An Appointment of Trust
An Appointment of Trust
One of the biggest honors that I have gotten in my auction career is to have been appointed to handle an estate in a will. Yep that’s right, that customer that said I’ll call you later and the call came much later. A call from the grave. I’ve spent many hours visiting and looking at collections of cars, tractors, and motorcycles with a lot of older gentleman around the United States. It’s their pride and joy and love telling all the stories of their treasure hunts. I have to admit, I love hearing all those stories and do remember almost every one of them. I remember going to Stillwater, MN and Mr. Seefert had called me to “come and look” at his collection about an auction. I drove up and walked into the house and he was on oxygen surrounded by his family. He told the kids to take me on “the tour”. Building by building, we squeezed between the cars and peered under the blankets and car covers. Many years of treasure hunting and collecting. A 1961 Mercedes Benz Roadster, 1947 Hudson Pickup, and many more. We got back to the house and Ken was waiting. We talked about an auction and even got as far as talking terms. Then a spark of life came back to his and he didn’t seem so winded. “Well, I’ll think about it and call you later.” Well, that call didn’t come till later, much later. It was obvious, that they were going to have to pry his collection from his cold, dead hands. It seems that there is something to be said to the ole’ saying, “He who dies with the most toys wins. “Well it seemed Ken won. Ken passed away last Fall and his kids called me, the call finally came. The ole’ boy had put me in his will to sell his collection. This isn’t the 1st time, that I was named to sell a collection, but this one meant a lot. It was the call that came much later, as Ken said. So now, we are moving his vehicles around, pulling out the tractors, and going through the piles of collectibles. Many years of treasures now going to go to auction. I can always tell what meant the most to these gentlemen. They kept their most valuables close to them. By close, I mean some of them had them between the mattress and in the bathroom. It never fails, every collection is the same. The most treasured are in us near the house.
In 2005, We were working with an estate in Ohio. I was using the bathroom and looking for toilet paper in the cupboards and found vintage Ford speed parts in the cupboards. Rare flathead parts, but no toilet paper. Quite often, I find parts on the dresser next to treasured pictures. I even had one seller, Mr. Toppy Clark from Missouri, had himself buried with my auction hat that I gave him. He was alive when we did his sale in 2008, and he was so happy, that he wanted to be buried with his hat on. That brought me to tears. I’ve worked with some wives that well, were not so much happy with all the mess that their husband had left them. But as we were going through the cars and buildings, I learned more about their spouse and was able to tell them the stories that I found and let them know how much it meant a lot to them and things I was finding. Most of the time, they are pleasantly surprised as to what their husband was doing in that garage and learning it wasn’t all junk. The check from the auction is a surprising reward.
When I get those calls, I know that it’s up to me to “tell the story” and organize the collection and finish that last leg of work, building the legacy. And well, remind my wife it’s not junk, I can hear echoing from the grave. I can tell you also, that I’ve had some weird things happen and It can only be that they are trying to point out something that I missed. I was working with the Reitz MOPAR auction in South Dakota and I couldn’t get this hood open on this Duster. I went and sat behind the wheel, and said out loud, “Alan, I can’t get your dang hood open! Little help!” It wasn’t more than 30 seconds, that I heard the hood latch go and the hood opened. NO kidding! Then I went and looked and it was a 6 cylinder! All I could say and I did out loud, “Good one Alan! Why no V8?”. That same sale, I was working in the house with his MOPAR parts. I was looking for a 3rd carb for a 6-pack set up, and then poof there it was. It was like he was helping me “tell the story”.
I’m very thankful, for the privilege and honored that these guys thought that much of an ole’ gal to handle their car and parts collection. All I can say is thank you, and I’ll do my best to “tell your story” Maybe give me a call sooner, but I’m OK with if the call comes much later.
Yvette VanDerBrink- Auctioneer
The Lil’ Nordstrom’s Gal