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A Farm Auction Masterpiece

Last weekend my Dad saw an ad in the local paper advertising a farm auction, north of Sterling, near Belleville, Ontario. Not entirely sure what a “farm auction” was, he was convinced to check it out with the hope that there might be some nice furniture being auctioned off. Tables and chairs were featured in the ad itself, so maybe “we could find some stuff for the cottage” he figured.

He and my mom drove up to where the auction was being held. Cars were parked a half mile down the road from the farmhouse – a good sign that this was one happening auction! Lots of items were being sold – old tractors, farm equipment, barn-type furniture – unfortunately none of which my Dad was in the market for, exactly.

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He thought about calling it a day when the rusted bucket complete with random bits of metal thrown in went for twenty-five cents. “It was all old junk”, he told me, “literally nothing sold for more than five bucks”.

That was until the auctioneer pulled out three dusty, cob-webbed watercolours. The other men there, all apparently in uniform consisting of overalls and Wellington boots, started bidding – and bidding well over $5.  Clearly they knew there was something special about these paintings. Wanting to get in on the action, my Dad starting bidding too, but had to drop out once one bid put the first painting over $650. It sold for $1200. The other one went quickly too – for around $1000. Rightly sensing the bids reducing, my Dad put on his game face and is now the proud owner of the last farm auction watercolour.

While he couldn’t recall the name of the artist, the signature was followed by “RA”, for Royal Academy, as in Royal Academy of the Arts in London, England. Those farmers really knew their art!  I’ll be sure to update this post with a picture and (if I can read it) the artist’s name once I get to see the painting in person. I’ll be interested to do some more research on the painting once I find out more about it! I wonder how much it is really worth… if it is really something special…

That’s just it about auctions – just like garage sales, thrift stores, and even our sites – you just never know what gems you are going to find!

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