Farm Tractor Collectibles from MBI Publishing Company with foreward by Roger Welsch

Between the Bookends: Farm Tractor Collectibles from MBI Publishing company with foreward by Roger Welsch


| August 1998



Farm Tractor Collectibles is a beautifully illustrated book written by experts who are collectors themselves.

Farm Tractor Collectibles is a beautifully illustrated book written by experts who are collectors themselves.

Consider this a warning: Even if you aren't a collector, reading Farm Tractor Collection, a new release by MBI Publishing Company, may persuade you to start. 

Anyway, you'll gain a wealth of knowledge about your favorite tractor lines and their corporate histories. This book is suitable for display on your coffee table, but it won't stay there long. Packed with 200 full-color photographs and 50 black-and-white illustrations, it almost brings tractor-related collectibles to life.

Historian-collector-restorer-humorist Roger Welsch puts the subject of collecting into perspective as well as any expert I've read. In the book's foreword, he advises against trying to make sense of collectors and collecting. The collector, he says, has a complete inventory of reasons why he collects, say, brass Minneapolis Moline tractor radiator caps, among them: "...They're a terrific investment... They make perfect Christmas gifts since they can be used as ashtrays or windchimes or even earrings if you don't happen to own a Minne-Mo tractor..." Then there's Welsch's personal favorite collector's rationale: "I eventually want to restore a tractor and the radiator cap just happens to be where I'm getting my start."

"Don't get me wrong - things have their charm, value and story," Welsch continues. "That's why this book is in your hands, after all - so you can look at things. But those of us who scour junkyards and antique stores, bargain endlessly with antique dealers, and stand patiently in the rain waiting for a box of old staplers and letter openers to be raised in the auctioneer's hand because we've spotted, way down toward the bottom, six unsharpened Farmall Tractor dealer's pencils, the excitement lies precisely there - in the game of looking for treasures, in the surprise and delight of finding them, in the thrill and strategy of competing for them with others, and in the final victory of taking those prizes home and adding them to others -- and then telling others about all that... You like to hear or read stories like that, because you have stories, too... I love old tractors and everything associated with them because... well, because I do."

The MBI staff wisely assigned chapters and sections to various tractor magazine editors and writers, instead of placing the text in the hands of one author. For example, writer/collector Ed Bezanson, who writes a column for Antique Power magazine, collaborated with collector Ray Crilley on the Caterpillar chapter. Keith Oltrogge, editor of Wild Harvest-Massey Collector's News, wrote the chapter on Massey-Harris/Massey-Ferguson. And Kurt Aumann, editor of Belt Pulley magazine, assembled the chapter on Minneapolis-Moline. That broad expertise lends considerable credibility to the book.

Other major tractor lines and related memorabilia covered are Allis-Chalmers, Case, Ford, International Harvester, John Deere and Oliver. There's also a chapter on company histories and collectibles of "orphans" (tractors made by manufacturers who later folded, went bankrupt or otherwise disappeared).