A rare auction over the weekend in Enchant, Alta., saw a lifetime collection of vintage farm equipment sold off piece by piece.
For Don Skretting, the collection of hundreds of items has been 50 years in the making, a life-long passion that began when he was just 16 years old.
“I was always interested in the pioneer, how they farmed and what they used,” Skretting said. “The machinery was so unique and when you came across something you wondered what it is and it looks so good, you wanted to bring it home.”
Over the years he’s collected everything from vintage farm equipment, to horse-drawn vehicles and even toys, most of it John Deere.
Despite losing his sight decades ago, it’s a love he doesn’t have to see to enjoy.
“I had real good vision up until I was 20 years old, so I can picture everything that I have,” Skretting said. “I’ve been legally blind for 40 years and totally blind for 10 years.”
But not seeing doesn’t mean not doing. Skretting does most of the repairs and restoration work on the pieces himself.
“As soon as my fingers touch it, it’s like I can see,” he said. “There’s times that I’m working on this old stuff and it’s like I’m looking at it.”
Now 67, Skretting has another vision for his collection. By auctioning it off piece by piece, he’s giving others a chance to own a piece of history.
“This is a truly magnificent collection that you’d go a long way to find something like this again,” collector John Scott said.
“Once in a while someone will have a few antique tractors or a couple of rare pieces like that, but it’s not very often you get to sell a lifetime collection of it all,” Stacey McInenly with Frank McInenly Auctions said.
One of the highlights of the auction was a wagon lift from the early 1900s, one of the last remaining of its kind.
“You’ll probably never see that again anywhere else,” Scott said. “It really should be in a museum because that’s really a piece of heritage from the early days.”
While Skretting is saying goodbye to a lifetime of memories, a new chapter is just beginning.
“It’s just that time in my life,” he said. “But I’ll probably start over again collecting old stuff.”