Each weekend, Bill wakes early and heads to estate sales in the heart of the Wisconsin farmland in search of antique tools and toys. After a career selling electronic switches in Milwaukee, Bill retired to a farm near Adell, Wisconsin and started raising sheep. Tired of the long hours associated with raising fifty sheep a year, he looked elsewhere for entertainment.
Acting on a life-long interest in tools and attempting to clear out his garage for his next project, Bill started selling off some tools on Ebay. Enjoying the craft of researching the history and application of antique tools, Bill started buying tools at garage sales and auctions. Since September of 2002, he has sold over 1800 antiques on Ebay.
Driving an hour north as the sun rose, Bill explained, "Your Grandmother comes sometimes just to people watch. There will be a few hundred people filtering through today. People come to bid on farm equipment, silverware, guns and others for tools," he grinned.
"What's the auction today?"
"The description says estate auction: farm equipment, guns, cheese-making and a pick up. You can't go into an auction wanting something specific. You won't find it," Bill explained.
Grinning ear to ear, I nodded.
Arriving early, we registered with the auction service and went out searching through piles of farm equipment. Surgically, Bill sifted through the various piles and boxes making frequent introductions to other such addicts.
"He is in it for the oil cans." Bill motioned.
"Yeah, oil cans. He collects vintage oil cans to go along with his cars," Bill explained as he turned over a box full of Stanley planes.
With a smile, the ring leader nudged the opened case with his foot, "Want one? these things (auctions) usually last a while."
"Whatcha got there?
"What'd ya pay?"
Looking back from the drivers seat, Bill smiled. "We did good today. That was one of the best auctions I have been to in a while. Now we just need to figure out what the hell we bought."
With no point of reference, but ecstatic from my day spent haggling and searching for gems, I nodded in approval.
Here are some more links,