Estate Auction Yields Rich Harvest

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P.O. Box 384 Berea, Kentucky 40403

On July 10 and 11, 1998, the Beyer Auction Company of Hart, Michigan, held an auction for the estate of Myrle Gronso near Hesperia, Michigan. I had met Mr. Gronso at the Fremont, Michigan, tractor show a few years ago, and looked forward to speaking with him at shows in western Michigan. He was very sharp on old machinery and particularly on Model T Fords. He had amassed an overwhelming amount of goodies and almost all of it was very interesting stuff.

The first day of the auction saw a myriad of small items sold. Many shop items and huge amounts of Ford T parts were up for grabs. Lots of oilier, belt pulleys and engine related items were also sold. A Novo script tool box went for $100. A highlight on Friday was the sale of a rectangular Texaco oil can for $240. Prices ran the gamut and some bargains were had but a lot of the stuff seemed pricey. Most in attendance were amazed at the huge amount of stuff that was on the auction block and the sale went on until sunset.

The sale resumed at 10:00 a.m. Saturday with a two ring auction to sell off most remaining small items and parts. The big show kicked off at noon with antique cars. Spirits and prices were high, as enthusiastic bidding drove prices up. Many old timers stood in disbelief (and with hands firmly in pockets) as a 26 Ford TT truck in fair shape sold for $8,750. Some of the bidders were left scratching their heads as estate family bidding ran the sale price of a nice 29 Model A panel van up to $16,000.

Once the cars were sold, the real fun began with the sale of tractors and machinery. Prices were sporadic. A decent JD D on rubber went for $4,800, and a wooden Keystone thresher, 'The Champion No. 1,' brought a whopping $3,600. One Model T tractor conversion with an EZ Power pulley on front sold for the princely sum of $5,000, while a Cultor Model T tractor conversion only fetched $400. Go figure.

Some other tractor prices were as follows: AC G $2,000; MM 445 $1,850; Model T Doodlebug $600; IHC Cub $1,950; AC G $1,550; David Bradley garden tractors $95 to $200; David Bradley rider $400; Farmall Regular, stuck $450; Farmall F-20, parts tractor $90; Farmall F-14 $800; Farmall F'14, rough $350.

When the tractors were gone a smaller band of dedicated enthusiasts formed a solid ring around the auctioneer and his stable of engines. My personal price caps were rapidly exceeded as the bidding was intense. I expected a rarity like 'The Holland' (4 HP vertical SN V801) locally made in Holland, Michigan, and on a nice cart to go high. It sold for $1,200. I was amazed when a nicely restored 6 HP FM Z on a cart sold for $1,050. Conversely, I was surprised when an air cooled Buda (ever seen one?) only brought $30.

Other engines sold as follows: IHC Titan (?) $700; Witte 2 HP SN 56048 $320; IHC M 3 HP SN B8697M stuck $340; Little Jumbo 1 HP SN 10393 $275; LeRoi 2-Cylinder Model SRP3 SN 119212 $125; Kermath marine, small with transmission SN EFEF650341 $325; Edwards 2-Cylinder SN 20288 $300; Economy 1 HP SN 29951 $400; IHC M 1 HP SN 38538 $725; IHC M 1 HP SN W82359 $500; Novo 3 HP SN 5090 $1,450; IHC LB 1 - 2 HP SN LBA82008 $300; IHC LA 1 -2 HP with blower $350; IHC LA 3-5 HP $460; Brownwall air cooled $1,125; FM Z 1 HP $350; Maytag Twin $180; Maytag Model 92 $180; Novo Rollr 1 Cylinder with pump $200; Stover Duro Vertical air cooled $ 1,000; FM Z Style D on homemade tractor $270.

When the dust settled I had a few parts and a couple of old outboard motors in the car. I ponies up 15 bucks a piece for a mid-30s Elgin and an old Evinrude twin. Those who snickered when I spent my money should know that these engines both run! To whomever scarred up the Elto Super Twin while I was looking the other way, I'll up your bid $5.

Mr. Gronso was a shrewd trader and I am sure he had a smile on his face as he watched these proceedings from on high. I really enjoyed the event and had a good time talking to everyone. It was an auction to be remembered by all who attended.