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March 22, 2006

AK Miller Auction

This is a cool story. And it's true also. I checked it out. Snopes has no clue, but I found different articles describing the serial numbers of the cars sold, prices, etc. Seems fairly well documented. According to The AK Miller Auction:

Consider the strange story of Alex and Imogene Miller of East Orange, VT.

They eked out an existence on a small farm. Alex would scrounge rusty nails from burnt buildings to repair his roof. He drove a ratty VW Beetle, and when it died, he found another even more ratty, and another the rusting carcasses littered his yard.

Alex died in 1993, and Imogene died in 1996. The local church took up a collection so they could be buried in the churchyard, and the state began the process of taking the farm for taxes. That would have been the end of a sad story, except While preparing the estate for auction, the sheriff discovered a cache of bearer bonds taped to the back of a mirror. That triggered a comprehensive search of the house and outbuildings. The estate auction would eventually be handled by Christies, and it would bring out collectors from all over the world.

According to The Tightwad’s Reward:

Let’s face it. A.K. Miller was a skinflint, a tightwad, a finagler, a miser, a person cast from the mold of Ebenezer Scrooge.

Even those who characterize themselves as his friends, who tried to help him and his wife, Imogene, eke small comfort from A.K.’s chosen lifestyle in squalor, say he was devious, deceitful and deserves, despite dispensing pages of religious tracts, to toil the remainder of time in the furnaces below.

He also appreciated fine machinery, coveted it, and attempted, within the perimeter of his peculiar personality, to procure, protect and preserve the finest examples of the Stutz marque and the pieces, parts and literature others would need to do the same.

On September 7 and 8, 1996 Christie’s sold off the A.K. Miller collection to an assembly of committed Stutz enthusiasts and before a throng of curious car folks and Vermonters who’d heard the legend and assembled in East Orange, Vermont to see it in person.

It was an experience that may never happen again, was too good to miss and worth every minute of the three days spent on the fringes of Barre, Vermont.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on March 22, 2006 at 10:26 AM


Was telling a friend about this auction this morning and decided to see what was on the internet about it. Found this site.

I can attest that this is 100% true, as I attended the auction. I had visited prior to Gene passing away (my grandfather was a friend). I was one of the very few people in the world that had seen the collection prior to the auction. I was only 13, but it definatly made an impression on me.

Posted by: Ben on October 11, 2007 at 6:40 AM

great collection and despite popular opinion they were wonderful people. i had seen the collection at various times over the years and would have been even more impressive if mr. miller had not traded, sold stuff off before.

Posted by: keith sparks on March 2, 2008 at 2:22 PM

I visited and stayed with AK and Imogene several times, most of what has been written about them is simply not true. I always found them to be very hospitable folk who lived a simple life by choice, true he was a very shrewd man, also a very religious man, who left all his wealth to the Gideon Church. Not as bad as some people would have you believe.

Posted by: Mike Treutlein on September 17, 2008 at 2:20 PM

I know it is true because he was my mother's cousin. I was at the auction and knew them all my life. I don't know if he quite deserves hell though.

Posted by: Fred on July 30, 2009 at 7:13 PM

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