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Selling memories at Michael auction
News Article  
Selling memories at Michael auction
By Starr Miller

NORTH ADAMS, Mich. — By their very nature, auctions are the means in which someone’s lifelong accumulation of items – from collectible to everyday, functional pieces – are assembled together and offered up to new owners. Auctions can be bittersweet walks down memory lane, as was the case at a recent Michael Auction and Realty sale on Sept. 16.

Michael Auction owner Sid Michael said the sale was the final of eight auctions that he hosted for the Davis and Comstock estates: both families that have personal connections to Michael’s own family.

“Mrs. Davis was the resident North Adams historian who lived to be 99 years young,” Michael said. “Del Comestock was probably the biggest collector of all things – he especially enjoyed collecting tools, and had a running contest with a good friend on who could boast the most crowded garage with things…I can say with complete confidence that Del definitely won that deal.”

Mary Davis’s father, M.L. Davis, was partners with Sid’s father Charles for nearly 20 years, the duo is remembered by many as handling auctions in the Mid Michigan area.

Michael Auction Realty Service LLC has been operating in the mid Michigan area for more than 79 years. It was founded in 1938 by Charles Michael. Sid took over the company in 1971; since that time, he has expanded the company to include auctions, real estate, and personal property appraisals.

This auction was held on the Comestock homestead in North Adams, and collectors proved to be an eager crowd that stayed right to the end to get a chance to bid on the unusual array of collectibles. This auction saw approximately 400 pieces sold; in total, all eight sales have boasted more than 3,000 articles over the course of a decade.

Sid started this auction to the crowd of nearly 150 bidders with a small string of sleigh bells for $40, and it got more interesting with each item presented across the auction block.

Furniture sold well; an oak secretary bookcase realized $350, an oak dresser with an ornate round mirror saw $150. A marble-top commode with a matching dresser, complete with a mirror sold for $340 and a marble-top dresser with a mirror and hankie boxes realized $180.

In the category of unique items was a Betty Boop mechanical trapeze wind up toy. Sid said this piece was found the morning of the auction and sold for $35.

Other top lots that crossed the block included five pieces of Vaseline hobnail glass for $120, a Skookum Tobacco tin that saw $110, and a wood wall telephone and L M Mead & Co. crock both realized $90.

A Woodruff & Edwards counter-top coffee grinder sold for $195 and a 16 inch RCA Victor picture realized $160.

“This event was definitely a little bittersweet,” Sid said of the auction. “But, that’s the business we are in – and it truly is an honor to see these pieces to their new homes. We were joking that it’s likely that probably half of this stuff…well, either my dad sold it to Dell – or I sold it to him.”