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Auction provides opportunity to connect with past generations

KINDRED -- The booming voice of an auctioneer spilled out of the open windows at the Veterans Memorial Building Saturday on an unseasonably warm day.Auctioneer Bob Helbling sold off a collection of thousands of Native American artifacts, a collec...

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A collection of Native American artifacts dating back to the 1920s was auctioned off Saturday at the Veterans Memorial building in Kindred. (FNS Photo by Adam Watts)

KINDRED - The booming voice of an auctioneer spilled out of the open windows at the Veterans Memorial Building Saturday on an unseasonably warm day.
Auctioneer Bob Helbling sold off a collection of thousands of Native American artifacts, a collection that dates back to the 1920s and was found on private land along the North Dakota and South Dakota border.
“They found this stuff years ago on private land usually after a rain or a windstorm,” Helbling said. “They would go out in the fields and they would find it. There was a lot of it at that time. They’d be picking rocks in the fields and come across the hammerstones.”
The sellers are two generations removed from the collector of the lot, who died about 60 years ago.
“The next generation wanted to keep it around because it was grandpa’s or great-grandpa’s (collection),” Helbling said. “As most of those kids have left the farm or left North Dakota, they don’t really identify with this stuff anymore.”
While the sellers may not have a connection to the artifacts any longer, there are still those who have a passion for them.
Andy Westby of Kindred brought his two sons, Cade, 7, and Beckett, 5, to the auction.
“I grew up in South Dakota where we had a lot of natural history and there’s also an Indian reservation area,” Westby said. “My grandpa found a lot of things like this on our farm and those are still in the family. It’s fun just to add a couple more.”
He also was happy to continue a family tradition of auction-going.
“It’s fun to bring the boys to an auction,” Westby said. “The boys are interested in historical stuff and I am as well. So it was an opportunity to get some good stuff.”
One of the hottest items was a box of shells that sold for $2,000, while a hammer sold for $900. Most of the items up for bid were arrowheads and scrapers in frames. Bidders had the opportunity to choose single items from each frame before the frame and all remaining items were sold as a lot. Some single items reached prices of $300.

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