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Salvage yard auction in Adams draws large crowd Saturday


ADAMS — With 60 years’ worth of cars, trucks, machinery, buses and everything in between for sale Saturday at Dobbin’s Auto Salvage Yard, the masses came to find their deal.

At least 400 people came to the salvage yard off Route 11 to put in their bids, with cars parked about a mile around the yard site. The attendance estimate does not include a number of people who put in their bids online.

The auction marks the retirement of the yard’s owner, Gordon O. Dobbin. Through the morning and early afternoon, bidders purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars in items.

Leading the bidding was Jack Lyon, president of the auction house Alex Lyon & Son, Bridgeport, who quickly moved through the hundreds of lots.

“Where are you going to buy this anywhere else?” Mr. Lyon asked during one of the listings in the yard’s garage. “You going to find this at another auction next week?”

About 10 a.m., Mr. Dobbin said that he liked the turnout and Mr. Lyon’s work, and that he saw an even spread of items sold above and below retail.

“It’s excellent,” he said. “Wonderful crowd.”

After about an hour working around the office and garage, he and Mr. Lyon hopped into a truck to cruise the yard and survey auctioning the lots.

Among the most active buyers Saturday was Zack D. Newton, who came from Georgetown, N.Y., for the auction. By about noon, he had spent $15,000 to $20,000 to buy about 15 buses, and said he planned to buy more.

Mr. Newton, who owns Newton’s Salvage Yard, Georgetown, said each one could generate a profit.

“You gotta be in it to win it,” he said.

Mr. Newton, who said he attends 15 to 30 auctions per year, called the yard’s bus collection one of the largest he had ever seen.

Sitting on the bumper of a rusted Buick, John Wilson, Cazenovia, was less enthusiastic about his purchase of headlights for $10. He said he was not sure how he would use them.

“That’s what happens when you raise your hand when you shouldn’t,” Mr. Wilson said, before justifying the purchase. “You’re here ... you gotta do something.”

Also drawing interest was the sale of a set of classic Army jeeps, cargo trucks and tag-alongs, which on Friday drew investigators from Fort Drum’s Criminal Investigation Command. Command spokesman Christopher P. Grey said Friday that he could not comment about the inquiry.

On Saturday, Mr. Lyon told the crowd that the vehicles could be sold, but could not be moved until the Army gave its approval, a process that may take until Tuesday or Wednesday.

“This is your tax dollars at work,” Mr. Lyon said, before blaming President Barack Obama for the delay.

“Somebody voted for him,” one attendee could be overheard saying. “It wasn’t me.”

Mr. Lyon said the winning bidders would put down a refundable deposit of 10 percent of the purchase price in advance of the approval.

Andrew Poncic, Woodstock, was one of the purchasers of the jeeps. He said he had a collection of about 30 of the vehicles, which he lends out for military veteran events and parades.

“It’s pretty rare to find,” Mr. Poncic said of the jeeps. “It’s a little piece of history.”

Information on the auction company’s website,, listed the highest-selling item of the day as of 2 p.m. as a car crusher, which sold for $40,000. Other highlights as of Saturday afternoon were the sales of a roll-off truck for $28,000 and a hydraulic excavator truck for $11,000, along with a Fort Model T for $9,000 and a Fort Model A for $7,000. In the approximately four hours a Times reporter was at the auction, more than $200,000 of sales were made, with a large amount of items left to be sold through the rest of the day.

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