Thursday, November 10, 2011

A gift to the farm

This past week the town of Glenview was surrounded by the excitement of Leroy Hartung's estate auction. Even within Lee's hometown most people did not know the man. His collection however was world famous in automotive circles. Lee was a scrap-man who started keeping odds and end that he came across in the late 1940's. Someone would call him and ask if he would please take some old car or other vehicle. These calls would at times yield gold like when he was given a 1912 Harley-Davidson single cylinder motorcycle. Other times he just got junk like when we gave him the Wagner's 1954 Chrysler Windsor car. This was the only time I ever met Lee and I remember thinking he was going to hurt himself as he laid under the jacks holding up the car and pounding on the brake drums to try to get them to free up. He finally got the wheels to turn and drug the old rusty car back to his shop. We later learned that Lee even considered the Wagner car too far gone to keep and it was sold as scrap metal.
Lee died this past May and the fate of the collections was in doubt. During the late summer huge white tents went up on the property and we all learned that the entire collection would be auctioned off. It took the auction company almost three months to sort through and catalogue all the items in Lee's shed. By the time they were done they had over 80 cars, 26 motorcycles and more than 2,000 lots to be auctioned.
Thanks to the generosity of one of our friends, Ron Bernardi, one of those items will be calling Wagner Farm home, a 1909 Dunbar steam powered popcorn wagon. While it does not have the original carriage it is one of the most complete examples of this model in existence. It is our plan to do a frame up restoration on the wagon and use it to sell popcorn and peanuts at our events and maybe even sometimes at the farmers market. Who knows,we might even start growing our own popcorn!

If you would like to see the items that were sold and what they brought check out Auctions America website According to the local newspaper the auction brought in over 4 million dollars!