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News Article  
Venerated teacher’s estate spurs bidders’ interest
By Barb Van Loo

RIGA, Mich. – The farm located just outside Riga, Mich. first belonged to the great-grandfather of Margaret Koppelman. She had lived there for over 40 years and had attained almost a century in age - 99 years to be exact. Lyn Liechty had the privilege of offering the contents of this old estate at auction.

There was an abundance of items in almost every category. There were many vintage clothing items of all types including old-fashioned long johns along with old coats, dresses and more.

Mrs. Koppelman had been a teacher, a profession that impacted her children. In the 1930s it was possible to obtain a permit to teach in a rural school after only one year of college. Mrs. Koppelman took advantage of this and after attending Lenawee County Normal School for one year she became a teacher at Columbia Lake School in Ottawa Lake, Mich. While continuing to teach she kept attending college and received a degree in elementary education from Adrian College in 1964. She proved to be an inspiration to her children as two of them became teachers, as did five of her grandchildren.

One of her boys, Gary, was chosen National Science Teacher in April of 2013. He said he gives all the credit for success as a teacher to his mother. "It’s because of mom’s passion for kids and teaching and her encouragement in my life to become a teacher," he said.

One of the items of interest was a large cast iron school bell from the closed Ferris School. This piece was of interest to the locals at the auction who remembered the school and the final bid was met with applause for the winning bidder. The final bid for this piece was $725.

There were many piece of farm equipment including tractors, combines, grain drills, hay wagons, box wagons, sprayers, etc., etc. Also found were pieces and parts used to attach to or repair the major pieces of equipment.

The 1967 Allis-Chalmers D17 tractor was not only of interest to the local bidders but also attracted the attention of a phone bidder. The final selling price for this tractor was $1,225.

Another tractor that proved to be desirable was a 1941 Farmall BN tractor that crossed the block for $1,150. The 1977 Ford 3600 tractor with a front end loader was also one that found a following and realized a final bid of $3,000.

The winning bidder must have a great affinity for Allis-Chalmers combines as this makes it three that he now owns as he already had two at home. He was from Indiana and, after paying the $1,000 winning bid, hitched up the combine and pulled it back to his home.

One bidder drove to the auction from Buffalo, New York because of his interest in the 67 sheets of metal siding that were on the block. However, the $1,200 winning bid was above his budget and he went home without the siding.

The pony buggy needed a small repair on the one wheel but there were still several people interested in it. Thus, there was a final bid of $200.

Another item that was of interest to the local citizens was the antique Regulator wall clock from the Columbian School, another local school. This resulted in a final bid of $250. A second wall clock, this one not for the home, sold for $190.

Trunks are items that can not only be used for storage; they can be used as a decorating piece. The hump-top trunk sold for $110 while the flattop trunk earned $110.

An item in which a collector of General Store memorabilia would be interested was a Sunny Boy peanut butter tin with a bail handle. This piece earned a final bid of $47.50.

Mrs. Koppelman must have been an avid reader, as there were several boxes of books of many genres to attract book collectors. Among them were several McGuffey readers that she had used during her early years of teaching.

As at any estate auction there were many items of all categories that were of interest to the attendees. There were many pieces of furniture, lamps, and other items to be found in a home. From the outbuildings there were many tools, milk cans and all sorts of equipment necessary to the operation of a farm.

All of Mrs. Koppelman’s sons were there to provide information and interact with the attendees making a very family-oriented affair. Lyn Liechty’s brother was a schoolmate of the Koppelman boys and made a special effort to come from Grand Rapids to reunite with them and remember old times.

For additional information contact the auctioneer at: (517) 266-2542 or by email at