Auction: Selling History

A dear friend of mine recently phased out the construction / welding side of her 57 year old, family owned business, and because of that, an auction was held to sell off equipment.  I’d originally planned to serve as support person and friend, but within minutes after arriving, I knew that I’d also be documenting history.  This is the first post of two about that auction.

While understanding that this was a bittersweet process for the family, I neverless found it fascinating.  As with bikers and military families (and I’ve been part if both), the group of machinists, contractors, and welders that were present that day represented another subculture:  those hardworking folks who work with their hands, and their backs, to construct things that many of us take for granted.

The room was packed and the excitement palpable.


Immediately energized, I jumped into the middle of the large crowd of people, primarily male, most in ball caps and Carhartt.  No one seemed to mind me and my camera, thankfully, and I enjoyed interacting with everyone.

IMG_1360 IMG_1275

This young man had a little of his own cash and when I asked what he planned to buy, he said “something for my Dad”.


This little guy was just along for the ride.


Andthis one? Obviously, he was there for the hot dogs!


The range of age …



and the visions of the past



made me feel whistful for “the good old days”.

The auction lasted all day long, inside and out.



and ultimately, it was a huge success!


Next Post: The Auctioneers and the Family

39 thoughts on “Auction: Selling History

  1. Laurie, this is great. Between your pictures and your words you captured the essence of the day. Thanks for that and for your support that day!

  2. Bittersweet. I’m happy that the community came out to support them after their years of service and how awesome that you’ve documented this important step thru the door to the next chapter of their lives.

    • Thankfully, there is a next chapter! and that has helped to make the transition better. and you said it right … the community did support the event and in such a way that it just felt right

  3. How fortunate your friend is to have the event captured so well, so uniquely! I’m sure you blessed her immensely by taking the photos. Have a great weekend!

  4. Wonderful post and photos Laurie you really captured the essence of the auction. Are you sure there wasn’t a hot dog eating contest out back ? The kid with the ketchup on his face looks like he was in one, LOL. Great shots, very well done..

    • Isn’t that kid wonderful? It was getting on to dusk, and I didn’t catch him clearly enough, but thankfully, his happy personality allowed me to overlook it.

  5. These are wonderful images, Laurie, but my favorites are the little one who was going to buy something for his dad, and the last photo of Amy and what I assume to be her dad.

    • That child really made me smile! I expected him to tell me about some little thing he wanted for himself (which is what most of us would have been there for), but he was gifting his dad. Lovely! And what a smile!!
      The gentleman with Amy is not her father, who passed about 3 years ago at 91, but this guy, “Chief” had worked with Amy’s father for 50 of those 57years, and he is like a father to her.

  6. We used to have so many implement auctions around here (when we moved here 40 yrs. ago!!!) and I miss the social interaction that we had over the bidding and a cup of coffee. Now, so much is done “on-line” that it’s one more thing that isolates us rather than brings us together!!!!! I could ‘feel’ the excitement!!!! Great post!!!!! Hugs……………………………

  7. These photos are priceless, just seeing the faces of men who probably have worked so hard in their lives. You were able to capture the young as well. Keep that camera at your side! Thanks for sharing, Laurie.

  8. This is so special to me. Those men could be “my people” in Idaho. Mom used to look forward to Thursday, Auction Day, which in her little community in Idaho was the only social event going on. Her husband, Jim, and Jim’s boys like auction season (when the roads are clear), when they travel around Idaho, Montana, and Washington, looking for good deals on equipment. Your photos seem to me to be showing men being men. You have touched my heart.

    • Thanks Crystal! I love that this resonated with you and others, too. There were so many there from out of town and when we asked how they heard about the auction, they said Cool!
      And it truly was a social event. Hot dogs, sodas, coffee, talk, and laughter all mixed in with the business at hand.
      I just posted the second post, focusing on the art of the auction.

  9. Oh how I love these candid “people” shots. Isn’t it wonderful to capture everyday life – the posture and emotion – the movement of life? Excellent work my friend!!

    • Thank you so much!! I worried so much about the “quality shot” but I needn’t have worried as the everyday life came through. It truly was all about the emotion and the community, just as you said.

  10. Pingback: Auction: Sold! | Life on the Bike and other Fab Things

  11. That was fun. I’ve never been to an auction, but I identify with the audience. My husband and father-in-law were in constructions–welders and ironworkers. I attended my husband’s Marine unit reunion last fall, snapping photos, and I felt a bit like you describe, an outside looking in, and, as one of your commenters said, “showing men being men.” Fascinating stuff.

    • Thank you, Deborah! It IS fascinating, isn’t it?
      I had no idea and was just captivated by the whole process. The history, the family, the work, the sights, and smells. Quite the day!

Because Boomdee dared me: Lay a little sugar on me :-)

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