THORNDIKE — Between 250 and 350 people gathered at Bryant Stove Works Oct. 23 to bid on over 800 items that the late Bea and Joe Bryant had collected over a lifetime together. They had a notable collection of old refurbished stoves, one of which was featured in Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad.”

Prospective buyers were allowed to walk through the large complex, which was a maze of old stoves that led into several areas where the couple kept their vast antique collections.

One stove sold for $10,000, auctioneer Rusty Farrin said. The Farrin’s Country Auctions owner said there were people at the event from as far away as the West Coast. A person from Oregon spent $50,000.

He said it was also a chance for locals and people connected with the family to take home mementos of the Bryants. Everything in the auction sold. The 13,000-square-foot property is listed for sale through Mainstream Real Estate Co. for $475,000, the only thing that was not auctioned.

Two men look at items to be sold during the Bryant Stove Works auction Oct. 23 at the Thorndike property. Photo by Kendra Caruso

The couple’s son, Roy Bryant, said it was a bittersweet day, but he was glad to see some people he had not seen in many years. The decision to hold the auction was made by the couple before their death, he said, and the family was respecting their wishes by having the sale. Proceeds will be split among the beneficiaries.

Having spent a few years as an antiques dealer himself, Bryant said he was always amazed at the items his parents collected. Because they had a hard time letting items go, they did not sell a lot from their collection over the years, he said.

A young boy looks at items to be auctioned off at Bryant Stove Works Oct. 23 in Thorndike. Photo by Kendra Caruso

Bea was an avid button collector and was a member of button clubs. Joe refurbished the stoves the couple collected and had some patents on devices he designed, the most notable being a sand spreader that allows the driver to release salt and sand evenly over the road from the cab of a truck.

The couple ran the stove shop as a museum and would proudly take people on tours of the property that featured Model T Fords, old stoves, dolls, buttons, old music devices and other items, Bryant said. Bea would run the books and Joe would repair antique items they collected.

Joe’s father was a blacksmith, a legacy that has been carried down through the generations. Bryant does some custom metal fabrication and his brother Clayton builds custom wrought iron chandeliers.

He describes his mother as someone who always found interests in common with people she met and could connect with others in a way that changed them.

Bryant appreciates the community, patrons and friends of his parents who stuck by them and helped keep their dream alive. Without them his whole life would have been different.

“We as a family are very appreciative for everything everyone has ever done,” he said. “Without them Mom and Dad wouldn’t have been able to have their dream.”

Photo by Fran Gonzalez

Photo by Fran Gonzalez

Photo by Fran Gonzalez

Photo by Fran Gonzalez

Photo by Fran Gonzalez

Photo by Fran Gonzalez

Photo by Fran Gonzalez

Photo by Fran Gonzalez

Photo by Fran Gonzalez

Photo by Fran Gonzalez