Tractor Heaven at Spring Antique Tractor Auction

King Auction Services' Spring Antique Tractor Auction in Columbia City, Ind., worth the trip


| June 2000



A 1953 John Deere AO waits its turn in the ring

A 1953 John Deere AO waits its turn in the ring.

It was a clear Saturday morning, the sun was shining, and the air was filled with the sound of engines. King Auction's 13th semi-annual Spring Antique Tractor Auction in Columbia City, Ind., was taking place and it was a huge success. More than 5,000 people attended the late March event to witness the array of tractors, pedal tractors, parts and miscellaneous items go on the block. A total of 2,500 buyer numbers were out, with 28 states and four Canadian provinces represented. This was a 100 percent consignment auction, with tractors coming from Canada to the east coast, according to Don King of King Auction Services. 

A John Deere B 1940 hand-start with cast wheels set the tractor sales in motion, going at $750. At the end of the weekend, 517 running tractors of all makes and models had gone through the sale ring. Deere was well represented throughout the sale, as were International, Case and Ford.

More than 75 parts tractors were sold, with a 1929 John Deere GP standard (sporting a beam front axle and swing-away seat) bringing $6,400. A total of 3,600 items and parts were auctioned as well. Over all, King says, prices were up 20 percent from last year's sales.

The trend in the antique tractor market? Restored tractors are selling for higher and higher prices, but the parts tractors aren't far behind. The rougher, the better.

"They won't even look at a restored tractor," King says with a chuckle. "They want to do it themselves."

Orchard tractors seem to be particularly hot this season. The top price paid on an orchard tractor (a 1960 John Deere 620 G) at Columbia City was $20,500.