Saturday, June 22, 2013

Lowden: quiet until Saturday

This Indian Scout sold for $32,000.
Lowden, Washington, is a quiet little community, more or less a wide spot in the road as you drive Highway 12 between the Tri-Cities and Walla Walla. It has a couple of top-notch wineries and a grain elevator, and is best known as being near the site of a famous battle between Indians and the cavalry back in 1865.

It's not an incorporated city; probably under 200 people, but all that changed for a few hours on Saturday, June 22, when m hundreds of people, amounting to many times the community's population, descended upon Lowden for an auction of equipment and vehicles owned by the late Ted Small. This wasn't just any farm auction, however. Included aamng the old and antique tractors and Caterpillars were five rare vintage Indian motorcycles and more than a dozen antique and classic cars. These were the vehicles that drew the crowds. While people were somewhat spread out for sales of the tractors et al, they were almost wall to wall  when it came time to auction off the motorcycles and cars.

While it was wildly rumored that late-night talk show host Jay Leno would be an hand to buy vehicles for h is garage, he never showed. Reportedly, some of his staff flew into Walla Walla Airport on his Learjet that morning.

This rare engine sold quickly for $200,000.
Of the five motorcycles, a 1941 Indian 441 went for the most money, $50,000, while a 1940 Indian Scout sold for the least, $32,000. A 1910 Auburn touring car brought $97,000, the most paid for any of the cars, but the highest selling big item was an 1896 Golden Gate gas engine, of which less than 10 were made. A local wheat farmer bought it for $200,000 on the fourth bid.

The crowds began clearing out after the last auto was auctioned off, though only just over a third of the items to be sold had been sold by that time. By the end of the day, Lowden had returned to normal.

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