Charles City history up for bid at Cedar Valley Auction this weekend
By Kelly Terpstra, email@example.com
Charles City has a rich agricultural history.
Collectibles, memorabilia and a vast array of all things related to the farming industry will be available to the highest bidder on Saturday at the Cedar Valley Auction Co. in Charles City.
“Charles City is the home of the tractor,” said Jerry Hegtvedt, owner of Cedar Valley Auction.
The first successful American tractor using a two-cylinder gasoline engine was built by Charles W. Hart and Charles H. Parr right here in Charles City. The Hart-Parr Gasoline Co. founded on June 12, 1901, later became Oliver, which then transitioned into White Farm Equipment in 1960.
White maintained business in Charles City until the last tractor came off the assembly line on July 29, 1993.
The items up for bid Saturday will allow collectors a chance to relive those years when American ingenuity and manpower creating a booming tractor industry that helped feed the nation.
“I think we all like to reminisce,” said Hegtvedt. “That’s why anybody becomes a collector in the first place, is the opportunity to appreciate and remember how things were.”
Vintage dealer signs, pedal tractors, literature, artwork, toys and agriculture-related equipment will be on the block when the auction gets underway at 9 a.m.
“The people that are interested in this stuff are going to get a chance to see things that they haven’t easily been able to obtain,” said Clifford Kelly.
Kelly, a collector himself who will have many of his pieces up for bid this weekend, was hired at White Farm Equipment when he was 20 years old and worked for the farm equipment manufacturer for a decade.
“There is a massive amount of people in this whole area that worked there,” said Kelly.
Hegtvedt said the premier piece for the auction is an Oliver vintage dealer sign from the early 1930s. Hegtvedt said the reflective sign should fetch a decent amount of money and could even get up into the five-figure range depending on who bids on the antique. The sign is composed of cobalt glass, or “smalt,” and glows in the dark when headlights shine on it.
The bidding wars can create an exciting atmosphere of entertainment, Hegtvedt said.
Bidders will come from as far away as Pennsylvania, Indiana and Ohio. Out-of-state collectors vying for a coveted piece of history will also flock to Charles City from Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
“The sellers are all probably going to be buyers also,” said Kelly.
Kelly’s wife, Judy, said the multi-consigner auction is more than just tangible items that one can put their hands on.
“It’s a building full of memories today because these tractor businesses aren’t in business,” Judy said.
There will be a live online auction and webcast that will begin at 11 a.m. Hegtvedt said close to 250 items can be bid for online. A total of 600-700 pieces will be auctioned off before the day is over.
Hegtvedt holds an auction about twice a month. Cedar Valley Auction held an auction this past June where real, actual farm equipment and tractors were up for bid. A sports and recreation auction where guns, hunting and fishing equipment, as well as snowmobiles and motorcycles, will be up for bid the first weekend in October.
This weekend’s auction holds a special place in Hegtvedt’s heart.
“This is a personal favorite of mine because it ties into the community and we grew up here, too,” said Hegtvedt. “We feel very blessed to have the opportunity to auction off these items and pass on to the next generation.”