Amish Auctions Happening In Some States; Mud Sales Remain Stuck In The Mud

So Amish auctions returning is one sign that things are getting back to normal – at least in some places. Below I’ve posted the bill for a school sale this Saturday in Sheldon, Wisconsin (Rusk County).

This is not the only Amish auction activity out there. The Kootenai Amish School Auction will also take place Saturday in Rexford, Montana. Another sale is set for the following Saturday in Ashland, MT. Events at the Mt. Hope auction in Ohio continue with near-daily sales, but with the request that only buyers attend the events.

The tent is up and waiting for the Kootenai Amish School Auction

However, the most famous of Amish auctions, the Lancaster County mud sales, remain stuck in the metaphorical mud.

The Gap sale which was to be held last week has been postponed to the fall, the second time it has been postponed.The Kinzer Fire Company sale, originally planned for about now, has been canceled.  The Refton Fire Company Sale planned for June 27 has also been cancelled. So has Bird-in-Hand’s Carriage & Antique Auction.

Rustic bedroom set to be sold at the Kootenai event

I’m getting this info direct from the fire companies’ websites. I have not seen any news reporting suggesting the mud sales are about to return.

It looks like some mud sales have gone into “postponed” mode, while others have just thrown in the towel on 2020 altogether. Mud sales fund a good chunk of the fire companies’ annual budgets, so they’ll have to make up the money somehow.

So whether Amish are holding auctions largely depends on which state, or which region of a state, we are dealing with. Some states have lessened or removed their public interaction restrictions. Others remain in some regime of lockdown.

Wisconsin’s stay-at-home order was struck down by the State Supreme Court a month ago, though some counties issued their own orders. Rusk appears to not be one of them, so the Sheldon sale will be held. Meanwhile in Pennsylvania certain counties (Lancaster and others) for whatever reason continue to be “yellow phase” restricted.

But even those counties enjoying the current peak of Pennsylvania freedom, “green phase” status, are restricted to gatherings of 250 people or less. That would seem to seriously hamper any mud sales, given that thousands attend these events.

I thought the solitary sale in York County – at Airville – might try to go on, since York will be granted this coveted status on Friday.

But it looks like Airville, after an initial postponement, has cancelled as well. They did say they will “attempt to hold something later this year” though on a smaller scale.

Airville mud sale, 2014

I’m not exactly sure why so many sales have gone ahead with cancelling for 2020, with half the year ahead of us. Airville, to take one example, cancelled way back at the start of things, on March 12.

But what if York County in a month or two is in the next “phase” of freedom – assuming the powers-that-be decide to permit one – which would allow a sale to be held?

I’m thinking there must be logistical issues that would stop these sales being easily rescheduled. But I don’t know what they might be.

Otherwise you’d think small decentralized volunteer fire companies – with heavy Amish involvement to boot – would be able to plan and act in a more flexible manner.

Sheldon, WI Amish School Auction

Just a quick look, before we go, at the Sheldon sale. Here’s the bill.

Two things to note here. One is the design. Neat logo. Usually these sale bills are more plain and bland.

The second thing is something you don’t often see: in among the furniture, farm equipment, and quilts, they are selling a couple of motor vehicles. Namely vans, including one large 11-person passenger van, the type favored by the Amish for transportation.

Are these owned by Amish taxi drivers? Or are they owned by Amish members of the community?

While we think of the Amish as not owning cars, you will find that some Amish business people actually do own the vehicles that their hired drivers operate.

So it looks like someone will be driving off with some new wheels this Saturday. Is “Amish van auction” going to become a thing?

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    13 Comments

    1. Andy

      Hired Amish drivers

      It makes for good thinking for a Amish church to own the van and hire the driver. The Amish can plan the long distance driving trip with their church members and schedule the day with the driver. But why not let the hired van driver be a former Amish man?

      1. Well that would probably work as long as the former Amish man (I am assuming you mean he was baptized, but left the church) was not in the Bann.

        I’ve never heard of an Amish church somehow collectively owning a van. Not sure how that would work. It’s usually an individual family for something like a market stand business where there is a lot of regular weekly travel, or say a contractor owning a work truck.

    2. Mette Karlsen

      Just curious

      Good afternoon, Folks,
      I’ve never had the chance to go to any Amish auctions or mud sales. Does anyone know if 2nd-hand clothing is sold at any of these? Especially the eastern PA ones? Just curious…

      1. Secondhand clothing

        I’ve never heard of that being a thing. Do you mean Plain clothing items?

      2. Jerry

        Clothing

        I’m a huge Amish auction fan. Probably attended over 100. I’ve never seen used clothing for sale. I have seen some new handmade Amish clothing for sale. Men’s jackets or suits, children’s clothing.

    3. Amish auctions

      A friend of mine drives for the Amish in Western PA and he’s posted flower and plant auction videos. Looks like social distancing and he said sales were up and they were pleased.

      1. Nora Fothergill

        annual Atlantic Pa Amish Auction

        Does anyone know if the Atlantic Pa. auction is going to happen the last sat of June? I always go and drive 8 hours to get there, do not want to make a useless trip if it is canceled. Thanks for anyone’s help and info

        1. I checked around a little online Nora, which I’m guessing you’ve done as well. I couldn’t find much of anything on this year. It looks like the one FB page I found on the event is about a previous year. Maybe someone else here will know.

    4. Jerry

      2020 Mud Sales in South Central PA

      I usually have six auctions under my belt by the middle of June. Zero this year. Beaver Run, Gratz, two in Synder County, the Special Children’s Clinic sales in Bellville and Mifflinburg and the Jack’s Mountain auctions were all postponed until later this summer. My first one is coming up this Saturday in Milheim, PA and the two Saturdays after that are auctions in Milroy, PA on the east end of the Big Valley. Winfield, Pa, Perry County and Reedsville are coming up in July. Yippee!

      1. Andy

        Amish Auction

        I love them too. Perfect place to take a date in my opinion. But for now staying healthy is more important. Never thought the virus could spread in a naturally social distancing community until this Auction post.

      2. Good to hear they are not cancelling those completely, but just postponing them Jerry. I’m still a bit puzzled by the many mud sales flat out canceling.

        1. Jerry

          Mud Sales

          The Govenor closed the entire state. Some auctions were shut the week before their date. A lot of planning went down the drain. Some of these events take almost all year to plan. Many of the tasks are done by teams that have completed them for years so they know what they’re doing. I hope they didn’t lose much investment money for food that was ordered but not used. The donated quilts will be as nice in July as the would have been in March but the BBQ chicken……not so much. You’ve got some really good articles lately. Thanks so much.

    5. Al in Ky

      Yesterday I received a sale bill for the 14th Annual Vevay, Indiana, Amish School Auction. This auction is usually held in May, but this year will be on June 20 beginning at 9 a.m. at the school, 9958 Barker Road, Vevay, Ind. An interesting note on the sale bill stated, “Due to late date, limited flowers and plants”. The sale bill still lists such things as quilts, tools, tack, crafts, generators, etc. that will be for sale.

      Also of interest — many Amish donate quilts, woodworking items, food, etc. to Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Relief Sales (auctions) in various locations in the US and Canada. There are about 40 relief sales every year, and many have been canceled this year due to COVID-19. Some are doing creative alternatives such as online auctions. In the June 1 edition of Mennonite World Review, an article stated that MCC is having to cut its yearly budget by $6 million due to loss of income from cancellation of many of the relief sales, and temporary closure of MCC thrift shops.