On Saturday, several of us had the best kind of day people can have. Against a background of near perfect weather and a crowd of enthusiastic buyers, we had an auction that left people talking about going home to take stock of their coins, tools, cast iron toys, spurs, and military items.
We sold the balance of the estate of our friend, LeRoy Mosiman. Marshall Auction Service has had hundreds of auctions since The Mister and I started the business in 1980. Quite a few are memorable for one reason or another. But only a select few rank up there with the quantity of unusual merchandise we sold Saturday.
I am not sure that anything sold “just okay.” I usually think I am a bit jaded about auctions and what the public is willing to pay for certain items. You know, sometimes they do well, sometimes not so great. However, this one was nothing short of amazing.
And it was fun — almost nine hours non-stop; tiring, but never boring. My part was done before Saturday. I am the chief sorter-of-the-stuff; so come sale day I float around and spell the other workers, sit in the shade, and visit with the bidders. At this sale, I got to hear tales from the dozens of people who came because they knew LeRoy from other auctions, from the sale barns of central Kansas, or from the coffee shops and restaurants in the area. Everyone had a story.
People could remember when he bought a certain set of spurs or a cavalry item he prized. There were buyers who stood next to him when he bought the cast iron road grader or the Keen Kutter hatchet. There was a lot of talk about his profit margin. When the little baggy of bullet pens brought $290, I thought some of his coffee shop buddies might break out in applause!
Many people remembered LeRoy’s curmudgeon side, his argumentative nature, or his sharp comments, but they also had stories about a kind deed or a helpful act. One man who stopped by to preview things on Friday told about his in-law’s auction and a certain item he hoped to bid on. When the item sold to LeRoy he was elsewhere taking care of some minor skirmish.
Later he saw LeRoy leaving the sale carrying the item and the man stopped to ask him if he would sell it. At first LeRoy said no, but after visiting with the man for a bit about what the item meant to the family, he simply gave it to him. He told the man to enjoy it and to pass the favor on to someone else in the future.
It was a great day! There were about 200 bidders present and most of them seemed to have the same fever LeRoy did for one group of collectibles or another. It was bittersweet to see the wagons slowly empty, but I am pretty sure his treasures found good homes.
Add that to the stories we shared and as I said, Saturday was the best kind of day a person can have.
— Susan Marshall