In this edition of On the Web, we’re going to explore some online auctions of primitive tools. The bits of our rural past are diverse and plentiful. While exploring the Web for this column, I found that many, many lots remain unsold across the cyber auction block. But let’s look at some of the lots that did sell. (All prices exclude shipping and insurance.)
The first thing that caught my eye was a mid-19th century hand-painted bellows. EBay item number 130210324840 sold April 5, 2008, for $74, after starting at $24.99 and garnering 14 bids from three bidders. The description said the bellows was acquired by the seller in 1976 from an estate sale in Essex, Conn., after it was found in the attic the afternoon of the sale. This beautiful piece, which is in great condition for its age, will be a nice accent piece or addition to an early Americana collection. (Many more details on this piece are available on eBay.)
Next up we have a lot of two old wooden, primitive butter paddles that were found in an old farmhouse (eBay item number 110241006656.) The bidding started at $9.99, and three bidders pushed the bid up to a final price of $28.99 for the pair when it sold on April 13, 2008. The paddle measures 12 inches and the ladle measures 7 ½ inches, and the only defect seems to be two small splits at the bottom of the paddle. This is another lot that would look at home either hanging on the kitchen wall or nestled within a curio.
The first of the “outside” farm tool highlights is a McCormick-Deering sickle grinder (eBay item number 330224869994), which was intended for sharpening the blades on a harvesting machine, but according to the seller, this one looks as though it has never been used. After starting at just $19.99, three bidders drove the final price up to $119.19 when the auction closed on April 8, 2008.
Next up, we have an “antique cast iron Fulton hand crank corn sheller” (eBay item number 380011965643), in working condition, which sold April 4, 2008, for a final price of $51 after starting at $29.99. Three bidders battled it out on the final day of the auction to reach the sale price. The details for the piece: 12 inches by 14 inches by 11 inches with a weight of 14 pounds.
The final bit of primitive Americana up for discussion today is a “primitive farm hand planting tool” (eBay item 260227923916) that sold April 13, 2008. This piece started at just $6.99, and four bidders pushed the final sale price to $31.33. The piece is described as being a “curved hand carved wood handle with hand wrought iron spear,” age unknown, measuring 11 inches by 4 inches. The seller suspects the piece is from the 1800s.
If primitive Americana is your passion, there is plenty to be had at both conventional auctions — especially farm auctions — across rural America and in online auctions.