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Canadian "Kid" Has Big Antique Farm Collection
Collecting antiques around Arnprior, Ont., has become competitive recently, and one of the “pros” is a young, rising star. At 49, Barry Dean is a kid compared to most of the 125 members of the year-old collectors group, Vintage Iron and Traditions of Eastern Ontario (VITEO), which is dedicated to preserving agricultural artifacts and rural customs. Within just 5 years, Dean has nearly filled a couple large sheds with antique Case tractors, pedal tractors, engines, and most anything ag-related as well as a few side collections such as hockey paraphernalia.
  “I’m fifth generation (farming) and have always been interested in old stuff. I always liked how mechanical things worked,” Dean explains. Collecting and being part of a group is a natural evolution from being in 4-H, then Junior Farmer clubs.
  The collecting fever really started in 2006 when he held a fundraiser as president of a local organization. An auction of pedal tractors raised $30,000.
  As president of M&R Feeds and Farm Supply Ltd. located in Arnprior, Ont., Dean has many opportunities to find treasures when making feed deliveries.
  “I don’t go to auctions or search on the internet,” he says. “It’s all word of mouth. I go and look at it – and then I’ll see 10 or 20 other things of interest.”
  He’s a collector – not a “picker” who buys and sells for profit – so people trust him and are willing to deal with him.
  Dean especially likes it when he finds something other collectors have never seen, such as the 1875 potato picker he recently purchased. He also has a nearly complete collection of Lister engines.
  Another favorite thing is finding ways to display and share with the general public. As a director for the Ottawa Valley Farm Show, which showcases modern equipment, Dean suggested adding antiques last year. His group brought items, and the public loved it. VITEO was asked to return again this year and have been booked for next year.
  Dean and other club members also take items to local fairs and parades. Dean also goes to schools and has part of his collection on display at M&R Feeds, which is helpful when he has an item that needs to be identified.
  One of his favorite things about collecting is the people he meets. “When you talk to older guys, you find out so much more that’s not in books,” Dean says.
  He wants to pass some of that knowledge on to younger generations, so he works with 4-H kids and also formed a vintage garden tractor club that holds pulling competitions.
  As he continues to add to his own collection and starts restoring some items, Dean offers advice to young collectors.
  “Don’t let your collection go,” he says. “Though teens or young adults may lose interest for a while, they will regret it later if they throw it away.”
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Barry Dean, 70 Decosta St., Arnprior, Ont., Canada K7S 0B5 (ph 613 623-7311; mrfeeds@mrfeeds.ca).

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2012 - Volume #36, Issue #6