Remember The Island of Misfit Toys in the old Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer TV special?
Those toys would have been snapped up in a second at the old toy auction at Kerkhoff Auction Center in Redwood Falls on Dec. 1.
However, if you went to the auction expecting to find lots of parents bringing excited children, you’d be surprised.
Most of the audience doing the bidding was serious toy collectors of the middle-aged and up variety.
Surveying the items before the auction, you’d find pallets full of toy trains, model cars, stuffed animals, and antique knick-knacks.
Rusty tricycles and wagons that wouldn’t get a second look in a farmer’s grove or dumpster created serious bidding wars between the collectors.
Randy Schwartz of Hendricks 90 miles on an icy day just to check out one green sheet-metal truck he noticed on the Kerkhoff Auction flyer.
“I like the older trucks,” he said, holding it up before the auction.
What did Schwartz plan to do with the truck once he successfully bid for it?
“Oh, I donno,” he laughed. “Probably pile it up in the garage with the others. Someday I’ll get organized.”
Don Clausen of Fairfax was organized: he had a notebook listing every toy tractor he owns so he wouldn’t get any repeats.
“I’ve got about 300 tractors at home,” he said. “I’ve got a room with shelves full of tractors.”
Before the auction, Clausen noticed a toy 1955 Massey-Harris tractor on a shelf. He whipped out his notebook, and was disappointed to find he already owned one like that.
How did Clausen get into collecting toy tractors?
“I’ve drove a lot of these (in real life) when I was a boy,” he said.
Judy Sandmann of Franklin was one of the few who brought an actual, real-life child to the auction: her eight-year old grandson Zackary Hensch.
“It’s our first auction for toys — Zack is interested in the race cars,” Sandmann said. “This is just something we can do together.”