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The Metz family says goodbye to its prized collection

Dick Metz sits on the porch with his dog Gizmo in front of an impressive display of antique vehicles, pedal cars, bicycles and more during the viewing of his family’s auction held on Friday. Lauren Tiner. (click for larger version)
July 28, 2010
Dick and Chris Metz of Gilford once had a display room and a driveway filled with hundreds of collectables including antique pedal cars, '57 Fords and more, but the time has come for this family to focus on the essentials.

Close friends and collectors graced the Metz auction last weekend, perhaps the most unique private auction held in the area, with the help of Auctioneer Paul McInnis.

After a health scare about a year ago, Dick Metz said he realized if something ever happened, he couldn't leave his family with over 500 renovated collectables to deal with or get rid of themselves.

He just turned 67, and although he feels his age at times, he said he still has days where he feels 37.

"It really ended up putting the fear of God in me. I didn't want my family to have to do something like this on their own," said Metz. "It will alleviate a lot of pressure monetarily, at least temporarily. It just comes to a point in time physically, mentally, and monetarily when you have got to smarten up and deal with reality."

Just to name a few, items for bid ranged from the 1930s to the '60s and included about 50 antique pedal cars; an award winning '66 Ford F-100 pickup and a '59 and Ford Fairline 500 Skyliner; retro-looking gas pumps; juke boxes; vending machines; a rare ice cream vendor's bicycle cart; and baseball memorabilia such as a ball signed by Babe Ruth and a jersey signed by Joe DiMaggio.

Off the top of his head, Metz said he could list off his five automobiles, yet when it comes to the rest of his collection, which gradually increased over the years, he has started to lose count.

Before his collection grew larger than life, Metz said he always had an antique vehicle or item handed down from one generation to the next to keep and to cherish.

"It has been an ongoing process. I really started seriously collecting in 1983," said Metz. "No one piece is worth more than another to me, although I have kept several pieces here – some of the first ones ever collected."

Metz felt reassured that dear friends participated in the auction, or did so online, to help him chip away at his large multitude of collectables. He said he believed the bidding itself would be a spirited event.

"Even in this economy, it is my true feelings that when the best of the best is available, people will bid," said Metz. "All items here are 100 percent restored. All of them are overly restored. Now a days the quality of paint, chrome, and leather is better than items produced in the '30s, '40s, '50s, and '60s."

Metz described collecting as a disease but said when he started out in the game, he never went for the really nice items first.

"Things are only original once," said Metz, words he has always lived by.

It may be difficult to say goodbye to hundreds of valuable items collected over the years, although Metz said he would rather see his family taken care of and could do without his '32 Ford Deuce Highboy roadster if that's what it comes down to.

Martin Lord Osman
Littleton Chmber
Varney Smith
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