The Melba Community Auction is in its 64th year of operation and sees no sign of stopping.
“Melba is the oldest auction of its kind in the United States,” said announcer David Harrington.
The auction brings merchandise and buyers of all varieties each year.
MCA is known for having the hottest bidding on cakes, birdhouses and quilts but this year a pencil made the list.
Many items brought in high bids but none with a story like the pencil.
According to Melba’s Madge Wylie, “Betty Jessen of Nampa was going through her mother’s belongings recently and her husband, Ken, found a memorial pencil from a 1963 Melba football team fundraising project at the bottom of a box.”
The 1963 football team went 10-0 that year and was the only team in Idaho to be undefeated.
Betty’s mother was Bernice Johnston Austed, daughter of Mabel Caldwell Dunning, a long-time resident of the Wilson and Melba area.
The Jessens took the pencil to their dentist’s office where Edith Pease, Melba Community Auction treasurer, works.
The pencil was given to Melba resident Pease who in turn got together with people like Historian Madge Wylie and crafters Margie Jacobs and Stephanie Brisbin and made a shadow box with an old picture and information of the team.
That shadow box sold for $1000 to an unnamed bidder at Saturday’s auction and Butch Frisch, one of the seniors from the 1963 football team, is now the proud owner of the commemorative display.
The Pencil may have been the most interesting story of the auction but not the only big money maker that day.
Of course the two cakes, made by Doris Van Schoiack and Joann Noe, did what they do best and brought in around $850 each again this year.
The tradition with the cakes starts with one bidder purchasing the cake at a handsome sum and then sending the cake back in to be rebid again.
The next bidder keeps the cycle going until finally the bidding slows and the cake is taken home or donated to charity.
In a similar tradition, the birdhouses built for the auction generally bring in a large donation as well.
This year the two birdhouses, built by Lita Hoagland and Deanna Ratcliff, brought in around $1600 combined.
Historian Madge Wylie donated her Melba Centennial book and Margie Jacobs proudly paid $150 for the autographed edition.
Dan Wiebold Ford joined in the action by donating a vehicle the past two years.
This year brought a 1981 Ford F-150 that sold to Jim Hoagland for $1000.
“I think I have bought nearly every vehicle the auction has ever sold,” said Hoagland. “I bought the one last year and a Jeep also.”
Melba Community Auction raises money each year to help with disaster relief for the community.
This year the auction raised around $40,000 for the cause.
Most of the items sold at auction are donated.
The Melba FFA club and Melba Senior Class helped with set up, tear down and helping to load buyer’s items.