|By Eric C. Rodenberg
MUSKEGON, Mich. – Despite conducting an auction on Nov. 3, when five other auctions were being held within a 15-mile radius, Tim Fitzsimmons, the owner/auctioneer of Midwest Liquidators drew a strong bidding crowd of 240 registered bidders for the living estate of Kenneth Herzhaft, the former owner of three factories in the Grand Haven area.
The all-day auction was held in two large pole barns, located behind Herzhaft’s house. Herzhaft, who retired and sold the factories in 2014, kept several work vehicles, transport equipment, several tons tools and assorted stock.
It was a cold day, with temperatures in the 30s; however, Fitzsimmons counts himself lucky in that the auction was sandwiched in between two rainy days. At least, bidders didn’t have to contend with rain and mud, as they bid on the hundreds of lots that crossed the auction block.
“When I first scheduled the auction, we were the only auction in the area,” Fitzsimmons, a 38-year veteran of the auctioneer profession, said. “But we drew a good share of bidders. I would daresay, in light of the five auctions, the estate did what it was supposed to do. Even one of my main competitors who had an auction that day was there. I thought that was hilarious.”
In all, about 400 people attended the auction, he said.
“It turned out really well,” Fitzsimmons said. “The consignor was happy. I was pleased. We met everyone one of our projections. It was a good day.”
The top-seller, as predicted, was a 2016 Ford F-150 XLT Sport 4X4, quad cab, completely loaded pick-up truck, with one owner and only 25,000 miles on the odometer. It sold for $27,000.
“There was quite a bit of spirited bidding for that truck, with 15 bidders on it,” Fitzsimmons said. “The winning bidder drove all the way from Illinois to buy that truck. I talked with him before the auction, and told him I wouldn’t sell the truck before 1 p.m. He came, bought the truck, paid cash and left with the vehicle. He was pleased with the purchase.”
Fitzsimmons credited his advertisement in The Auction Exchange and Collectors News for selling the truck. “That ad really paid off, all around,” he said. “I credit Lorri Egan (Publication Manager of Advertising) with a lot of that. I dumped the photos and copy on her, and just told her to put it together. I told her I didn’t even want to see the proof. I got nothing but positive results out of the ad.”
Also selling well was a 1997 Ford F-350 XL 4x4 dually, stake truck with a 7.3 power stroke diesel engine, 5-speed manual transmission with six new Michelin tires and a two-year-old Boss straight blade plow. With only 37,000 miles on the truck, it sold for $11,000.
Prices quoted are the hammer prices. Midwest Liquidators never charges a buyer’s premium, or any surcharge on credit cards. “We don’t play those games,” Fitzsimmons said. “I don’t believe in it.”
A 2000 Ford F-650Super Duty stake rack dump truck, powered by a 7.2-liter CAT diesel with 17,848 miles, and one owner, sold for $11,100.
Among cargo haulers, a 24-foot United enclosed cargo trailer with custom diamond-plate aluminum floors and walls brought $3,600, while a 1994 Interstate flatbed equipment trailer earned $3,800.
A Case 580L loader backhoe with an Extend-A-Hoe, with a 75-horsepower diesel engine, with only 2,749 hours of operation (two-wheel drive) brought $11,600.
There were several spools of new wire, up to 2,500-foot spools, brought anywhere from $100 to $250; a 13-piece set of S&K socket wrenches brought $200; several Ridgid aluminum pipe wretches brought $70 apiece; a 3-phase 20-inch grinder and sander sold for $250; and stock stands for holding conduit wire sold for $120.
Other tools included Williams and Crescent brands 24-inch adjustable wretches sold for $55 apiece; a lot of C-clamps sold for $130; a Knaack Job Master tool cabinet brought $350; an Ingersoll-Rand impact wretch sold for $85; and two Snap-On torque wrenches, from the 1970s, sold for $25 each.
The only antique in the sale: a Kennedy oak pick-up-and-carry machinist chest, from the early 1900s (the consigner’s first tool box, bought used, according to Fitzsimmons) sold for $175.
Bargains of the day included four Victor fireproof cabinets sold for $10 apiece. Part of the hesitancy among bidders, may have been their weight of 1,400 pounds each. However, Fitzsimmons had a forklift and operator on hand after the sale, helping the new owners load their purchases.
Another deal at the auction was a 3-horsepower Milwaukee panel saw, with stand, that sold for $350.
Throughout the clear, but cold day, Gretchen’s Kitchen provided an appreciable amount of comfort for the crowd. “She has awesome food,” Fitzsimmons said.
“She has a huge trailer, and everything is home-made and fresh. Nearly every in the crowd were eating spiral fries. She must have peeled hundreds of potatoes before the auction. They were really tasty on a cold day.”
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