Last Rites for Rynda

Steam Engine Joe's Collection is Auctioned as a Large Crowd Turns out to Remember a Pioneer

| September/October 2004

The Rynda auction crowd was quite numerous, which made it difficult for the auctioneers taking bids in the red-and-white building just noticeable at the back of the crowd.

The legendary collection of 'Steam Engine Joe' Rynda and his son, Leonard, was auctioned May 7-8, 2004, in Montgomery, Minn. Countless farm implements, trucks, cars, tractors and spare parts were sold, but the majority of the auction's packed crowd came to see and bid on Joe's steam engine collection. Most of Joe's steam engines were sold on Saturday, with bidding beginning at 10:30 a.m. and ending about 2 p.m. The wind was blowing hard that day, but it didn't stop many collectors of steam and old iron from taking away some rare and unique steam engines as well as paying their respects to a steam pioneer.

A big 30 HP Huber steam traction engine stands alone among the trees at the Rynda estate. This Huber sold for $14,000 during the auction.

Joe's 'bone yard' has held many old steam engines and other curiosities for years, and dozens of these artifacts were found peeking out of every corner of his yard - some having sat there for at least 40 years. To ready some of the old iron for auction, all the machinery and steam engines were pulled out of the ground except two: a Case buried in the trees and a Rumely buried in the mud almost to the rear hubs. Everything was sold where it sat, and people gathered around the bone yard for the auction in any place they could to get a view of the proceedings.

A panoramic picture showing some of the engines that were auctioned at the Rynda estate. No less than 15 can be counted in this picture alone

Bidding was haphazard. The 65 HP Case went way too cheap, but two 80 HP Cases sold for a good price. One of the shockers was the Nichols & Shepard 20 HP that sold for $26,000. Two guys must have wanted it bad and battled it out in a bidding war. A real slap in the face was the running Gaar-Scott that the auctioneers wanted $24,500 for. A private party ended up buying it for $30,000.