Miller-Yoder Auction: Selling over 40 years of historic farm equipment

NEW BEDFORD, Ohio – Bumper-to-bumper rows of cars and trucks lined the sides of state Routes 643 and 651 in New Bedford, Ohio, June 7.

In addition to Ohio and Pennsylvania, their license plates read: Nebraska, North Carolina, Georgia and Illinois.

Groups of buggies were tied to hitching posts in town and lines of Amish families walked down state Route 643.

New Bedford, which consists of a four-way stop intersection and some Amish homes and businesses, has never had so many visitors.

All of them came for one reason: J.D. Miller’s and Ed Yoder’s antique auction.

Miller and Yoder, two avid antique equipment collectors, were selling many items from their 40-year-old collection of antique farm equipment.

The duo have been friends for over six years and travel to many steam engine shows together, said Yoder, a self-employed small-scale steam locomotive builder from Dayton, Ohio.

They sold steam traction engines, gas tractors, antique farm equipment, railroad collectibles and even an edition of Successful Farming magazine from October 1928.

Where it came from. Although most buyers didn’t know it, each item carried a history.

There was an cotton gin engine, which was used in the Old South during the Civil War, that Yoder’s uncle pulled out of a cotton gin in Chester, S.C.

A 10-inch brass bell sat on top of a train that rumbled down the tracks from Woodsfield, Ohio, to Zanesville to Cincinnati in the early 1900s. Miller bought the bell from friends in Moundsville, W. Va.

A Cleveland-made 1920 Cletrac Crawler tractor, which drew calls from interested buyers from California to Canada, sold for $8,750.

Auction day. Buyers started showing up before the sale began at 10 a.m.

They came from 16 states and Canada. Some traveled to the auction from Florida, Tennessee and Connecticut. Auctioneer Dave Kaufman even received phone-in and online bids from California.

There were 538 buyers who registered at the front table, then walked through the half-dozen tents, looking at nearly 1,300 lots.

For sale. Kaufman Reality, from Sugarcreek, Ohio, ran two, sometimes three, auction blocks throughout the day.

A restored and freshly-painted 1906 12 horsepower Huber traction engine raked in $13,500.

Despite needing a new crown sheet and a few other repairs, a 1916 12 horsepower Frick traction engine brought $10,000.

Two Silver King tractors totaled $5,650. The 1937 Silver King, which wasn’t running and needed new tires, sold for $3,000. Ironically, the other one, a Model 380, which ran perfectly with new tires, sold for $2,650.

A restored 57-inch high, cast iron Case eagle on a globe, which is an enlarged replica of the hood ornament that rested on Case tractors, sold for $7,500. Miller bought it from a friend in Manitoba.

Eighty-five steam engine whistles hit the auction block and sold from $150 to $2,500 a piece.

Collection additions. Most of the buyers came to either add to their collection or just to see how much the items sold for.

Rick Saam, a commercial real estate agent, traveled from Bowling Green, Ohio, in hopes of adding to his collection. He owns a 1915 Frick steam traction engine.

“There’s a Frick water wagon I’d like to purchase,” Saam said. “It would match my engine.”

If Saam bought the wagon, he paid $350 for it, which is what it sold for.

Dave Goodheart drove his minivan from Chicago with an interest in anything that has to deal with the railroad.

“This morning I bought some railroad books and I am hanging around for the bells and whistles to go on sale,” he said.

Goodheart makes his living traveling the world – 25 countries – videotaping steam locomotives.

He shoots, edits and sells the videos to hobby shops and advertises in steam engine collectors’ magazines.

Ed Frey, a hay and corn farmer from Glenmont, Ohio, and his wife Sharon, came to the auction with Van Gasper, who has 85 steam whistles at his home in Monroe, Mich.

Gasper said he is definitely going to have some new additions for his collection when he arrives home in Michigan.

“I plan on taking a couple (steam whistles) home today,” he said.

When the sale ended in the late afternoon, total sales added up to about $186,000, said auctioneer Dave Kaufman.

(Farm and Dairy columnist Sam Moore contributed some of the sale prices to this article.)

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