Big piece of Minnesota farm history goes on auction blockIt’s very likely the population of Ulen, Minnesota (554), will double on August 23 and 24, when what is expected to be hundreds of bidders descend on the Clay County town. The draw: the largest vintage tractor and stationary gas engine auction in the Red River Valley—153 two-cylinder John Deere tractors, over 200 stationary gas engines, and 150 cast iron seats.
It’s very likely the population of Ulen, Minnesota (554), will double on August 23 and 24, when what is expected to be hundreds of bidders descend on the Clay County town. The draw: the largest vintage tractor and stationary gas engine auction in the Red River Valley—153 two-cylinder John Deere tractors, over 200 stationary gas engines, and 150 cast iron seats.
The collection being sold belongs to the Frank Mikulecky Estate and Robert Mikulecky, who started collecting the antique equipment 50 years ago. Robert, Frank, and their brother George had farmed in Ulen from 1942 until their retirement. The tractors they bought or traded in their first couple decades of farming held only utilitarian value; but after selling their dairy cows, they had money to chase rare and interesting items. Family and friends helped them find pieces for their collection, as they traveled the tri-state area in search of specific tractors, crawlers, and engines.
Robert admitted, “If we were to do it over, we would not buy as many again—just a bad case of ‘Iron Fever.’“ That “Iron Fever” resulted in a collection so large that it will take two days to auction with two rings selling simultaneously each day onsite and another ring or two selling online.
“You don’t’ see collections like this very often,” reflected Loren Seifert, the managing auctioneer for the brothers’ collection. “The range of their collection and its sheer size should put this town on the map—for a couple days, anyway.” The highlight of the auction is a 1924 “N” Waterloo Boy—the tractor line that predates the John Deere. “The brothers bought it at auction in 1970,” said Seifert.
From his assisted living center, Robert remembers where he got most of the more valuable equipment and for how much money, as well as the story behind many of the pieces. The hardest pieces for him to relinquish will be his favorite 530 and 720. “With his brothers long passed,” said Seifert, “this auction will bring some emotional days for Robert. This was more than a collection or hobby; these pieces united him with his brother.”
This is the town where the brothers walked a mile and a half on a dirt path to school each day because there was no road. On two hot summer days, the roads of Ulen, MN, will be filled with a half century of memories loaded on trucks and trailers heading to points around the region and even the nation.
For more information about the auction or photos of Bob or his tractors, visit www.seifertrealty.com. Loren Seifert is available for interview at (218) 841-4605.