The auctioneer truck pulled up alongside a row of farm equipment. But this wasn't just any row of farm equipment. It was tractors from the late Carl Villwock's farm museum, his pride and joy. There were tractors going back into the 1920s. Carl owned tractors dating into the teens, but the family elected to keep them and maintain a scaled-down version of their late father's pride and joy.
First to sell was a Samson Model M on steel. Actually, according to the serial number, it was made in 1919. It had a few bumps and bruises, but it was running. The gavel fell and it had a new owner at $5,000.
How the Villwock's handled selling these older tractors is probably good advice for someone contemplating selling older antiques. None of the tractors in the 'very old' category had run in 10 years. While they were sold as is, rather than selling them as is without any more information, the Villwocks hired two older mechanics who specialize in antique tractors to come work on them. Out of 20 tractors, they were able to get all but two running. Most of those were started and allowed to run for inspection before the auctioneer began his work.
Letting someone go through the tractors and put them in running order if possible was the suggestion of the auction firm, Aumann Auctions, Inc., Nokomis, Ill. They even provided possible mechanics who could do the job.
"I think Jason (Misiniec) worked with those two guys every step of the way," Don Villwock jokes. "He's into mechanics and he sure paid attention to them." Misiniec helps manage day-to-day operations on the farm while Don is off on business. He is president of Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc.
Next up was a Wallis Model K. It was complete with crank and tool box top. The auctioneer said that finding a tractor with so much stuff intact was quite a find. Many cranks and anything loose often disappear over the years. He even cautioned buyers to take the crank with them after the tractor was sold – just in case.
One of the mechanics gave a blow by blow description of what the tractor was like. If there was an imperfection, he noted it.
His honesty must have helped. The old Wallis went to a new owner for $9,000.
For more reports from the sale, tune in tomorrow.