ON THE ROAD

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Rare prairie tractors, including the Aultman & Taylor

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'DREAM' COLLECTION SET TO CO ON THE BLOCK

The George Schaaf collection of rare vintage tractors and commercial trucks, which was featured in the July 2000 issue of Farm Collector, goes on the auction block at 10 a.m., Sept. 20-21, at the Schaaf Truck and Tractor Museum, Frankfort, III. Petroleum collectibles, including globes, signs and pumps, sell Sept. 20, and more than 60 antique tractors and other vehicles sell Sept. 21; the auction will be broadcast live on the Internet.

Auctioneer Kurt Aumann of Aumann Auctions in Nokomis, III., will conduct the sale. He said this was the largest group of rare prairie tractors and 'lesser-known classics' from the 1920s through the 1950s that had sold in many years. Among the rarest are a 1911 Flour City 20-35, one of three known to exist; a 1911 square-radiator Aultman & Taylor 30-60, one of only about half a dozen thought to still exist; a 1912 Minneapolis threshing 40-80, a 1918 Nichols & Shepard 40-70 (at 30,000 pounds, the heaviest gas tractor ever made), and a range of Cases.

George said in a phone interview he decided to hold the auction for two main reasons: he's been having some health problems involving his back, which makes the heavy maintenance difficult, and the collection is drawing too many visitors for him to reasonably manage. Last year, more than 2,250 people toured his private museum.

'It just got too big,' George said, 'so we decided to cut back.' He added, however, that he planned to keep five or six of his biggest tractors, and might even buy and restore more in the future.

Proceeds from the sale will go to the Barnabas Foundation, a Christian organization that offers estate and gift planning for donors. George said Barnabas was a part of his church and offered a good way for him to ensure his funds went to the charities of his choice. The Schaaf Truck and Tractor Museum, he said, has actually become a part of Barnabas.

Kurt said the sale would constitute a 'multi-million dollar charitable contribution.' The market for anything rare changes all the time, Kurt explained, and what the tractors sell for that day will establish the value. 'It definitely ranks as an auction that will go down in the annals of tractor collecting history. It has everything that makes an auction great: rare tractors, great variety and a seller who is known and respected.'

Both George and Kurt said they had no idea how many people would personally attend but inquiries had arrived from around the world. Internet bid ding will be conducted during the sale.

Admission to the sale is $10, which also will be donated to Barnabas (or refunded with a purchase); included are a souvenir admission button and full-color catalog. The auction items may be previewed Thursday, Sept. 19, by per sons with admission buttons; a listing with photographs also is on the Aumann Auctions Web site (listed below), where Internet bidders can pre-register and anyone can find the final auction prices posted after the sale.

For more information, contact Aumann Auctions Inc., at 20114 State Route 16, Nokomis, IL 62075; (888) 282-8648; www.aumannauctions.com