Items find eager bidders at Scout Troop 380's fund-raising auctions

March 02, 1994|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Contributing Writer

People will buy anything at an auction or a flea market, especially if it's for a good cause.

Witness some of the items and the prices paid for them at past Boy Scout Troop 380 auctions, conducted by Neal Owings of Snyder's Auction House in Hampstead.

"Neal will come up with an empty box, throw a couple of coins [from his own pocket] in it, then start the bidding on it," said Roxanne Elmo, who has been involved in the Scout fund-raising auctions for the past seven years.

"People will start bidding, then Neal will pass the box around and people will throw more money in it -- it might be a couple of pennies or $2."

Afterward, the Scout leaders try to track down the person who made the winning bid for the box, just to see how much they did get, Mrs. Elmo said.

"We've had the box go for as much as $30, with $10 in it," she said.

One year, the Scouts auctioned off a box of old locks -- without the keys -- for $5.

"Now who in their right mind would buy a box of locks without any keys?" Mrs. Elmo asked in bewilderment.

One year the troop's sponsoring church, Wesley United Methodist, donated a big, cumbersome Addressograph machine, used in pre-computer days to address envelopes. The boys had to load it onto a truck to take it to Snyder's.

Unloading the Addressograph, the group spilled ink all over the truck, but they wrestled the thing into the auction house and sold it for a few dollars, Mrs. Elmo recalled.

Another year a Kawasaki motorcycle, donated by a church member, brought $700, she said.

Then there's the regular auction attendee who bids $50 for a dozen eggs, only to turn around and give the eggs back to be auctioned off to somebody else for yet more money, said Mr. Owings, owner of Snyder's, who donates his time and his auction house for the event.

"Steger's donates a case of eggs, and we sell them by the dozen -- that's a real good moneymaker," Mr. Owings said.

This year's auction, the troop's only fund-raiser of 1994, will start at 10 a.m. Saturday at Snyder's on Mott Avenue. The troop will also sell food until the auction ends, usually mid-afternoon.

Money raised goes to send the boys to summer camp, which costs about $125 per Scout, Mrs. Elmo said. Camping equipment and other supplies are purchased from auction proceeds.

Then at Christmas, the troop sponsors three needy families, providing food and presents to the parents and children, said Marcia Hickok, auction chairwoman.

Besides the more unusual items up for bid, there are everyday necessities and things to brighten up the home, she said.

"We have certificates from a flower shop, cases of motor oil, cases of soda, a tool pouch, pool floats, a calculator," said Mrs. Hickok.

The boys canvass area businesses for donations.

"We had one place one year where two boys got donations from the same business, from two different people at the place, and that was so embarrassing," Mrs. Hickok recalled.

"When we realized what happened, we ended up taking one donation back and thanking them for being so generous but we couldn't take both, we told them," she said. "They were very grateful."

For seekers of the unusual, this year's auction will offer a super single-size water bed, with head boards and sheets; a pair of running boards for a pickup truck; 31 rug samples; a lighted Heineken beer sign; and a weekend in an Ocean City condominium.

"We never know what we're going to have until the morning of the auction," Mr. Owings said. "We usually have 300 to 500 items -- something for everybody."

For information or to donate something to the auction, call Mrs. Hickok at 239-3834.

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