It was a blustery March day outside but warm and bustling inside Dinky's Auction Center near Montgomery when the estate of the late Carl Villwock went up for bids recently. He had spent his later years collecting as many memories of farm life from the early days through the 1970's as he could find. In the end, it took 10 wagons just to hold extra items not deemed good enough for cataloguing and sale on the Internet. There were another 400 items plus more than 20 tractors that were offered live to the world.
And the world responded. Some items were sold by Internet, and Internet buyers were active in helping set the price on many other items.
What was there? You name it, and if it was at all related to rural life in the 1920's onward, it was likely there. You could have bough husking pegs that fit on your hand for shucking corn by the dozen.
"I kept one of each type for the one-barn museum we're keeping," says his son, Don Villwock. The estate was offered by Don and his two sisters. "But you only need so many old shucking pegs. There were lots of other items like that too."
From old radio sets to antique dental drills, it was all there. One of the more popular items were farm signs from days gone by. A metal McCormick Deering Farm Machines sign with the name of a dealer from Nebraska fetched $360. The sign was only 10 inches deep by 27.5 inches long, and had rust stains.
Or maybe you thought you would pick up the 'Case Quality Machines for Profitable Farming' that was like hundreds of other signs that hung at Case dealerships during the day. The 3 ft by 6 ft sign was described as having rust stains throughout, with the rough surface flaking off already. Mounted in a wooden frame, the staining and rusting didn't seem to bother anyone. You would have had to bid more than $800 to buy it!
Catching my eye was a paper, mind you—paper, print of what looked to be a Massey –Harris Field Day with all kinds of red equipment on the display grounds. Who knows, maybe it was based on the old Massey-Harris test farm in Shelby County. At any rate it was 26 inches by 44.5 inches, in a metal frame with a glass front. There was even mouse damage in the upper corner.
Being a Massey nut, I was ready to pay $150 for it. I saw Don Villwock at lunch, and he laughed that he was going to bid $75 and give it to a Massey-loving friend he knew if he got it. Other people liked it too- it sold for $400!
Not everything sold that high. Some sold for more!
If people can't experience the 'good old days,' they certainly seem willing to pay for a memory from that time.