Things You See at an Amish Auction (22 Photos)

Reader Jerry frequently visits Amish communities and auctions.

You might remember his posts on dandelion greens in Amish cuisine, a Nebraska Amish auction in Big Valley, the Amish in Burke’s Garden, VA, and photos of a $9,861 Amish buggy.

Jerry is back today following a trip to an Amish sale in central Pennsylvania.

What will you see at an Amish auction?

Jerry gives us a nice look at the types of items you might find for sale, including glassware, guns, and an item called the Ecofan.

One thing in particular really surprised me – how Amish women and girls in this community personalize their head coverings.

Jerry explains below.

Last Saturday I went to another auction. This time it was near McClure, PA, which is about 18 miles from Milroy in the Big Valley.

I’ve been to six out of seven Jack’s Mountain Amish School auctions in this area.

Last year it was canceled because the owners of the farm which had hosted all the auctions passed. This year was the first time at this new location.

This is a Nebraska group, I think. The most conservative order I visit. But even these folks are changing.

Five years ago the teenagers all had smart phones and today no one had a phone.

Traditional blue Kerosene lamps are still used on white top buggies but this year I also saw battery powered LED’s.

Not the wired type you see in Lancaster County, but these folks have found flashlight type of flat panel LED’s that fit into metal brackets mounted on each side of the buggy.

The units lift out and the AAA batteries can be replaced. I also noticed buggies with hydraulic drum brakes in addition the usual friction brakes.

Another interesting item at the auction was something called the Ecofan.

It’s a manufactured item that sits on a stove top and the heat generates the power for a fan to spin and push the heat into the room.

Research shows they sell in the $150.00 range. There were 6+ units at the sale and they sold for $125-$175 range.

This group is what I call the blue door Amish, as almost every home has all blue doors and blue window shades.

They wear a lot of blue and brown clothing.

Also note that 30% of the women/girls have their initials or name on the back point of their head covering.

In years past it was always embroidery, but now I notice fabric paint can be used. Their quilts and comforters are leaning in those two colors as well.

As with most Amish, they love cast iron skillets, Dutch ovens and baking molds. They tend to pay the same premium prices for names like Griswold and Wagner.

The other notable thing was their passion for traditional 1960s glassware. These folks spend top dollar for berry sets and water sets. The water sets are highly desired.

Reproduction milk glass ($125) and carnival glass $(175) with the grape motif brought the highest bids.

However common Anchor Hocking from the 50-60’s were selling for $75.

The pitcher and glass sets that were fancier with gold trim were the least desired ($15).

Some where in the back of my head I’m thinking a water set makes an excellent wedding present, and I imagine they are used at most meals.

The quilts up there are not the best I’ve seen, or they hold them for bigger auctions.

Guns (rifles) were a hot item for the men and boys.

Most were deer rifles and a few shotguns and .22s. These guys are active hunters but only one bow was for sale.

I walked around the farm a bit to check out the garden, buggies and livestock. I also discovered a group of teen boys smoking out by the silo.

Those kids were the most interactive with me. Some of the younger children were a bit frightened and checked me out from head to toe.

I included the lunch menu board.

Later they had grilled chicken halves and the night before was fish and shrimp dinners being sold.

Get the Amish in your inbox

Join 15,000 email subscribers. No spam. 100% free

    Similar Posts

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    1. Ken Tibbetts

      Amish Auction

      I’ve only been to one Amish “regular” Amish auction here in southeast Wisconsin but I’ve been to several Amish “horse” auctions in Thorpe. I never bid on any horses but I did bid on flowers and other goods at the regular auction. I must say that I got some great bargains. And, my wife and I took advantage of the food that the Amish women have for sale…just as delicious and delectable as the food we have when we are invited to dine at our good Amish friends’ houses.

      We’ll be sure to take advantage of the big auction this year.

    2. Alex Knisely

      Good fun if you stay away from the pie

      Cheap as chips, those lunch items. But I suppose that the first three are soups — a fried-oyster sandwich for $1.25 is too much to hope for.

      Oh, the pies? Well. The last piece I bought at an auction, cherry it was, contained a half-cup of sugared cornstarch and three cherries. I’m exaggerating, but not by much. If you must have pie, be careful. Shoofly pie, now, that’s whatever it is all the way through.

      1. I think you are right about the soup. AND the pies! 😉

        1. KimH

          Pie schmi

          I’m sorry to say I agree with your assessment on the Amish pies.
          Sometime in the last few years, younger Amish women are changing up their mommas recipes for commercial sale and it’s not a good thing. They’re being economical, I think. Corn starch is cheap, fruit is not.
          After quite a few pretty horrible pies, I luster make my own. They’re awesome.

    3. Yoder in Ohio

      There are at least 5 groups of Nebraska Amish in Big Valley, so some of the differences might have to do with that. Interesting post!

    4. Maureen

      Amish Auction

      Erick, what a fabulous post; thank you!

      I have so much to say! First off, and I truly mean no disrespect, but the Amish baking in upstate New York is not good. From donuts to pies, cookies and cakes – it’s just awful. Ive heard over and over about Amish cooking and baking, and in this region it’s largely disappointing. Canned vegetables and canned soup are big here, and surprisingly boxed mashed potatoes, boxed macaroni and cheese, box cakes,spam, and jarred spaghetti sauce, as well as margarine are all staples here. When reading all the “bonnet books” the food is in sharp contrast. It’s widely thought that the Amish make everthing from scratch daily from breads to cakes and everytthing is homemade from soups, to casseroles, and roasts and chickens are served up daily. Not here in Central New York. Even celebrations have canned fruit! I was surprised to learn that paper plates and plastic cutlery are used more than I thought!

      In Central New York there is the blue door community of Amish as well – all doors are pained blue — even the school house! And all the curtains are white. Shades of medium to dark blue are the main color for women, however, hunter green, brown, and black are also worn. Only black oxfords and black knee high socks are permitted. No pastels.

      I have heard Amish women talk for hours about their gardens, as well as who had the best vintage iron skillets — Lodge, Wagner, Stove&Range, Griswald, or Birmingham! The women love kitchen ware – however, some Amish do not permit certain glassware; for example clown faces [Ronald MacDonald], cartoon characters, etc.

      The Amish here frequent thrift shops, Salvation Army, as well as craft fairs, auctions, and the big tent antique fairs with gusto.

      1. AJ

        I think while most Amish are good at cooking there are those among them (like there are those among us) who are never as good as we stereotype. There are bad Amish bakers and good Amish bakers. You have to find them, just as you would if you were looking for an English baker. The Amish have always been blessed with access to abundant and cheap ingredients because of their relationship to farming. I assume that as many Amish no longer farm, that it will have a role in the lower quality of Amish made food (especially non-farming families who have to buy English ingredients).

        There are still many Amish markets where you can really find decent Amish goods. I don’t think that will ever change as along as there are Amish still around. You will always have really good Amish bakers and those that aren’t. I know of a few Amish vendors, where even though they produce to masses of people, such as vendors at Green Dragon, or markets at Westtown, the Central Lancaster Market, and Reading Terminal, they can still produce rather good quality products. I often visit for example, the market in Westtown. Despite it being a commercialized market I have found the pound cakes and cookies to be of very good quality compared to almost all local bakers and stores. That is saying a lot because the south eastern corner of Pennsylvania is blessed with bakers of all nationalities, including Greek, Mexican, and Italian. I find that with the Amish made goods you can really taste the fruit and other ingredients besides just the sugar and egg.

      2. Thanks Maureen, and I’m sending most of the credit on to Jerry 🙂 I really liked his detailed description of the glassware. I can see why some of it would go for less and other pieces for more.

        Thank you for the neat details on Amish in your area of NY. I have generally had good luck with the quality of Amish made food I’ve purchased (usually baked goods, canned goods, cheese), but I’m not surprised that quality varies, as you and some others on this thread have pointed out. It’s too bad there are those examples as on the whole I think the Amish have a pretty good rep for their food, but that could take a hit if commercial or other motivations continue to lead to lower-quality foods.

        1. Maureen

          Amish Auction

          Erik, Jerry deserves all the credit!

          Work for me was located throughout the Mohawk Valley region except for Otsego County. Cooperstown Hall of Fame to Baseball, is in this county. And I know “of” the Yoder family in the Richfield/Richfield Springs area; they’re successful in farming and dairy, and in addition have enterprises in carpentry business [sheds], and Windy Ridge [bulk and variety]. Very hard working, friendly community – beautiful country there as well.

          My work was mainly in Mongomery County early on; Fort Plain and Canajoharie, Palatine, Palatine Bridge, St. Johnsville areas. There was success and failure in this region in the last twenty years. Oneida County, mainly Newport, Rome, and Vernon is steady and growing success. Madison County, in my personal opinion, is unsteady and suffers the most controversy within the Amish, within the Mennonites, and both with the English; they’re all at odds over a myriad of reasons. Sadly enough Amish have come and gone. June 1, I leave for Lawrence county which is above Central New York, known as the North Country.

          Should dairy get much worse with regulations and milk prices, I hear tell some of these dairy farmers are headed for Canada!

          1. Have a great visit to St. Lawrence County. So many communities in NY now. Looks like you are familiar with quite a few of them!


            1. Maureen

              Amish Auction

              Erick, thank you. I will miss your “Amish America”, and will have to go to the library to use the computer/Internet here. All in this particular Christian Farm Community are busy working the fields and busy with the planning of their personal gardens.

              I’m bracing myself for the long days that are ahead!

              A peaceful and safe summer to you, and to all on the “Amish America” site!


              1. Thank you Maureen! Well I hope you’ll check back in when you get a chance.

    5. There are some very good Amish cooks & bakers, some average, and some really poor ones. How much convenience or box food gets used can be different from one community to another but also family to family. My wife is a good cook & baker when she wants to be but handy meals on a busy day are not unusual. So yes you will find some Hamburger Helper and stuff like that in our home, but the last years she also makes a lot extra to freeze and we like that too. Paper or foam plates/ trays and plastic stuff is our pick for outdoor meals or big family gatherings. After all that getting ready who wants to spend the time on washing dishes? But it is not always one or the other, at least not in our home.

      1. Yoder, if you were to serve me a plate of Hamburger Helper, I wouldn’t complain 🙂 I used to love it, though we never had it much or at all in my home growing up (maybe that’s why I loved it). It’s funny how some “low-quality” foods can become favorites (nacho cheese/cheese dip is another that comes to mind). I wouldn’t want to subsist on it all day but I think most people have those guilty food pleasures.

    6. Things You See at an Amish Auction

      Thank you for the post and pics!

    7. Maureen

      Amish Auction

      I believe The English think The Amish are superior cooks and bakers. Google recepies and they are full of Amish Pot Pies, Amish Caseroles, Amish Potato Salad, Amish Macaroni Salad, Amish Cole Slaw, Amish Breads, Amish Cookies, Amish Pies; the list is endless. The English feel the Amish are known for cooking, farming, and carpentry.

      Central New York is agriculture – lots of dairy farming. The Amish dairy farmers are busy from morning until night. The vision is that the women are in the kitchen cooking all day delicious full breakfasts, and meat and potatoes with penty of sides at dinner time. However, in my experioence – this is not the case here. The Amish own dairy farms yet buy their milk at Walmart. Many Amish here purchase margerine and not butter, etc. Mr. Yoder is correct, forgot to say “hamburger helper” in my last post!

      Understand, this is not to be critical. Of course there are great cooks among the Amish. I think, however, many of us English thought all the women were excellent cooks and cooked hearty meals daily as part of their culture, never yeilding to anything but fresh. Morevoer, it was a surprise to me that the Amish use paper products at meal time. I thought they would beleive this to be an anathema.

      1. Maureen just curious as to central NY – are you by any chance in the area of Otsego County? I have a friend who moved into that area. I’d guess they were in part attracted by dairy opportunities.

        And you are right, Amish definitely do shop at Wal Mart and other grocery stores, for convenience and value buying in bulk.

    8. Nicholas

      phones and fans

      Interesting to me that a few years ago some had smart phones, then just flip phones, and now no phones at all. I guess they’re cracking down on cell phones.
      I used to purchase my work shoes from a Red Wing dealer in Allen County, Indiana who was a more traditional/conservative member of the Amish community there. (Side note: I asked about the difference in this person and what I had seen elsewhere in the community and was informed that there are some conservatives scattered throughout but the face of the community was as a whole more progressive than the shoe salesman.) In the shop they had a coal stove with a fan like the Ecofan on top. A friend in engineering school was rather impressed by this device. This was likely 2008 or 2009 when I saw the Ecofan or something similar in action.
      Never heard of personalizing the head scarf before, but as a member of a plain church (German Baptist) I have discovered the importance of writing your name and phone number inside your black hat that looks like everyone else’s. 🙂