by Anita Mae Draper
Last Saturday I was beside myself at the Wolseley & District Museum Auction. With a water problem in the basement of their old building, the museum sold the premises and was selling off duplicate, old and damaged, and unwanted items on their last day of ownership. Actually, 3 buildings housed the museum with one being the original Beaver Lumber store, started in 1906, which eventually held a store in most Canadian communities.
|The Wolseley & District Museum and original 1906 Beaver Lumber store|
The day of the auction was bright with enough of a breeze to keep most mosquitoes away. With 30 mins before the start, I scoured the area, taking photos of what I wished to buy, before finding my spot to watch the action.
|Items of note in this image are the dentist's chair in the left foreground, and the mannequins behind the original Beaver Lumber store at Wolseley Museum Auction|
The auction began by selling items from 2 large wagons/trailers. I made my first purchase about 20 minutes into the sale when they placed half a dozen cameras on the block and started the bidding at $25 for choice. I had my eye on a Kodak 2A Folding Autographic Brownie camera like the one my husband's grandfather Noah used to take many of the photos I use on my Author Memories blog. I had checked the half dozen cameras on display and only one was the one I wanted and miraculously, it still held the engraving pen.
So as soon as the auctioneer asked for $25 three times, I shot my hand up. A bunch of people glared at me because everyone knows the opening bid is what the auctioneer thinks he'll get for the item. After 3 or 4 calls, he lowers the bid to $5 and the bidding starts in earnest. But I didn't want to get into a bidding war. I just wanted the camera, so I started at $25. And no one bid against me. Ha! I got my camera, and then when the auctioneer started at $25 again, they all waited then started at $5. Eventually, someone got their choice for $22.50. I am so glad I took the initiative. I'll be doing a post later on about this camera and how it works, but in the meantime, here's the one I bought all folded up:
|Kodak 2A Folding Autographic Brownie Camera|
Three magic lanterns were up for sale, but only one was complete with all accessories and slides. It sold for $150. Excuse the lack of detail in the photo but I used my iphone from about 100 ft away and then cropped the photo.
|A magic lantern complete with accessories and slides sits on the auction block at Wolseley Museum Auction|
Another purchase I made from this wagon was a box of old magazines - one from 1898 and half a dozen from 1936-1937, 2 calendars from 1924-25, and a binder of original photos and signed paper about the Beaver Lumber store. This box became mine when the hammer dropped on the hefty price of $2.50. Yes, I'm a big spender. Ha!
|Box of 1898 and 1936-7 magazines and other stuff|
From the second wagon came this wicker doll carriage which sold for $140.
|Early wicker doll carriage at Wolseley Museum Auction|
As the wagons emptied, we headed over to the items in front of the old Beaver Lumber store. I was interested in the old telephone switchboard although I had no idea where I'd put it in our cramped little house. It sold for $110.
Not far down the row came something I was VERY interested in...an original steamer trunk chock-full of items. The story goes that the steamer trunk arrived in Saskatchewan in the 1880's without its owner. Either that or she kept going and left it behind. Or maybe she died en route. No matter what happened to the owner, the steamer trunk held everything a lady could want on an ocean voyage and overland excursion. The drawers contained unmentionables, jewelry, a toilet set, stockings, etc. And the hangars held clothes. I bid up to $130 on this item and then stopped because really, what would I do with it? I had nowhere to keep it and nowhere to display it. It sold for $150.
|1880's steamer trunk at Wolseley Museum Auction|
After all the front area items were sold, we moved around to the back. First up were a couple of wooden deacon benches. These were surprising to me as the first one sold for $525 (choice) and the 2nd one for $375. In the photo below, the 2nd one is being sold.
|Deacon's Bench for sale at Wolseley Museum Auction|
I had my eye on these postal boxes for most of the day but by the time they came on the block, 2 heavy bidders went at it and I stepped back. The boxes were nice, but I wasn't willing to jump in when I didn't have the combinations and one of the bidders made it plain he'd top any amount. He got them for $55.
|Antique Postal Boxes at Wolseley Museum Auction|
I wasn't planning on buying a loom, but my daughter has always been interested in weaving and the fibre arts, so when this table top loom with stand was going for $5 I bought it, shuttle and all.
|Table top loom with stand, made in Quebec, sold at Wolseley Museum Auction|
Needing a bit of TLC, this 1908 baby carriage is one of the earliest I've seen close up. It went for the price of $150.
|1908 baby carriage at Wolseley Museum Auction|
|1908 baby carriage at Wolseley Museum Auction|
This wooden wheelchair reminded me of the one Peter pushes down the side of the mountain in the movie, Heidi. It went for $115.
Dozens of uniforms, outfits, and mannequins were put on the auction block. Prices for the vintage clothing and uniforms went up to $200 with the most money going for ladies' outfits (1920-1930), WW1 uniforms, and a nurses uniform. Uniforms from WW2 were well represented as was a complete vintage scout uniform and men's wear all around $100 and more. Mannequins averaged $150 each bare. Yep, that's sans clothing.
Display cases were ridiculously cheap and the one I had my eye on went for only $35 but I had no way to get it home and nowhere to put it once it got there. In the same building however, I found this outfit. However, no one wanted it and it was listed as 'No Sale'. Pity because the hair dryer and curling outfit was the most unique item in the sale as far as I was concerned.
|Hair Dryer and Curling outfit at Wolseley Museum Auction|
Here are some prizes realized:
$240 for a human yoke for carrying 2 buckets
$65 each for 2 broad axes
$450 for a small wooden wall phone
$400 for large 6 door ice chest
$160 for hoosier w/glass cupboard intact
Old books were sold at 5 boxes for a buck. I really wanted a couple books in that lot but couldn't imagine what I'd do with the ones I wouldn't want. Also, many had been stored in the basement and had a musty smell and mildewy look. Old wooden chairs were cheap as nails, but I restrained myself. And I turned a blind eye to dishes, knick knacks, sewing machines, wash boards, and other household goods.
I'm saving some of my purchases for another post, namely photos of Queen Elizabeth (young and old) I bought for $2.50, a box of cookbooks I bought for $15 which includes recipes from the late 19th to the early 20th century, and a sorry looking side saddle and horse collar I bought for $25. Oh, and I did buy 1 box of books because it had one I really wanted - the 1912 Prominent Canadian Men and Women. Along with that box came an antique folding hangar (neat) and a handmade doll cradle (different).
Auction services for the Wolseley Museum Auction were provided by www.2sauctioneers.ca.
When was the last time you were at an auction? Where and what type? What did you buy?
Anita Mae Draper is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan, Canada with her hubby of 30 plus years and their youngest of 4 kids. She writes cowboy stories set in the West and Edwardian stories set in the East. Anita Mae's publishing debut is the short story, Riding on a Christmas Wish published in A Cup of Christmas Cheer Vol 1: Tales of Faith and Family, Guideposts Books, Oct 2013. Anita Mae Draper is honored to announce that her short story, Here We Go A-wassailing will be published by Guideposts Books in their 2014 Christmas collection of short stories tentatively entitled Christmas Cheer II. Anita Mae is represented by Mary Keeley of Books & Such Literary Agency. She can be found at www.anitamaedraper.com