Cast Iron Tractor Seats Galore!

Internet technology boosts prices of antique seats.

Published on: Apr 4, 2011

Once hung in Carl Villwock's farm museum on his farm, they covered wall after wall. Laid out on tables for auction at the Dinky auction barn near Montgomery, they stretched all the way across a long room and back again. There were seats of all descriptions, all colors, all designs, and a variety of names.

As it turns out, cast-iron tractor seat collectors are a breed all to themselves. One Amish man reportedly hired a driver to bring him all the way from New York just to bid on these pieces of history.

The seats were open for absentee bidding on the Internet on the Aumann Auction, Inc., site for over two weeks. Normally, absentee bidding is brisk. In this case, only a few people left absentee bids for the seats. Was the guy who walked in that morning of the sale right? Are they really going to sell these one at a time, he wondered. Is there really that much interest?

Only about 40 people sat in the bleachers before the auctioneer's stand. Maybe this part of the sale would be a bust after all.

Ah, then the bidding started. Some individual seats bought hundreds of dollars. But many of them weren't carried out by new owners that day. Many were tucked back on a shelf for shipping to people who bought them on the Internet.

Indeed, what the general bystander didn't know was that 69 bidders from all over the country and beyond were registered over the Internet just for the cast iron seat auction. At times, it seemed like a two-person auction- the clerk fielding and calling out Internet bids, and the auctioneer, going one-on-one with each other. Occasionally, someone on the floor would get in on the action.

The Internet phenomenon seems to have exploded this year, with all kinds of cattle and show pigs offered by sale, some in online only Internet sales. This sale was live on the Internet using a tool called Proxibid. High-speed connections makes the sale smooth today, compared to a decade ago when Internet selling first started and some people were still trying to bid on dial-up service. Some 200 lots of cast-iron seats and related items were sold in just about 2.5 hours, leaving plenty of time for the auctioneers to set up and offer the tractors outside at the appointed time, 1 p.m. The tractors were also offered over the Internet.