|By Eric C. Rodenberg
FREELAND, Mich. – Friday the 13th was anything but unlucky when Michigan Auctioneers Hall of Fame brothers, Leroy and Willis Yoder sold nearly 1,000 lots from the estate of Dorothy Erskine. They ran two rings for most of the auction.
Dorothy, the wife of late auctioneer James Erskine, was a frequent bidder at auctions throughout the area near the web of Michigan’s thumb. The 88-year-old Dorothy, who loved mushroom hunting and collecting antiques, died earlier this year leaving a trove of antiques scattered throughout her country home and outbuildings about a mile west of Freeland.
Anticipating rain, the Yoder brothers had two tents erected on site, and areas inside the barns and outbuildings to effectively display antiques and keep most of the 183 registered bidders dry. Moving at a brisk pace, the auction began at 9:30 a.m., the successful bidders were loading up their new wares and heading for home by 2:45 p.m.
Despite the inclement weather, both bidders and representatives of the estate were more than pleased.
“It was a fun auction,” Leroy Yoder said. “Everyone seemed to be having a good time and got to go home with a variety of unique items from the past.”
Leroy Yoder sold five wagons of barn fixtures, primitive furniture and accessories, crocks, graniteware, tools, a tractor and farm tools in one ring, while brother Willis sold more unusual antiques under two tents, in addition to furniture set up in the barn. Andy Hostetler, an auctioneer from Clare, home of Yoder Brothers Auction Service also worked in relief of the two brothers.
Among the wide array of antiques, from a hand-crank wringer washing machine with tubs ($260) to a moonshine tub ($90), the highlight of the sale was a Ford 3000 tractor from the 1960s that sold for $3,500.
All prices quoted are hammer prices. There was no buyer’s premium.
This was one auction in which crock collectors were not disappointed with the offerings. A 4-gallon bumble bee crock sold for $225; a No. 4 design crock brought $240; a New England malt and hop crock saw $200; and a Western Stoneware No. 5 crock sold for $100.
A horse-drawn sleigh brought $400, a barrister three-tier bookshelf, $400; an Ever Cold icebox, $300; and a hand-crank cider press sold for $225. Leading out the primitive selections was a pie cupboard with milk paint, which sold for $425.
An antique rocking horse saw a high bid of $310; an old Grand Rapids Brewing keg brought $160; and a set of five Standard oil jars, with their spouts, brought $60 each. A colorful set of two stained glass pieces sold for $120 each; an old meat cleaver brought $120; and a DeLaval Junior No. 4 cream separator also brought $160.
Yoder Brothers Auction Service is a family business located in Clare, with Leroy managing the business with the help of several of his children. Willis Yoder, who lives in Shipshewana, Ind., and sells each Wednesday at the Shipshewana Antique Auction also helps his brother with the larger auctions in Michigan.
The brothers graduated from Reppert Auction School in 1993 and have been calling bids ever since. Willis was inducted into the Michigan Auctioneers Hall of Fame in 2017, while brother Leroy was inducted in 2018.
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