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Kruse marks 40 years of auctioneering

(CIFN photo)

GIBSON CITY – An area auctioneer is marking 40 years in the business and is still going strong.

Bill Kruse was a livestock buyer in the late 1970s when he wanted to do something else like auctioneering. His business mushroomed from there as he later moved to Gibson City in 1984 where he took on an insurance agency and real estate business.

“It’s fun,” Kruse said of the job. “It has just proceeded on.”

Kruse acknowledges the hard work involved, but all of that work allows you to meet some wonderful people along the way and that’s what it is all about in his opinion. Kruse has done numerous farm sales over the years. He was doing 15-20 sales a year at one time and now that number is down to only a few.

“There just aren’t as many farmers out there or people that are retiring,” Kruse noted.

When Kruse first started, he was doing sales for individuals born in the late 1800s and now the sales involve people born in the 1920s and beyond.

“The antique business was doing really good then 2007 hit and everything changed,” recalled Kruse. “The secondary market kind of started slipping away.”

A three-foot cast iron squirrel weighing about 40 pounds ranks among the more unique items Kruse has auctioned. He had no idea what the squirrel was used for, calling it a very “unusual” piece.

“I sold it at an auction one day and it brought $1800. I went to the buyer and asked him what it was and it was a counter weight on the old wind mills.”

Kruse purchased a banquet hall on the east side of Gibson City in the 1990s which is known as the Kruse Center today. He also remains busy with the insurance and real estate side of his business.

“I don’t sell as many houses as I used to but I am still very, very active,” Kruse concluded.

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