After Chris Stoltzfus started PA Auction Center in 2008, it took real effort to find things to sell in his apartment building next to White Oak Campground outside Quarryville.
But the hard work soon paid off, and the 15,000-square-foot auction house was quick to contain sales of homewares, antiques, furniture and jewelry, which poured into the land of the building.
“The shipments just show up,” said Leon Stoltzfus, Chris’s son who joined the business in 2012 and described his father’s early efforts to get it started.
As auction activity continued to grow, PA Auction House swung into the market for a new property, eventually finding something in Blue Ball with nearly 10 times the space.
“To me, it’s just perfect for us,” Stoltzfus said of the 140,000-square-foot former sewing factory-turned-crafts warehouse that has housed the auction house since fall 2020. PA Auction Center bought the property in June 2020 for $2.15 million. .
In the new building at 1141 Wea Wit Drive, the PA Auction Center has been able to expand comfortably, establishing a regular auction schedule that includes sales of restaurant equipment, coins and jewelry, and construction equipment. There is also a monthly gun auction which typically sells 400 guns.
Live auctions, which can attract up to 1,000 people, were held alongside online auctions, which broadened the pool of buyers for the auction house’s ever-growing variety of wares.
“At home, we have construction equipment, firearms, taxidermy: there is not much that we do not sell,” he said. “We’re probably the most diverse auction company out there.”
This diversity will be on full display this weekend with the sale of 18 works by Abner and Aaron Zook, twins who specialize in sculpted and painted scenes of rural life. Zook’s photo auction will cap off a two-day sale that includes a collection of antique gas pumps and vintage gas station signs.
Abner and Aaron Zook were born in Leacock Township in 1921. The Zooks were raised Amish, and although both eventually left the Old Order Church, their work often recreates scenes from their childhoods, including harvesting and barn farms. Aaron Zook died in 2003 and Abner Zook died in 2010.
Most of Zook’s photos sold were previously on display at Good N Plenty, the Smoketown restaurant that closed in December. Four small works by Aaron Zook were added less than a week before the sale. PA Auction Center has already sold several artworks by Zook, including an “Auction Scene” by Abner Zook that sold in February for $30,000.
Leon Stoltzfus, who was born into an Old Order Amish family but never joined the church, says he has witnessed first-hand the renewed interest of art collectors in the artistic representation of Amish Life by Zook.
“More and more people are familiar with (the Zook photos) and want to collect them, adding more buyers to the market – and the prices are going up,” said Stoltzfus, whose parents are members of the Old Order Amish church. .
The sale of Zook’s photos will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday at the PA Auction Center, 1141 Wea Wit St., East Earl, behind the Town Hall Restaurant. The sale of vintage gas pumps and signs will begin at noon Friday and resume at 9 a.m. Saturday. Both sales will include live and online auctions. Auction catalogs and additional auction information are available online at paauctioncenter.com.