One city's junk is another man's treasure

"Imagine riding around in a 1985 Ford van with a wheelchair lift while talking on a new cellular phone about the jewelry, barbed wire and the riding lawn mower you just picked up for peanuts.Sounds pretty cool? It could be reality for any tenacious bidder who shows up at the City of Oak Harbor's annual surplus auction the morning of Saturday, Sept. 30.A plethora of motor vehicles, equipment, computers and weird junk, along with some pretty nice stuff, is going on the auction block at the city municipal shop, which is located at the north end of the city.Large crowds usually don't show up for municipal auctions, so many items sell for well below their value, according to Stephanie Hancock of Herk Hancock Auction Company. The Conway-based company has been conducting auctions all over the Puget Sound region for 25 years.About 100 people were at last year's city auction, including car buyers from as far away as Chicago. Most of the city's retired police cars - the Crown Victorias and Caprices - end up as taxi cabs in big cities.This year there's 13 cars and trucks for sale, from a 1996 and a 1993 Crown Victoria to a 1977 conversion van.The auction includes a motherload of items from police evidence lockers. There's over 75 bicycles of all makes and sizes, many different cellular phones, stereo and camera equipment, and CDs.Anyone with an eye for diamonds and gold might find a treasure. The police evidence includes a small hoard of jewelry, including watches and rings. It's up to the buyer to decide if a piece is authentic.The auction preview is at 10 a.m. and it starts at 11 a.m. The auction company tacks on a 10 percent buyer premium to the bid price of any item.Here's an incomplete list of items at the auction:* Tools include an air compressor, a large four-belt air blower, a hydraulic power unit and conveyor, a Fairbank scale, jacks, wrenches, an air blower and tool boxes.* Office equipment includes many computers, monitors, laser printers, keyboards, electric typewriters, copiers, reel-to-reel recorders and file cabinets.* Miscellaneous stuff includes traffic signals heads, barbed wire, sign posts, color TVs, a broken diesel motor, lawn mowers, a fiberglass boat and patrol car partitions. "

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