Auction of `history' draws many to Hampstead


October 23, 2002|By Pat Brodowski | Pat Brodowski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MEMORABLE LOCAL items from almost a century ago brought an unceasing crowd to an auction at Hampstead Movie House Mall in Hampstead.

Bidders and onlookers gathered around furniture along Main Street for the sale Oct. 13. They eventually took shelter from the rain in the greenhouse area, where seats were filled well into the night. So many items remained and the enthusiasm was so strong that auctioneer Bucky Harmon decided to halt the auction around 10 p.m. and resume it next month.

"We had items with such great history from Hampstead, Westminster and Manchester. We still have more," Harmon said. The next auction will start at 2 p.m. Nov. 24.

"I never thought in my wildest dreams it would be this big," said Diane Harmon, the auctioneer's wife. She and several helpers organized the stream of old toys, calendars, fishing rods, Old West novels, doll furniture and whatnot moving to the gavel.

Whether selling holiday items or Depression-era glass, Bucky Harmon hopes that holding the auction will keep local history alive. Most of the items are from local sources. Before bidding begins, he fills in the gaps with stories about them. Sometimes he adds materials to help educate the public.

"I tend to elaborate," he said, pulling out a collection of empty Larkin cosmetic bottles with colorful labels that date to 1917. He included a paper catalog of Larkin products, so the buyer can learn about the company. Larkin had included coupons with its cosmetics. The coupons offered furniture to purchase by mail order.

"This is what I love, the history. It's worth more than a pattern in glass," Harmon said. In what he calls "a short preview" of each type of item, he reads text on posters, details how and why items were made, and includes details on current quality and future care.

Instead of box lots, in which all items of a sort are sold at once, bidders may choose how many items in a collection to bid upon. Bidding in the first round is for the most desired items, which usually go for top dollar. Sometimes, Harmon said, it might take three rounds before all items of a type are sold. That gives the small spender a chance to buy something, he said.

The next auction will include a sizable array of glassware, from berry-bowl sets and iced-tea sets to teacups and painted plates. More furniture, an enamel cookstove and an obscure appliance for ironing sheets also will be sold. Some glassware dates to the 1920s and was never used.

Of local interest is a milk can with lid, labeled Clarence Bachman, saved from Bachman Valley Farms. It is from Harmon's personal collection.

"I want it to go somewhere where history is being shared," he said.

Christmas decorations old and new will be included in the November auction. Inventory from the former Bob's Variety Store will be sold. Harmon purchased the eclectic department store inventory with the building almost two years ago. He has since reorganized the interior into an antique mall with two dozen vendors.

"The next auction's going to be neat. Anyone who came up to Bob's to buy Christmas things will want to come. There was such variety, including light bulbs of the old style," Harmon said.

A local organization that wants to raise funds by running a food concession during the auction can contact Harmon at the antique mall.

Learn to plant trees

Donna Baker, forester with the state, will lead a tree care and planting workshop from 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 2 at Charlotte's Quest Nature Center in Manchester.

"This is basic tree care for landowners," Baker said. "How to pick a tree, planting trees and maintenance, such as pruning and mulching."

The nature center is at the end of Wilhelm Lane, off York Street in Manchester.

Registration is not required but is suggested.

Information: 410-374-3395.

Blood donations needed

The Red Cross will conduct a blood drive from 1:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Hampstead fire hall.

Donors are encouraged to schedule donation times in advance. Appointments: 800-448-3543.

Nouveau wine uncorked

Ray Brasfield, winemaker and owner of Cygnus Wine Cellars in Manchester, will pop the cork on the first wine of the 2002 vintage for public sampling Nov. 9 and 10.

Participants can savor the "nouveau" wine with finger foods in the wine cellar as Brasfield describes the winemaking process. Nouveau wines are associated with harvests and celebrations because they are reminiscent of fruit harvested in September.

The wine-tasting weekend takes place from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The wine cellar is at 3130 Long Lane, one block east of Main Street, Manchester.

Information: 410-374-6395 or

Pat Brodowski's North neighborhood column appears each Wednesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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