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McMillen hosts big bids in Battle Creek
Pavlik sells Jones estate
Guns sell well at Old Barn
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Across the Auction Block
McMillen hosts big bids in Battle Creek
By Nancy Kelly

Battle Creek, Mich. — The Mingus Creek area on the edge of Battle Creek had been their home for nearly 30 years, but it was time to downsize and move on. The homeowners contacted auctioneer Claud McMillen and his capable crew to organize and disperse the contents of the house. With items spread around the front yard and driveway on auction day, the staff nervously watched the weather forecast while playing tag with the raindrops. McMillen and his auctioneer sister Holly Johnson ran two rings to quickly move through the inventory. There was no buyer’s premium charged, so final bids listed here are the actual selling prices.

Many typical household furnishings, decorations, lamps, and furniture pieces were offered and sold. As expected, the more unusual items drew the most interest and highest prices. For example, described as a make-up stand, a very narrow and eye-catching wooden vanity with two drawers, an inset flat surface, and a large wooden-framed mirror proved to be popular, drawing a final bid of $160. A small-scale but fully functional oak roll-top desk could possibly have belonged to a child or young adult. The top rolled up smoothly and there were no cracks or chips in the wood. It was claimed with a final bid of $55. A Cable Nelson spinet (small upright) piano in excellent condition was offered along with a matching wooden piano bench filled with music books and a soft tapestry dust cover. Bidding proceeded at the house, but the winning bid belonged to an absentee bidder who purchased the piano for $50. An antique round piano stool with glass ball claw feet and decorative trim on the legs left with a high bid of $55.

The small rooms of the old house made it necessary to move most items outside, but the bedroom set that filled the master bedroom was offered in place. A few people gathered in the room as the handsome queen-sized brass bed frame along with a very clean mattress and box spring set were claimed with a high bid of $50. A very tall and narrow seven-drawer pine dresser fit snugly in the corner and provided a lot of storage in a small footprint.

It was rehomed with a final bid of $60. Other bedroom furnishings were also dispersed. An interesting black enamel painted Asian art cabinet featuring two birds and several flowers on the front was opened to reveal a substantial supply of stemware and other glassware inside. It left with a final bid of $17.50.

Tucked away in a side room there were several pieces of wall art. They included landscape prints, vintage black art, and a few portraits. But the winner in this category by far was the movie poster from The Black Cat, which featured Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi in this Edgar Allen Poe 1934 thriller presented by Carl Laemmle. The framed poster had suffered a break in the glass, but it didn’t affect the poster’s condition nor the enthusiasm of the bidders, who drove the final bid up to $100. A few unusual items were also included in this group of decorative pieces. A framed black and yellow jersey with the number 31 and the name Miller was autographed by Reggie Miller of the Indiana Pacers. This sports souvenir went to a new collector with a final bid of $30. Another sports collectible was a framed blade from the hockey stick of Dino Ciccerelli, #22 of the Detroit Red Wings. This autographed keepsake left with a bid of $5. The pinball fan in the audience had a golden opportunity to add the back glass from the Sharpshooter pinball game to their collection with a final bid of $2.

Boxes and stacks of paper items occupied some of the tables in the front yard. Magazines with names such as Life, Good Housekeeping, Wild West, and Adventure dating from the late 1800s up through the 1950s were stacked for consideration and claimed by various buyers. One particular box that featured 1940s copies of Cosmopolitan and Farm Journal proved very popular, requiring a final bid of $95 to take it home. A stack of vintage Playboy magazines drew a final bid of $35. As he took possession, the high bidder claimed he had only bought the pile because there was a Dodgers program in the stack. A beautiful album containing about 40 local vintage post cards was gladly claimed with a final bid of $40.

McMillen examined one box lot, paused, and carefully drew a single item out to feature it. The vintage book was titled Roll Out the Barrel and it appeared to be the history/yearbook journal for a World War II armored unit. Inside the cover were several signatures, and there were many photos plus text inside. This very special historical record was taken home with a high bid of $20.

Several vases, plates, bowls, and other beautiful glassware and pottery items were available throughout the auction, some selling solo and most in groups. Names such as Roseville, Weller, Lenox, McCoy, and Fitz and Floyd were sprinkled around among the Made in China pieces. However, the star of this category was an approximately 14” tall turquoise-colored Van Briggle Lorelei earthenware vase that finished a bidding volley with a final price of $70.

Being located in the City of Battle Creek, the home of the WK Kellogg cereal company, there were several related items scattered around the sale. The object generating the most discussion was the quart-sized glass milk bottle with the lettering “WK Kellogg Farms Pasteurized Milk”. This unusual collectible sold with a high bid of $65. A box containing Kellogg ornaments, banks, and other miscellaneous related items closed at $35, a framed collection of about 50 Kellogg pins finished at $4, and several boxes stuffed full of unused flat cereal boxes and print test sheets for box artwork were claimed with a bid of $5 per box. A carton of “cereal box stuffers” consisting of numerous small, desirable trinkets drew a final bid of $27.50.

Two legitimate firearms were offered, along with one silly parody. The Remington semi-automatic 12 gauge Sportsman shotgun in clean condition finished at $150 while the Remington Airmaster 77 pump air rifle closed at $20. A weird shot-gun-shaped brown plastic object with a black rubber toilet plunger on the end of the barrel had a label that read “Red Neck Plunger”. It featured gun sound effects when demonstrated and also bore the slogan “The Poo Is Thru”. When the joking and laughter settled down, it was humbly claimed with a bid of $2.

Claud McMillen Auctions & Real Estate Company is a family-run business that has been around since 1982. Along with occasional on-site sales, McMillen hosts numerous auctions throughout the year in his spacious indoor facility in Bellevue, MI. More information is available on his website at or by calling 269-763-9838

Guns sell well at Old Barn
By Kathleen Floyd

FINDLAY, Ohio – Old Barn Auction was a bustling place on April 20 and 21, as bidders took part in a huge, two-day auction of antique guns, knives and militaria. There were more than 1,200 lots, ranging from the Revolutionary War to the modern era. Most items came from the collections of Don Hazelwood of Illinois, David Boyer of Ohio and the late Wayne Mertz of Findlay, Ohio.

Vicky Sorgenfrei, Old Barn owner and manager, was pleased with the large crowd and successful sales results. She praised the work of Steve Kiene, Old Barn gun consultant, who coordinated the entire sale and compiled the 65-page color catalog. As always, Sorgenfrei relied on auctioneers Steve Eaton and Dave Wedertz, to keep the auction rolling quickly, even with many absentee and phone bidders.

The item that stole the show was a beautiful 45 caliber, Model 1873 Colt Single Action Army revolver, with a 7 1/2-inch barrel. According to Kiene, it was factory engraved, which is extremely hard to find on a black powder frame single action.. It was in fine working condition, with all matching serial numbers and its original pearl grips. Further increasing its value, it sold with its original factory letter. After intense competition, a phone bidder fired the winning bid of $28,600. All prices mentioned here include a 10 percent buyers premium.

Another auction highlight was an authentic Confederate Le Mat, a well-known Civil War revolver used by many Confederate officers. It had all matching serial numbers and was inscribed, “Cyst Le Mat Paris,” on top of its 7-inch octagon barrel. The revolver, with a dark patina and well worn grips, sold with the book, The Confederate Le Mat, by Doug Adams. It reached $15,400.

The top-performing rifle was a Colt Paterson, Model 1839, with a 32-inch smooth-bore barrel. There were only around 950 produced, making this rifle exceptionally hard to find. It had a replacement six-shot cylinder, but the stock appeared to be original, with minor cracks. It sold for $11,000. Also hitting a high mark, was a Colt Model 1855 revolving rifle in excellent working condition, with an overall length of 49 ˝-inches. The serial numbers were all matching and it had its correct receiver and black tang markings. Kiene noted, it was remarkable that its bayonet’s serial numbers also matched the rifle. It brought $7,040.

An odd Henry rifle attracted much attention. George Madis, noted author and authority on Henry and Winchester rifles, nicknamed it “The World’s Rarest Henry Rifle.” Surprisingly, one side of the rifle looked fine, but the other side had never been finished. It was factory stamped, Reject January 7, 1862. Kiene said there were five handwritten pages of letters with the rifle, which told about finding it in a shop on the Arkansas-Texas border in 1964. According to the letters, it was inset in a walnut board with the good side showing, and may have been displayed in Oliver Winchester’s personal office. Since 2001, Western Heritage Museum in Tombstone, Arizona exhibited the rifle. It sold with the letters for $7,700.

There were several guns of local interest. A Spencer Model 1860 Army rifle played an important role in the Civil War and was of special significance to Ohio collectors. Kiene said the serial numbers on this rifle, showed it was issued to the 7th Independent Company, Ohio Volunteer Sharpshooters who were responsible for protecting the Union generals. The breech-loading, 7-shot rifle was 47 inches in overall length. Although the middle barrel lock was broken, the rifle reached $5,060. Findlay area bidders competed for a cased pair of Colt 1812 Fort Findlay revolvers, made to commemorate the city of Findlay’s Sesquicentennial in 1962. There were only 110 produced and only 20 cased pairs. A set of 22 caliber revolvers, with a gold finish and walnut grips, shot to $5,500. Local bidders also had the unusual opportunity to bid on three rifles by O.B. Vandenburgh, who was a Findlay gunsmith in the 1800’s. In very good condition, a 38 caliber half-stock Vandenburgh rifle with an imitation tiger maple stock and Henry Parker Warranted back lock, sold for $770. The second example, a half-stock percussion rifle with some repairs and updates, brought $330; while the third, in poor condition, still made $165.

Other featured guns included a Derringer flintlock Indian trade rifle. The full stock rifle, circa 1800, had a 37-inch octagon barrel, tiger maple wood and an eagle head lightly carved on the patch box. With minor repair, it was in very good condition, striking a $5,720 bid. Another fine Indian-owned gun, was a Winchester 1866 saddle ring carbine which was decorated with brass tacks and its original beaded scalp lock. It rode to $2,200. One of the older guns, a flintlock Fowler circa 1780, had the typical slender style, with a cherry stock and an impressive 52-inch barrel. In very good condition for its age, it reached $3,575. Designed for protection, a “lady of the evening vanity box,” was an unusual set containing a small caliber pistol, a sterling handle garter knife and a swivel pull-out drawer with additional accessories. The set sold for $1,100.

There were many outstanding knives, swords and other miscellaneous items. One example was a U.S. Revolutionary War officer’s hanger sword, with an 18 1/2-inch blade and a grooved cherry grip with silver strapping. All of its metal furniture was gold plated. Selling without a scabbard, it was in very good condition, hitting $2,970. An outstanding Civil War era fighting knife, with a stag handle and a 12 1/2-inch blade, reached $3,300. Six boxed sample sets of antique ammunition sold well. A Winchester military set with a variety of sample shells, topped the group at $935. Made in 1864, a16-inch diameter, Civil War rope-tension drum, had a bentwood body. In beautiful condition, with names handwritten on the head, it sold with what were believed to be its original drumsticks for $550. Even cap guns made their mark. The top-selling lot had six cap pistols with their original boxes. They included Roy Rogers, Buffalo Bill, Gene Autry and others. Together, they hit $1,100.

Contact: 419-422-8531 or

Pavlik sells Jones estate
By Nancy Kelly

Mt. Pleasant, Mich. — Jack Jones resided in his Isabella County home on 80 acres for about 50 years. He worked for Hubscher Gravel until his retirement, and he enjoyed projects around the house. His collection of antique tractors, lawn mowers, and tools was visible proof of that. He also enjoyed hunting and fishing, with the back 40 acres of his property consisting of woods and a stream.

When he passed away, his family decided to sell the homestead, so Pavlik Auction and Real Estate, LLC was selected for the job. Auctioneer and Realtor/Broker John Pavlik has an established reputation for selling farm property in the mid-Michigan area for over 30 years. His father, also named John Pavlik, recently celebrated 50 years in the field, so the family has a firm foundation for service and results in the rural community.

The sale of the house took place part way through the auction and was conducted as any other part of the auction, with the property going to the highest bidder. Pavlik explained that once the auction process had determined the price the rest of the transaction would proceed as a regular real estate sale. A $2,000 down payment was required, with closing in about 30 days. However, since part of the property was tillable land, they were willing to work with the new owner to get crops in the ground if needed before closing. The asking opening bid of $200,000 was quickly met. There appeared to be three or four people in the audience who were interested, and they worked their way to the front of the crowd. Auctioneer Gary Kochensparger, who was assisting that day, stood next to Pavlik to help verify the bids as they were placed. Within about 15 minutes the entire process was done, with a high bid of $290,000 claiming the 2-story, 3-bedroom house, out buildings, and land.

Prior to and after the sale of the property, Pavlik and Kochensparger conducted two sales rings to disperse the tools, home furnishings, tractors, and vehicles. There was no buyer’s premium, so prices listed here are the final selling prices.

Parked in the middle of the yard, the Ford 1995 F250 flat bed pick up truck was the center of attention. It had 45,000 miles, came with a Meyers 8’ show plow attached on the front and wooden racks attached to the bed. It started right up and ran well, which inspired the bidding to climb to a final price of $4,000. The truck shoppers backed up and the automobile buyers moved forward as the Lincoln Town Car was offered. It was a white 2003 model, with a leather interior and 103,000 miles. Kochensparger teased and cajoled the bidders while they considered the vehicle, and it slowly climbed to a high bid of $2,600.

Mr. Jones’s antique tractors were all from the 1950s and were very popular with the crowd. Lined up in the yard, each was started and run for the bidders to listen to and determine their value. The large red Massey-Ferguson 65 diesel tractor with excellent tires was the winner in this category, drawing a high bid of $3,500. Next was the John Deere 50 with hand clutch and very good tires that finished at $2,300. A Ford Select-O-Speed 801 with front blade was considered before closing with a high bid of $1,150 and the vintage Ford 8N sold with wheel weights and chains for a final bid of $850.

The property featured a huge yard, so there was a nice selection of mowers that were used to maintain it. The zero-turn Exmark mower provided a comfy seat in the shade during the auction until it was started up and sold with a high bid of $1,500. The Club Cadet Hydro mower with a brush on the front was offered as a way to clean up the stones that the county plows push onto the lawn. Along with a detachable mower deck, this unit left with a high bid of $1,700. The Murray 5-speed 11-36 mower wouldn’t start, but it still earned a respectable bid of $160. Other outdoor maintenance implements included a Snow Devil electric start snowblower with plastic cab cover that closed at $350, a Ferguson 3-point brush hog finished at $325, a 2600 psi power washer with a Honda motor for $120, and an Estate lawn rake/thatcher that closed at $160.

Numerous home furnishings were offered, including shelves, cabinets, tables, and chairs as well as china and glassware. Everything was moved out onto the lawn on this sunny day for ease of viewing and shopping. But the beautiful Daniel Dakota quartz oak grandmother clock remained in its place of honor inside the front room. Pavlik was leery of moving it, as sometimes clocks stop working when they are disturbed. After sufficient time to examine it, bidding was opened on this marvelous time piece, and it was claimed with a high bid of $150.

Meanwhile, a second ring featured the tools and parts. Some highlights there included a Schumaker 40/200 battery charger that finished at $42.50, a Magna Force air compressor at $35, a Werner extension ladder at $80, and a cutting torch set for $200. There were two flat bed trailers full of tools, as well as more in the out buildings and around the yard.

A somewhat contentious bidding flurry erupted over an antique telephone. This vintage candlestick-style phone complete with its ringer box proved very popular as the price continued to climb. Finally, one bidder emerged successful with the high bid of $100.

As the auction progressed, the word of the day became “puddingstone”. This is the popular name given to a type of conglomerate rock that features rounded pebbles of contrasting colors compared to the base color of the rock. There was a handsome pair on the front lawn measuring approximately 24” long each that were eagerly claimed for $100. Another large singular one near the garage closed at $50. Numerous other, smaller ones were used in the landscaping of the house, and the crowd eagerly sought them out for purchasing. Then came the realization that they would have to be extracted and carried, and much teasing ensured as to who would move them and how much they would charge. An audible groan was heard as one last cluster of stones was discovered in front of the house, but they were quickly dispersed.

Pavlik Auction and Real Estate, LLC of Alma, Michigan, is looking forward to many more auctions throughout the year. They can be reached via their website or by calling 989-463-4903.