Cast Iron Seat Collectors Find Gems at Heritage Estate Sale

Muncie, Ind., estate sale wows cast iron seat and hog oiler collectors with 'once-in-a-blue-moon' offerings


| August 2003



FC_V6_I1_Aug_2003_12-1.jpg

Grand Detour cast iron implement seat.

Cast iron implement seat collectors sometimes go to great lengths to find collectibles.

That was the case when 89-year-old Don Lanford of Austin, Texas, traveled 28 hours on a bus to attend Art and Martha Heritage’s estate sale in Muncie, Ind., on May 10, 2003. His trip wasn’t in vain – this serious collector returned home with the auction’s most-expensive seat, a Globe (rated a “10” in John D. Friedly Jr.’s Cast Iron Implement Seats V).

The auction was a solid indication that the cast iron implement seat market is very strong, organizers say. Bidding was active and collectors were so enthusiastic that record prices were set for some cast iron seats and even hog oilers, Ken Ellenberger of Ellenberger Bros. Auctioneers reports.

Prices were based on the seats’ Friedly rating, which is a 1-through-10.5 scale based on the seat’s condition, previous auction price and its overall availability. Seats with a “10” or “10.5” rating are some of the rarest known. The sale began at 9 a.m. and lasted more than 6 hours, and Ellenberger Bros. sold more than 700 items, briskly moving the procession along at an average of more than 100 items per hour. The auction included rare cast iron seats, but also featured planter lids, toolboxes and other Heritage-owned antiques.

The Midwest is a great place to hold antique farm equipment auctions, Ellenberger adds, since it’s equally accessible to collectors – around the country and abroad – who were able to converge for an auction of such magnitude. In fact, the first 25 registered bidders came from out of state, and more than 100 bidders from 15 states were represented overall. One seat went to an English collector and another to an Australian.

Charolette Traxler, secretary of the Cast Iron Seat Collectors, says that there hasn’t been a seat auction in a while, which explains why there was such a good turnout. Seat prices held steady compared with previous auctions, she adds, excluding a few “price wars” between collectors. Traxler says that target prices for most seats can be calculated by throwing out the high and low prices for any given seat rating, then averaging the totals. Seats in the Heritage auction held steady, and the prices didn’t go out of range for most collectors.

For more information about the Cast Iron Seat Collectors contact the club at 604 Washington St., Woodstock, IL 60098; (815) 338-6464; e-mail: bud@castironseatclub.org.