CLINTON -- A local engine, tractor and automobile collector's estate auction in early August will allow more than 200 stationary gas engines, antique tractors and parts and several collectible cars and motorcycles to fall into the hands of eager treasure seekers.
The collection of the late Bob Smith will be up for bid during a two-day auction Aug. 3 and Aug. 4 at the Great River Threshing Grounds in Miles. The collection includes memorabilia from John Deere, International Harvester, McCormick, Ford, Chevrolet and Buick.
An auction flier for the Smith estate sale lists about 200 stationary gas engines and dozens of other collector tractor pieces as well as dozens of cars and motorcycles to be sold by VanDerBrink Auctions. Smith, who passed away in October 2018, is survived by his wife Jean who is preparing to see her husband's belongings purchased by other collectors who will continue to care for them.
"This is about getting these things back in the hands of people who truly love them, and will be able to enjoy and care for them in the future," Jean said. "It was Bob's hobby and he really enjoyed everything he was able to get. So I want them to be with someone who will love them as much as he did."
Smith's "ultimate goal," according to Jean, was to use his collection to educate young people about the inner workings of the dated machines and keep the past alive.
"Another one of Bob's favorite things was to try to get young people interested," Jean said. "He wanted to keep the threshing shows going, and everything like that. I think he succeeded in that goal for the most part.
"He always wanted to get more and more people, but there were a lot of people who he was able to get interested," Jean said.
Smith was able to "develop a trust" with the young people he worked with, which was crucial, Jean said, given dangerous nature of the work. Jean never worried about Bob himself, she said, because she knew how masterful he was at the craft. "He always kept such a close eye on everything, every time."
Though Jean does have a soft spot in her heart for a few of the estate's items, particularly a classic 1958 pink Buick that she and Bob cruised around in quite often, Jean is treating the sale as an "everything must go" auction. At 75 years of age, Jean acknowledged that she is not capable of giving each piece the attention it deserves -- the attention that Bob was able to give.
As the auction nears, with online bidding also available, Jean has no expectations regarding how many items will be sold or what the final monetary total could be. "An auction is an auction," she said with a laugh. Auctions are "crapshoots."
Jean has already heard interest from some in the area regarding several items -- a good sign that the two-day event will be a success.
"When it comes right down to it, the chips will fall where they may," Jean said. "I hope that someone gets these things and has a lot of fun with them, and appreciates them the way they deserve to be appreciated."
The auction will begin at 9 a.m. Aug. 3 and Aug. 4 at the Threshing Grounds, 41 Centennial St. in Miles. Interested bidders are encouraged to view the sale's complete catalog for photos and more information at www.vanderbrinkauctions.com.