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Schaaf Truck & Tractor Museum Sells Rare, Antique Iron

Mon November 25, 2002 - Midwest Edition
Cindy Ladage

Collector George Schaaf of Frankfort, IL, recently held an auction to reduce the inventory of his truck and tractor museum on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 20 to 21. On Friday, Schaaf’s huge petroleum collection sold and on Saturday, his antique tractors and many unusual and rare construction trucks went under the gavel.

Kurt Aumann, auctioneer of Aumann Auctions, noted, “George Schaaf scoured the country to assemble this collection, always gathering the rarest and best to put in his museum. He and his crew have spent many painstaking hours restoring some of these pieces to award-winning condition, both mechanically and cosmetically. No expense was spared.”

Bidders from 38 states and five foreign countries attended this sale. When all was said and done, rare pieces of equipment were dispersed to all areas of the United States and beyond, and some lucky bidders had some wonderful construction trucks to add to their museums or collections.

One of the interesting trucks that sold was a 1927 Witt-Will Co. Inc. model SS dump truck. According to the catalog, “This rare piece was the only truck manufactured in Washington, D.C. and is the only one known to exist. It features a professional restoration and a 2.5-yd. bed by Highland Body and Manufacturing Company in Cincinnati, OH.

When selling a 1918 White rendering wagon, Aumann paused to add that this vehicle is a real, “chick magnet” in certain parts of the state.

The “chick magnet” was a very rare truck used by the Illinois Humane Society.

This auction also featured rare equipment such as the 1923 AutoCar Co. 2.5-ton (2.25 t) tanker truck. This truck was nominated as the Best Restored junior in 1993 by the AACA and also was recognized as the National first prize winner. The truck was built in Ardmore, PA.

Another good find was the 1911 Avery Co. 1-ton (.9 t) farm tuck. This was the Avery Company’s debut into the gasoline powered farm market. According to the catalog, “The truck/tractor was intended to be used in the field during the day and for going to town at night. The wheels could have wooden plugs inserted into them to allow for road travel. The truck was built from 1909 to 1914 with very few surviving examples left.”

Some of the most unusual tanker trucks were available for bidding at this auction. A 1916 General Motors Corp. GMC tanker truck and a 1921 Brockway Motor Truck Co. stake truck, built in Cortland, NY, sold for great prices. There also were unique dump trucks used for various construction jobs. The 1916 Mack Truck (International Motor Co.) model AB dump truck was a special treat for bidders because it is equipped with a model 4S Heil hydrohoist and has hard rubber tires.

Another Mack unit that sold well was a 1918 Mack model AC dump truck. This vehicle was built in Allentown, PA. The AutoCar Co., of Ardmore, also built a 1925 dump truck that featured a full cab and dump body. This truck was an early example of the “cab over design.”

The Garford Motor Truck Company, of Ohio, began producing heavy trucks in 1909. Schaaf sold a 1918 Garford Motor model UW1534 stake truck at the sale. While there were a variety of trucks, farm trucks, stake trucks and delivery trucks, it was the dump trucks that caught the attention of construction equipment collectors.

Other dump trucks that flew across the auction block included a 1913 Old Reliable Motor Truck Co., dump truck built in Chicago; a 1932 Diamond T. Motor Car Co., 1.5-ton (1.35 t) dump truck also built in Chicago; a 1922 Armleder Motor truck; a 1930 Mack Truck Inc.’s model AB dump truck; and a 1928 Mack Truck Inc.’s dump truck.

Trucks were not the only construction items to sell, as Schaaf also had some antique equipment on hand. One such item was a 1955 repainted John Deere model 40 crawler that could be used for either farm or construction. One of the more interesting pieces up for bid was a 1935 Pierce “Little Bear” roller manufactured in Buffalo, NY. This roller was used at Wrigley Field to keep the diamond in shape for the Chicago Cubs. With a huge Cubs emblem on its rear, this piece of baseball memorabilia didn’t sit around very long.

Through the years, Schaaf accumulated a truly amazing collection of rare prairie tractors, commercial trucks and cars. While under his ownership, many of these machines were viewed while on display at the Schaaf Truck and Tractor Museum. The proceeds from this sale were donated to the Barnabas Foundation, the charity of Schaaf’s choice.

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