Sunday, June 7, 2015

A day at the auction

One thing I’ve learned since owning a tractor is that everything tractor related is hellish expensive. Actually it’s a bit like owning a Harley come to think of it.

At any rate I need want to get a scraper blade to keep our roadway graded and in decent condition. I could buy new but both cars need new tires, and there are a couple of bike related things I want to get, and … well you get the picture.

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So I’ve been watching the local auctions, and when the local M&R Feeds hosted its annual consignment auction of farm equipment this past weekend, I had to pay a visit hoping to find a deal.





The selection of goods for sale wasn’t quite as varied, nor as unique, as last year (link) but there was a 7’ blade being offered up. Not as heavy duty as I was looking for, it had also seen some serious wear and tear, including at least one spot that had been welded back together. (Even the fresh coat of paint couldn’t hide that.) Not perfect by any means but if I could get it for the price I thought it was worth it just might do. After all it’s not like I’m contracting road work to the county; it’s just to grade my driveway a couple of times a year.







While waiting for that lot to come up I wandered the rest of the auction looking for anything else of interest. I found quite a bit, but collecting old tractors is a new hobby that I just don’t need.  And while some of the old, horse-drawn implements would have made great garden ornaments, I couldn’t compete with one guy who was paying top dollar for anything old and rusty, all to be shipped (apparently) to a museum down around Salt Lake City.

People watching is always interesting at these events. Being close to the city we get city folk coming out to see what’s going on. You can usually tell them by the fact they’re wearing sandals, shorts, and tee-shirts with Def Leppard World Tour emblazoned on the back,  and are carrying a Nalgene water bottle. The local farmers on the other hand are the ones wearing steel-toed boots, an open shirt or vest over a plain white or grey tee-shirt, are 2 months past due for a haircut, 3 days past their last shave, and probably have an extra large coffee dwarfed in a hand that’s the size of a catcher’s mitt. The museum buyer was somewhere in the middle.



I did briefly consider an old road grader (forgot to take a picture, but it looked like this one) instead of buying a scraper blade, but figured the spousal unit might consider that a bit of overkill. So even though it would be a neat machine to own I didn’t stick around to see how much it went for, which is probably just as well because if it went cheap I’d just be upset.

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Anyone who has been to an auction will attest that it’s hard not to get caught up in the atmosphere, and I’m no different. I found myself bidding on a few items that would have been neat to own if I could get them for a song, but either the museum guy or one of the Def Leppard tee-shirt sporting city types quickly bid the prices up far beyond what they were worth to me, and in at least one case more than the same item could be purchased in one of the many local antique shops.  Oh well...

Finally, after hanging around for a couple of hours, it was time for the lot containing the scraper blade I had my eyes on. The auctioneer started at $500. No takers. $400. No takers. $300. $200. $100. Still no takers. This is encouraging I thought, and so I bid $50. My soon-to-become nemesis (turns out there were only 2 of us interested) went to $75. $100. $125. $150. Back and forth it went in $25 increments until I bid $350 and he countered with $375. Back to me: $400? I thought the blade was worth about $350, and certainly no more than $400. If I bid $400 would he have gone to $425? Maybe, but we’ll never know because I pulled out. That was the end of my day at the auction.

Though I came home empty handed it was still a fun day and I’ll be back again next year. Even if I don’t have something specific in mind I know I’ll find something of interest, and maybe even win a bidding war or two as I’m batting .000 so far and am due for a turnaround.

11 comments:

  1. Nothing like keeping us in suspense til the bitter end. Too bad about the scraper. I had some horse drawn type farm implements left on my property when I bought it (along with several old trucks, one complete with a tree growing up through the bed; how do you know you're a red neck?) The rake was pilfered a few years back. I couldn't believe it. Maybe it was the museum guy ;o)

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    1. Would love to see some photos of those old trucks if they're still there.

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  2. I feel your pain, I picked up a new John Deere last fall and want to get more implements for it but $$ and room to store more stuff is keeping me from buying more.
    The freshly painted Farmall A looks nice. I think you're right, the A-C Road Patrol grader would be overkill.... but fun.

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    1. Yeah, I think the grader would have been a blast!

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  3. I feel your pain, I picked up a new John Deere last fall and want to get more implements for it but $$ and room to store more stuff is keeping me from buying more.
    The freshly painted Farmall A looks nice. I think you're right, the A-C Road Patrol grader would be overkill.... but fun.

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  4. Interesting day even though you didn't buy anything.

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    1. It was a pretty good day on balance. Had some fun, didn't spend any money....

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  5. Bummer you didn't get the blade, but it sounds like you had an enjoyable day in the sunshine.

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    1. I love going to these farm auctions. Always something interesting going on.

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  6. You must have a long driveway? Have you been shovelling up to now?

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    1. LOL. No shoveling. It's about 1/2 a kilometre long and I'd been paying someone else to keep it clear. Not only was it costing me money but I was near the end of his 'route' so among the last to get snow cleared. This is much better.

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