We drove out to Madison WI for the day on Saturday and late in the afternoon I was looking at a couple of bikes out front of a thrift shop and a guy walks up and tells me the annual police auction is going on. He said it was supposed to run to 9pm (it was about 4pm at that time), so I went into the store to find the Mrs and said we're going to the auction. So off we went. Paid the $5 parking fee. Went in. Too late. The auction was already over. Bummer.
So we wandered around a bit to look at the leftovers and to see what a few of the remaining bidders were loading up. One bidder had probably 200 bikes stacked up on top of his pickup and small trailer, I wish I'd taken a picture of it. I'm wondering if he even made it home. Buried deep in his load I saw an old Hiawatha complete with fenders and an original seat on it, looked complete and original as far as I could tell and would probably have just needed a good overhaul and regreasing to make it ridable with maybe just a set of tires.
Most of the bikes there were the usual x-mart type bikes. I saw a few Fuji, some Trek, lots of Schwinns of various vintage. One officer there said most bikes went for $1.50 or less with many left over. All the unbid and unsold bikes were being shipped elsewhere (Guatemala or someplace). They usually have two auctions a year, but something happened with the Spring one so this Fall one had all the Spring auction bikes in it as well, I think someone said there were over 600 bikes there.
So, now, I've got a new task for myself to find and mark on the calender any police auctions in the region. That was my $5 education for the week.