Vintage Fordson tractor collectors see prices rise at antique tractor auctions
This Fordson, made in Ireland, features unusual rear wheels. It was sold at auction in California in October.
What's a Fordson worth? As with almost any collectible, it depends on the tractor's age, condition and rarity. But one thing's for sure: values are rising, says Jack Heald, national director, Fordson Tractor Club.
"I'm quite often called on to appraise a Fordson at an estate sale or auction," he says. "Many times, a Fordson is inherited, and the new owners have no idea as to its value."
With Fordsons, as with all vintage tractors, prices have risen steadily.
"As recently as 1975, a Fordson could be purchased for 'scrap iron' prices - about $60," Jack says. "Today, that same tractor would easily sell for about $500."
Fordsons produced from 1918 to 1928 usually fall into one of the following groups:
"Say it costs $200: This will get you a 'Mailbox' Fordson," he says. "Basically, it'll be a shell, probably with many parts – carb, manifold, steering wheel rim, Fordson logo seat, water-washer, gas caps – missing. The gas tank is probably rusted through, the radiator cap is gone, and paint? Optional.
"$400: Mostly there, but the engine is frozen. $500: Mostly there, but the engine is free. $600: Mostly there, and looks like it should run.
"$750: Same as above, but actually will start and run. $1,000: Runs and has been painted in recent years. $2,000: Restored, very few parts missing, painted recently and runs.
"$2,500-$5,000: Restored to original, all there – price depends not only on condition, but also age (early models are more valuable)."
A word to the wise: pay attention to the fenders.
"For fenders (beginning with their introduction in 1922), add $100," Jack says. "But be sure that the early fenders are 'square' at the back (later fenders are 'pointed')."
Jack says his appraisals match fairly well with market realities.
"On Oct. 10, we attended the Antique Tractor Auction (mostly 'Cats') at Morgan Hill, Calif.," he says. "There were three mixed model Fordsons, from 1923-25, and one Irish Fordson, which had unusual rear wheels.
"Before we got there, I suggested to friends that the Fordsons would probably sell in the $400-$500 range," he says. "Reports after the sale were that all four sold for about $450."
Increasing prices and scarcity of the more popular vintage tractors is generating more interest in other lines, he adds.
"While John Deere tractors seem to be the most desirable, followed by red Farmalls, others are about equal: Case, Allis-Chalmers, Minneapolis-Moline, Oliver, Ford 9-N's and 8-N's (now becoming quite popular, along with orphans Avery, Massey-Harris, Cockshutt and others)," he says. "The Fordson has always been considered a 'stepchild.' But with John Deere and other popular makes becoming more scarce, especially the unstyled models, collectors are now starting to pick up Fordsons, though at higher prices."
It's a long way from the Fordson purchased in '75 for $59, now selling for $500! FC