On the Auction Blog

Chad Arthur stood in his former office at Arthur Machinery Tuesday with his wife as the auction of the bankrupt machine tool distribution firm he had built into a $80 million dynamo droned on.

Haas, Doosan and Star lathes and machining centers, which had been his premier lines, were selling to the highest bidder.

Bob Arthur, who had started the business with the Miyano line after leaving Behr Machinery in Rockford, Ill., two decades ago, was attending the sale but keeping his distance from his son. The big ARTHUR MACHINERY sign lay upside down in front of the building entrance. A plaque dedicated to Abe Rosenbloom, Bob’s old boss at Behr Machinery, had disappeared from the vestibule.

Businesses come and go. They have a lifecycle. Arthur Machinery died from a lender attack when business collapsed and it could not recover. Now Chad has started fresh, representing DMG in Chicago.

The stellar piece in the auction was a Star ECAS 32 mm Swiss-type CNC, new in 2008 and virtually unused. It was bought by Jerry Kozlowski whose shop MTI/Sigmatek Inc. is located about a mile from Arthur’s warehouse in the same town, Elk Grove Village, Ill. This is the first screw machine for the company. He paid $130,000 plus $18,000 for the LNS barloader. Add a 12 percent buyer’s premium to the Ashman Company auction firm and the package cost $165,750, a savings of at least $100,000 from the new price today, assuming some discounting by the dealer.

Doosan Mecatec 300 twin spindle, twin turret new in 2006, brought $62,000 with buyer’s premium. A Doosan Daewoo DMV 3016 L2 CNC vertical machining center, new in 2005, sold for $28,000.

Haas TM2 4-axis CNC toolroom mill, unused, fetched $17,500 and a VF-5/50 5-axis Haas with CAT-50 spindle, new in 1997, hit $47,500.

I was surprised to see two Remstar shuttle storage systems, new in 2008, bring $40,000 each because similar systems at a Dovebid sale six weeks ago brought about $15,000 each. But auctions are always a little goofy, especially for less mainstream items.

Romas Juodvalkis of Allways Precision, a retrofitter of centerless grinders was delighted to buy a $24,000 Staubli robot for $3500. It as an item buried in the brochure, but Romas knew its history and was just waiting for it to surface.

Arthur Machinery of Illinois is gone, but the vigilant folks with cash ended up with some nice deals at the auction.

Question: Do you think you get more value on equipment buying at an auction or from a dealer?

Arthur Machinery Sign

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