An anonymous buyer in Snyder County paid $3,000 for a KKK robe and hood, far exceeding the auctioneers’ expectations. But the sale made many locals unhappy, with some comparing it to buying bricks from Auschwitz.
“We don’t mean to offend anyone,” auctioneer Dawn Miller said after bringing out the “authentic” white outfit from the mid-1920s during bidding at the Beaver Springs Auction Center on Saturday. Such robes were used by white supremacists to conceal their identity as they harassed black people and Jews.
The item already caused controversy before the auction, with several people, including a respected local pastor, complaining about it. So the crowd of more than 100 people became visibly excited.
Dawn and her husband Frank Miller told local media that with all the outcry and media attention, they expected the garment to fetch at least $750. Their expectations were, however, exceeded by four times.
The robe was gone in just two minutes for $3,000, with Frank saying he “was totally surprised” by the final price. Two people from the audience, five telephone bidders and one person who submitted his offer in advance fought over the item.
A Pennsylvania collector, whose identity the auctioneers refused to disclose, came out as the winner in the end, but there weren’t many in Snyder Country who applauded his success.
A local man told WNEP-TV that “it’s just something that should not be sold.” The Ku Klux Klan hood and robe spread the message of “hatred and I wouldn’t want anybody to make any profit off of it,” he said.
The buyer of the KKK garment “has to be someone with more money than brains. Who would want it and for what reason? It’s like having a brick from Auschwitz. I wouldn’t want it,” another Snyder County resident said.
But Dawn Miller, who has four decades of auctioneering experience, said she didn’t call off the sale because the robe is “a historical item.”
She was backed by one of the unlucky bidders who said he came especially for the KKK outfit, but could only offer $2,900 for it.
“It’s rare to see around here,” the man explained, asking for his name not to be mentioned. “It’s a part of history. You can’t erase it,” he said he would have likely given the robe to a museum hosting white supremacy artefacts if he had won.
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