 2–3, 2017. The auction is located at Cam II Warehouse, 6110 49th St. S., Muscatine, IA 52761. While there are several tractors to see and consider, the highlights of this auction include some special John Deere tractors like a 1960 John Deere 630 standard All-Fuel, 1952 John Deere G Hi-Crop All-Fuel, 1950 John Deere 40V All Fuel, and 1959 John Deere 430 Standard LP. For more information, about this auction, log onto Mecum’s website.
Aumann Auctions, Inc.—Independence, Iowa
This coming June 10, 2017, the Sparky Duroe collection will sell at 1327 210th St., Independence, IA 50644. Like Mecum’s auction, this will feature green—not John Deere green, but rather Oliver green.
The auction notes state, “For the second time, we are excited to be able to auction Sparky Duroe’s collection. Sparky has put together a fantastic collection of low-production Oliver tractors, including FWA, Hi-Clearance, and orchard tractors.”
Besides Oliver, the collection also includes some other brands like John Deere, Minneapolis-Moline, Massey-Harris, and International Harvester. Log onto Aumann’s website for more information.
Aumann Auctions, Inc.—Sigourney, Iowa
On October 6–8, 2017, Aumann Auctions will sell part of the Lyle and Helen Dumont collection. The auction takes place at the very impressive Dumont Museum, 20545 255th St., Sigourney, IA 5259. Like the Duroe collection, this auction showcases the Oliver brand and features tractors, signs, memorabilia, and even a 3,600-square-foot train layout. This is a three-day auction and includes pedal tractors. Details are available at Aumann’s website.
Yoder & Frey, Inc.—Archbold, Ohio
Keep your eyes peeled for details about the special antique tractor auction that Yoder & Frey has listed on its website for October 9–10, 2017. Yoder and Frey have been auctioning farm machinery since 1947. Started by two brother-in-laws, Elias H. Frey and Tim Yoder, the company offers monthly consignment auctions on the second Tuesday of each month.
Everywhere you go there is opportunity to see sites that correspond with farm history. Take advantage of the proximity of your next auction to tour a fun place. As St. Augustine said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
Keep your eyes peeled, and you may see Keith and me out and about. Happy bidding!