Casket Auction Takes Place in Dunmore

DUNMORE, Pa. -- Bidders gathered in person and online for an unusual auction in Lackawanna County as coffins were auctioned off to the highest bidder.

For 45 minutes, auctioneer John Cowley took bids at a rapid rate, but it wasn't your normal auction in Dunmore.

"A number of the people that came here have been in the business an awful long time and they've never seen anybody sell 200 caskets in a day," Cowley said.

An insurance company hired Cowley Auction Company to auction off slightly damaged, never used caskets. Bidders from Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey came looking for deals.

There was even an online stream for folks to submit their bids. The company advertised the auction for about a month, gaining lots of attention on Facebook.

"Social media is a great venue for advertising auctions," Cowley added. "We've done direct mail. We did a lot of social media, some newsprint, and it worked out beautifully."

The comments on Facebook varied. One user considered the casket deals "to die for."

"This one has been very, very fun," Amy Gearhart of Cowley Auction Company said. "There's been a lot of people curious about this. It's just been a lot of fun. One gentleman said this comment with the sleep number because my back's going to get really stiff. That was probably one of my favorites with this one. "

There were 200 total caskets inside a warehouse in Dunmore. All of them were auctioned off in about 45 minutes. One 15 year old actually purchases caskets to make boxcars out of them.

"We basically make a car out of them," Kyle Sims of Shickshinny said. "We cut the top out, cut the bottom out, build the frame. We weld the frame together, mount the motor, set the casket on top of it, and bolt it down."

Most of the bidders were from funeral homes. As for Kyle, he says he attends a few auctions a month. Transforming coffins into cars is just a hobby he and his uncle recently picked up, so if you see a coffin on wheels on the street in the Shickshinny area, you're not going crazy.

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