Pick: That was such a fun auction we went to the other night! Lots of variety, friendly crowd, and it moved along quickly too. My favorite thing was the treasure we got, almost a piece of your family heritage!
Grin: I started my inspection of the items going up for auction at the far end of the hall, and had found several pieces that were of interest. When I finally got to the second last table, there were the three items from the old Gridley Dairy that my grandfather had worked at during the (first) Great Depression.
Pick: You showed me the paper sign, amber-colored milk bottle and the mini-milk can and I could tell you were excited by them. You turned the can around to show the company’s name and location and even the date of “1935.” I asked if your grandpa would have worked there then and you exclaimed “Yes.”
Grin: Over the years, I have bought a couple of bottles with Gridley on them and some paper advertising in the form of recipe books. Nothing expensive, nor rare or too exciting. They are in our Depression-era farm and advertising collection, resting on our antique oak ice box.
Pick: This was a large auction and had numerous items for sale. But we were relieved to see those items brought up front early for bidding. The paper sign was first and I asked if I should bid for it.
Grin: When bidding started, I contemplated trying to get the sign, but the price soon escalated past what I considered to be reasonable. Paper is pretty delicate and not easily displayed when not framed.
Pick: When the runner held up the can and the bottle, I was “at the ready” to bid, asking you how high I should go. They were offering “choice of the two”, meaning we could get one or the other for the bid-price. The bidding was pretty active with three of us in early, then down to two. Our price came and went and I still bid a few more times, but alas, we realized we could not get the can. But to our surprise, the bidder took the bottle and they re-opened bidding. We got it for half what our top bid would have been.
Grin: Part of my interest in this milk can was its size. It can easily be displayed inside the house and not stuck in the garden or on the driveway where some of our other milk cans have been placed. I am not sure what the contents of this can might have been but have a suspicion that it was used In a commercial setting. It have been used to deliver heavy-cream to a bakery or restaurant.
Pick: Well, you know how we love to send things back home! That is the ultimate recycling. We have shipped collectibles back to their original owners quite a few times and that just tickles us. Remember the Ruby Farms thermometer?
Grin: That one went back to the granddaughter of the original owner. And how often do we send advertising items found on our travels back to the city of their origination? Many times!
These are going to collectors that have an interest in preserving part of their town’s history.
Pick: Another thing we sold that brought fond memories to a buyer was the calendar from the dairy near Madison, Wisconsin. The winner kindly shared with us that he had worked that very farm in the 1960s, alongside his favorite cousin.
Grin: Didn’t you just tell me about another treasure that you sent back home?
Pick: Oh, you mean the ashtray. It was from the Golden Zither Restaurant in Milwaukee. The winner was so happy to get it. He got engaged to his wife in that very restaurant many years back. They are close to their 40th anniversary and he is planning to give it to her as part of their gift. Oh, how romantic!
Grin: We’ll have to share other ‘recyling’ stories down the road. I just read about a nearby auction…