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Auction in Rollinsford draws dealers and bargain hunters

Union Leader Correspondent

September 24. 2012 8:31PM
Buyers from around the world took part in a two-day auction Friday and Saturday to sell most of Terry Bennett's vast collection of items at his home in Rollinsford. (JOHN QUINN PHOTO)

ROLLINSFORD - Armed with dreams of candy shops or driving a vintage race car, collectors big and small descended on a treasure trove up for auction over the weekend.

Many dealers came to the Friday and Saturday auction, some as far away as Connecticut or California. But a few people from around the region stopped by to find a deal or two of their own as Dr. Terry Bennett, 74, who underwent chemotherapy for cancer, sold his impressive collection of cars, bikes, boats, toys and other items amassed over decades.

While only a few bidders stopped by Friday, the auction tent was filled to capacity Saturday for the main event where most of the vintage vehicles were sold off, according to Amy Christie, spokeswoman for Auctions America.

After a 10-minute bidding war, a 1925 Lancia Lambda sold for $270,000, which created a standing ovation among bidders. Meanwhile, a restored Honer Wagner BMW Post War Race Car sold for $177,000, Christie said.

'It exceeded out expectations,' Christie said, adding participants came from 34 states and nine countries

Aspiring candy shop owner Laurie Mitchell, of Dover, said she was a little nervous about attending her first auction, but her anxiety gave way to excitement when she bought several doors, originally from a school, for $25, and an antique glass display case for $100.

'I'm hoping to open a candy shop with a vintage feel, so I'm looking for stuff,' Mitchell said, adding that once she started bidding, it was hard to stop.

Nonetheless, Mitchell said she stayed within her budget, which included transportation costs for her doors - complete with old-fashioned safety glass and marked with 'Physics' - and her large dusty case.

Jason Ahlquist and Curt Crittenden, both of Dover, decided they had to come to see what they could find amid thousands of items broken down into about 1,200 lots, which ranged from a crate of golf clubs, a box of antique doorknobs and tables full of toys to a Honer Wagner BMW Post War Race Car.

Like most other participants, the pair was hoping to find a particular item within the vast collection, which filled a three-story barn on Bennett's property.

'We're just looking at the guitars and surfboards,' Crittenden said.

Joe Johnson said he drove up from Mansfield, Mass., to look for parts for a 1936 Mercedes 540K Special Roadster, which he's reproducing for his retirement.

'I haven't seen anything that caught my eye,' Johnson said as he perused the many items in Bennett's barn and assembled in lots on his lawn.

Chad Blake, of Newmarket, said he stopped by Friday to see how the bidding was progressing, especially since it was being done in person, via the phone and online.

Brent Earlywine, who was one of two auctioneers who moved through items Friday, kept things moving during the sale.

'We'll have as many bidders on the Internet as we do here,' Earlywine said, adding the technology allows online bidders to keep up with the action.

Since all of the items, from the chairs to the motorcycles, were being sold at 'no reserve' - or minimum amount - it was an easy sell, according to Ian Webb, marketing director of Auctions America, a subsidiary of RM Auctions.

Shawn Francis, of Rollinsford, who was looking for a Ducati 600-F1 amid Bennett's collection of motorcycles, agreed that very few bidders were seeking something for themselves.

'There's a lot more people who will buy these cars to resell them,' Francis said.

Tim Weiss, who lives in Portland, Maine, was overwhelmed by the variety offered in the collection, but he remained focused, as he was there for business.

'I came down for the Mercedes,' Weiss said, adding he quickly spotted several cars that he could repair or use for spare parts for his customers at Wrench Boston in Hyde Park, Mass. 'He's got some crazy stuff here.'

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