We asked our readers to answer this question….What was the best buy you ever got at an auction?
Our readers took us up on the chance to tell their stories and responded with some amazing accounts of their auction bargains.
They submitted incredible stories of hidden treasures and complete surprises. They all really did get a great deal!
I purchased an old box of books at an auction in Harmony, Pa. The box lot cost me $2. Once I arrived home, I paged through the old books to find a 1933 Goudey baseball card of Babe Ruth.
The card was in near perfect condition. After having it appraised and graded, I sold the card for more than $3,000.
My dad’s best bargain came at the second Buckeye Consignment Sale in Wooster, Ohio, March 6, 1970. He bought a 1967 Massey Ferguson 165 diesel with 880 hours on it, a windshield, pressure control hitch and front end weights for $3,750 and he paid $30 for a new top link.
In 1979, he bought a 1974 model 165 diesel with the 180 axle for $7,000. One month later I bought a Massey Ferguson 44 diesel for $260. It ran and had four 125-pound wheel weights on it.
Jeffrey E. Berger
I attended an auction many years ago of our town’s local recluse. His home had been the family residence since the late 1800s.
Weeks prior to the auction, I had the privilege of touring the home. The rooms were piled high with antiques of all kinds along with books and newspapers. Small walk ways went from room to room.
A room at the top of the stairs on the second floor contained two feet or more of mail accumulated over the years. It was auctioned off as the mail room.
Another room on the second floor was his sister’s room. It was just as she had left it some 50 years earlier, still furnished with the original furniture and adorned with cobwebs and rotted curtains.
Finally, the day of the auction arrived. It started at 9 a.m. with only one auctioneer. By 3 p.m., the crowd started to thin out. Around 6 p.m., a light rain began to fall. There was still a semi-truck trailer loaded with antiques.
With the auctioneer’s voice almost gone, along with the crowd, there was myself and one other gentleman left. The auctioneer said he was going to sell everything on the trailer for one money.
“Do I hear $100?” he yelled, ever so softly.
“Now boys, you know there is a lot of value there…$75…do I hear $75..$50..do I hear $50..$50..$50. How about $25..$25..$25.”
The man next to me bid $1. I bid $2. He bid $3.
“Is there something on the trailer you want?” I asked.
“Yes, that toy gun,” he replied.
“It’s yours,” I said.
“Five dollars,” I yelled.
“Sold!” said the auctioneer in a raspy voice.
It took three pick-up truck loads to empty the trailer.
Some months earlier we, in partnership with another couple, had bought a small house in town. It became our first antique shop.
Valley City, Ohio
The best buy I ever got at an auction was at Mercer Livestock Auction Horse Sale Dec. 12, 2007.
I didn’t go to buy a horse, just to look and buy wormer for my horses. I looked at all the horses and didn’t see anything I couldn’t do without.
There was a horse that came in late after I had taken my seat. I watched all the horses sell and didn’t bid on any.
This was the last horse to sell. He was a bright red Sorrell (chestnut) with a red mane and tail, blaze and two white socks on the back legs.
He was a high-headed, eye-catching stallion. The man that was on the lead was scared to death of him.
The auctioneer said, “A registered Morgan stud here that stands for a $350 stud fee. Who is going to start him? Who is going to give me $1,500 to start him? The information here says he sires good offspring. Who will give me $1,250 to start? Give me $1,000. Someone is missing the boat. He is registered and only six years old. Give me $800 to get the ball rolling. Wake up boys. Here is one of the best looking Morgan studs I have ever seen…give me a bid.”
The auctioneer went all the way down to $50 and said, “Who is going to start this horse?”
I started him at $25 and bought him at $45. The owner had no reserve on him. I gave a man $1 a mile to haul him 50 miles. That made $95 in him.
I didn’t know what I had until I ran an ad in Farm and Dairy looking for old fashioned Morgan mares.
Sharen Amick from Hillsboro, W.Va., who works with Foundation Morgan horses, contacted me and asked me to send her a copy of my horse’s pedigree.
I did, and she called me as soon as she got the pedigree and said, “If you are looking for a better bred horse that you have, quit looking.”
She said, “You have one of the best there is in the breed. He doesn’t have any horses in his pedigree that don’t go back to the original old Justin Morgan since 1921. He is truly a Foundation Morgan stallion.”
This horse’s name is Gold Cross Buddy. I am very proud to own such a fine Foundation Morgan stallion.
This sounds like an unbelievable story, but the original horse that started the breed, a horse named Figure, was later known, after Justin Morgan’s death, as Justin Morgan. This horse was taken back by Justin Morgan for a debt that was owed him of $18.
Sometimes good things don’t come at a big price.