Thursday, September 29, 2005

Auction draws bargain hunters; Sold!

By JACQUELINE PERRY, Journal Ishpeming Bureau

PHOTO: Pat Ward of Munising looks at teapots Saturday at the Arvo Heino estate auction in Chatham. Ward was waiting for bidding to begin on 70 face cords of cut and dried maple, which she ended up buying for $3,200. (Journal photo by Jacqueline Perry)

CHATHAM - Pat Ward of Munising drove to a Chatham estate auction Saturday with a specific item in mind: firewood.

"They have cut and dried maple here," said Ward, looking at other items as she waited for bidding on the hardwood to begin. "I need firewood to heat my home, so that's why I'm here."

Ward won't have to worry about heating her home for a while: her winning bid of $3,200 bought her about 70 face cords of maple.

The estate auction was held at the 120 acre former dairy farm owned by Arvo Heino and his late wife Laila, said Col. John Brown, owner of Munising Auction Service which ran the auction. Heino, who Brown guessed to be in his 80s, lives in an assisted living facility,. The farm is in the process of being sold.

People walked away from the auction with items such as a Ford-Ferguson gas tractor, a 1972 John Deere snowmobile, a 1993 Cadillac, a variety of tools, furniture, glassware, milk cans and more.

Attending auctions is a hobby for Jim and Ruthann Willis of Munising.

"This is what we do on the weekends," Ruthann said. "We travel to auctions and buy whatever grabs our attention. And we have the stuff to prove it!"

She named two items as being their most unusual auction acquisitions.

"My genuine Indian rugs and an alabaster statue," Ruthann said.

So what does Jim Willis look for?

"Tools, mostly," he said. "Men like to have lots of tools."

The Heino estate auction was the first bidding experience for Norma Kienitz of Chatham.

"I bought an old wooden box with handles, but I'm interested in (Laila's) dishes," Kienitz said. " She was from Finland and I believe her dishes came from there as well."

Randy Swarty of Sundell was hoping to stick around long enough to bid on some of the tools. However, the final decision would be made by his sons - Finn, 2, and Ry, 5, Swarty said.

"We'll see how long they want to stick around," Swarty said, as his sons played on the John Deere snowmobile. "It's been a long day for them already!"