When Lavern Hennings was born, Babe Ruth was still a year from retirement and Lou Gehrig would still be the 'pride of the Yankees' for half a decade. Kids traded, wheedled and begged for their (and other players') bubblegum cards. For many farm kids, tractor-bound in depressed agricultural areas far from Yankee Stadium, both the money and the leisure time required to collect baseball cards were rare. Bubblegum alone was hard enough to come by. It's doubtful that any of those children could ever have imagined that the tractors which provided them with life and livelihood would someday be appreciated in the same manner as the Great Bambino.
Lavern Hennings, now 67, has been collecting Harvest Heritage, John Deere, and Ageless Iron antique tractor and implement cards since 1993. 'There are other companies that put out cards, but I narrowed it to those three,' he says. '1 stayed with what I liked.'
The cards, all printed with images of vintage farm equipment, just seemed to speak to Lavern. He says his favorite set of cards is Ageless Iron (shown above). 'Ageless Iron is the one I have the most sets of and I like the best. That's because it is strictly tractors - no machinery. I have five complete sets.'
Ageless Iron antique tractor cards were produced by Successful Farming magazine in conjunction with the Goodyear Company. Each card features a full-color photograph of a restored antique tractor. On the back is historical information about the tractor. In addition, the owner of that particular tractor is listed. There were six editions of 36 cards each.
'I also like the John Deere set with the gold embossed card that came with it,' Lavern says. John Deere issued trading cards from 1994-1996. lavern says there were 100 cards in 1994 and 1996, but 101 in 1995.
Each set featured professional sports players with their tractors. In 1994, Jay Novacek (as on card shown on the opposite page) from the Dallas Cowboys, and Nolan Ryan were highlighted on the cards. Reggie Jackson and Richard Petty were on the cards in 1995, and Larry Bird was featured in 1996. Each card back carried information about the tractor the athlete used and some statistics about his sports career.