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Treasures of the 'Bus Driver'

The Roger “Bill” Dickenson Collection - July 20-21, 2019

By: Yvette VanDerBrink

Roger “Bill” Dickenson couldn’t go anywhere in Elk River, MN without being greeted by, “Hi, Mr. Bus Driver!” Roger Dickenson loved operating his school bus company and talking with the kids in the area school districts of Elk River and Anoka, MN. He greeted them with words of encouragement every time they rode on his busses. The only other thing he loved as much as his bus company and the kids was preserving and collecting the automotive. He was an avid member of the area historical society and loved to visit swap meets.

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The Dickenson kids all grew up working from an early age in their parents’ music store. When they were old enough, each of the kids started their own businesses. Roger’s brother had three companies; one of which was a bus service. Roger was looking for a business, and their dad instructed his brother to give Roger one of his three companies. Being a good son, he did. Roger took over the charter bus company. He aggressively built the company into the premier bus service serving Anoka and Elk River School Districts. He was always kindhearted towards the children and quite often gave them money when they were getting off the bus to buy themselves a “goodie.” His giving nature went so far as purchasing a new bus and adding signage every time the Land O’ Lakes Choir chartered the bus so it looked like they had their own choir bus like other bigger schools.

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Roger and his buddies quite often would be found at the local Perkins talking about old cars and good ol’ days. Part of the good ol’ days was Roger’s youth growing up working in his father’s music store. Roger shared his father’s love of music. In fact, many old phonographs and player pianos tht will be offered at the auction are from his father’s store. There is even a rare Mills Violin Music Machine that is an award winner.

When Roger retired he sold his bus company and this is when his collection and love of old cars and motorcycles took off. Roger was a fixture at the Hershey Swap Meet in PA, and now with a load of cash, he could collect and buy more pieces for his collection. Over the years, he accumulated many rare car and motorcycles and parts.

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Roger passed away Dec. 10th in 2017, and his family has been going through the collection for nearly two years. When they arrived at his home they were greeted with semi containers and barns packed full of cars, parts, collectibles, motorcycles, and much more. Little did they know, that packed amongst all the clutter were an array of projects and restored vehicles. In the barn that was nearly falling down, they pulled out various early Indian and Harley Davidson motorcycles including a rare 4-cylinder Indian motorcycle. There were also project motorcycles including Wagner motorcycles that were made in St. Paul, MN. Pierce, Yale, Thor, and more frames and parts were found as well.

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The collection also includes a collection of Brass Era cars and parts as well as cars up to the 1970s. Obscure car manufacturers, that are merely a mention in automotive catalogs, can be found in the collection. A 1913 Carter Car, 1914 Saxon Runabout, 1906 Jackson Project, and more are part of the collection. There is even an unusual 1916 Woods Model 3A Mobilette Roadster. Of course, the collection has Ford Model T’s, A’s, and even a beautiful 1936 Oldsmobile Coupe. There are hundreds of brass lights, sheet metal, bodies, and a huge accumulation of parts culminated from years of collecting.

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It appears that Roger bought anything that tripped his fancy, there are slot machines, pinball machines, and many other collectibles included in the sale. There is still more being found, and it is BEST TO BE IN PERSON AT THE AUCTION. There will be online bidding available on vehicles, motorcycles, and certain lots. VanDerBrink Auctions, LLC will be conducting the sale of the Dickenson Collection on July 20th & July 21st, 2019 at 9am each day. The auction will be held at his Brother’s buildings in Zimmerman, MN. Vehicles, parts, and motorcycles will be sold on day 1- July 20th and the collectibles will be sold on day 2- July 21st. With the Spring weather being wet, it has slowed the cataloging process. There are still unfound treasures being found.

For more auction information and pictures go to or call VanDerBrink Auctions 605-201-7005.

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Yvette VanDerBrink- Auctioneer
VanDerBrink Auctions, LLC
The Salvage Princess
The Lil’ Nordstrom’s Gal

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