In the world of antique farm equipment, there are collectors, and then there are super collectors. Fred Schneider and his wife, Helen, definitely fell into the latter category. They amassed possibly the largest collection of antique farm-related machines, implements, tools, shop supplies, merchandise and engines in Saskatchewan, Canada. Unfortunately, Fred passed away last year at the age of 89, leaving his collection - housed in 22 buildings on his 250-acre estate in Eston - to be sold as part of his estate.
Hector Lloyd, owner of Lloyd's Auction Service, says Fred's collection is so massive that it's being sold in intervals. 'So far, we've had nine days of sale beginning in July 2003,' he says. 'All of the steam is gone, but we still have over 450 engines, 160 tractors, 100 pull-type implements and about 100 other miscellaneous farm items still up for sale.' This year's round of auctions are scheduled for five different weekends.
From April 23-25, farm-related merchandise, tools, spare parts, brass fittings and shop supplies will be the theme. Fred was a lifelong farmer as well as an inventor and engineer. He's credited with at least six different patents for agricultural machinery, including a disc drill that was sold to Massey-Harris, which brought him the majority of his financial success.
'Almost every farmer in North America has two to 20 of these drills,' Lloyd adds. Fred developed these drills (and countless other ideas that weren't as successful) on his farm using tools, parts and machinery that are now offered to the public.
Among the spare parts he amassed, Fred was enamored by all things brass, Lloyd says. 'Schneider saw value in almost anything relating to antique machinery, parts and scrap,' he says.
From June 5-7, more than 450 engines, parts, oilers and steam whistles will hit the auction block, ranging from common models to such hard-to-find offerings as a 2-hp Goold, Shapley & Muir, 7-hp Stickney and 5-hp Olds. Many engines are running, and some are restored. 'Fred's passion was stationary engines,' Lloyd says.
Although Fred only collected antique farm equipment for 30 years (a short time to amass such a big collection), he went to the extreme on any category he became interested in, Lloyd says.
From July 2-4, more than 150 antique tractors, cast iron seats, tractor parts, manuals, steam whistles, windmills and machinery will be auctioned. Some of the standout tractors in the auction will include a Waterloo Boy Type N, Rock Island Heider Model 15-27, Lanz Bulldog Model 15-30 and an Emerson-Brantingham Model 15-25.
Fred was smart and ambitious, Lloyd says. Instead of letting his classic tractors sit and rot in a barn, he fixed them up and presented them to the public.
'I know guys who have 800 tractors, but they're all laying in the weeds,' Lloyd says. 'Not this guy. He was very smart and ambitious. He cleaned, paint-ed, categorized and organized most of what he had. Some of them are restored, but most are running and complete.'
Two other auctions will be held this year on July 31-Aug. 2 and Sept. 4-6. These auctions will feature antiques and collectibles, including carnival glass (Helen collected glass antiques), toys, clocks, furniture and primitives.
Highlights of these last two auctions will be the contents of Fred's antique museums. Among the 22 buildings on the Schneider property are a circa-1909 railroad station, complete with period station furniture and other collectibles too numerous to mention. Another building is the former Glidden, Saskatchewan, fire station built about 1912, with a fire engine and period equipment. There's also a general store, 1927 schoolhouse, barn, blacksmith shop and homesteader's house - all brimming with collectibles.
Lloyd says the Schneider auction will attract collectors from North America and around the world. He expects people from England, Belgium, Ireland, Switzerland and Germany.
'Based on the other Schneider sales, I'm guessing about 1,000 people will show up each day for the first three-day auction,' Lloyd says. In fact, many people will make a vacation out of this auction, staying three or four days in their campers, he says.
- For more information about the Schneider Museum auction, contact Lloyd's Auction Service, Box 848, Hanna, Alberta, Canada TOJ PO; (403) 854-2481; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Take a virtual tour of the Schneider auction at www.lloydsauction.com
See the auction ad on page 13 of this issue for a partial listing of auction items.