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See you at the Auction!

Mecum-ShorewoodHave you made plans to attend the Mecum tractor auction in Shorewood Illinois? 175 tractors are up for auction, including the Wayne Greenwood collection.

The auction preview will take place Friday August 5th from 12-6 pm. The auction will start on Saturday at 9 am beginning with memorabilia, then tractors.

Stop by the Steiner Tractor Parts table for a free catalog and say hello!

For more auction details visit Mecum Gone Farmin’

What’s so special about the $40 K Farmall H?

If you haven’t heard the news, a Farmall H tractor sold for $40,000 at the Mecum Gone Farmin’ Auction on November 7. That’s not a typo – it was really sold for forty thousand dollars.

farmall h mecum

After an interview with John Kennay, the man who sold this tractor at the auction, I’ve got the inside scoop on why this tractor was worth so much. Here’s the story.


First things first: this really is an incredible selling price for a Farmall H! There are plenty of Farmall H tractors still around – hundreds of thousands were produced, and here in Michigan you can usually by a Farmall H for as little as $1,000. These tractors are loved by many (my dad included – here’s his story), but I’ve never heard of one selling for more than $9,000 – and that one was something really special. Even a great restoration rarely brings more than $5,000.


What makes this tractor so special is highly original condition. Plenty of people enjoy restoring tractors, making them shiny and new again – but there’s also something to be said for the unaltered original. That’s exactly what you have in this tractor – nearly as original as you could imagine.

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According to John, the tractor was bought new by an elderly farmer from Monroe, IL. The bachelor farmer and his sister ran an 80-acre family farm, with around half of it planted in corn. The farmer used the tractor to cultivate his 40 acres of corn one year, but never used the tractor for farming again – choosing instead to rent out the land. The tractor sat unused and was later passed down to the farmer’s niece, who kept it for sentimental reasons but rarely pulled it out of the shed.


14 years later, John and his father purchased the tractor. They are dedicated Case IH men, using red power to farm 2,000 acres in western Illinois. John and his father recognized that the H was something special and kept it well-preserved. John estimates that in the time he and his father owned it, they got it out only once or twice a year for short rides around the yard.


John’s best guess is that the tractor has only 200 hours on it. The tractor’s condition certainly supports this. It still has red paint on the fan belt and the gear shaft rod. Even the piece of cloth tape that the factory put on to hold the spark plug wires together is still there.

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While John knew he had something special, he never expected the tractor to sell for so much. John and Dan Mecum had originally settled on a reserve of $7,500, but on sale day John and his wife agreed that they would let it go for as little as $6,000. When it came up to the auction block, the selling price hit $10,000 in a heartbeat. The bids climbed to $20,000 so quickly that the auctioneer jumped straight up to $30,000! The bidders soon thinned out, and two buyers marched right up to $40,000. The winning bid went to a man from Connecticut.


So what did John do with his unexpected windfall? John agreed that it felt a little bit like winning the lottery – “I was so happy!” he said. Later that day, John bought a beautifully restored 1206 Wheatland as a gift for his father. “My dad is still farming at age 89,” John explained. “He’s always wanted a 1206 Wheatland,” so when it came to the block John couldn’t resist. Together with his father, John brought the 1206 back to their 2,000 acres in Illinois.


Here’s the moral of the story: if your grandpa’s Farmall H is sitting in the back corner of the barn, untouched and in highly original condition, think twice before taking it in for a paint job!
What a story! Thanks, John for sharing with us. 

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Photos from Mecum.

Know Before You Bid: An Inside Look at an Auctioneer’s Chant

When I tell people that I’m a licensed auctioneer, the first question is always the same – “So, can you do that fast talking thing?” Each auctioneer’s chant is unique, and we’re so proud of them that we show off our chants at our annual conventions – we even have contests! Award-winning auctioneers practice for years to develop a chant that is both understandable and very fast.


If you are new to auctions, the auctioneer’s chant can be confusing at first. Spend some time listening, though, and you’ll catch on soon. A good chant is made up of filler words and numbers. Filler words can range from the basic “bidding now” to the rapid-fire “bada boom bada bing.” Don’t worry too much if you can’t understand the filler – it’s not the point, and auctioneers will often choose nonsense words to fill in the gaps anyways.


Focus on the numbers you hear. The number the auctioneer repeats the most is the one he’s asking people to bid. If you are really lost, attend your first sale with a veteran buyer who can help you. Never place a bid that you don’t fully understand!


Bidding usually starts with many potential buyers, but before long things will narrow down to just two interested folks, going back and forth with the high bid. Others are always invited to jump in, though. The auctioneer may signal that the bidding is coming to a close by asking the crowd “Going once? Going twice?”, “All in? All done.” or “If you’re done, I have to be”.  If no one jumps in to offer a higher bid, that sale will close with the word “Gone” or “Sold,” and sometimes a banging gavel. The auctioneer will then repeat the item number, the bidder number, and final price for the clerk’s records.


All of this happens very quickly. Auctioneers are often paid on commission, and the more they sell (and at higher prices), the more money they make. On smaller lots, auctioneers will aspire to sell an item every 30-60 seconds. At large sales with hundreds of antique tractors, the gavel will usually fall every 45 seconds-2 minutes. Of course, at a smaller sale where one of two tractors are the main event, the auctioneer will slow things down and take his time selling.


In order to speed things up on smaller, similar items auctioneers will sometimes sell items on “choice.” This means that the crowd is bidding on a per-item price, and the winner can select as many items from the group at that per-item price as he wants. Then, the auctioneer will usually offer that price to the second place bidder, who gets a chance at any items he wants at that per-item price. If items are still left, the auctioneer will either repeat this process or sell the remaining items at one group price.



Photo---ashman_416@sbcglobal_net---785495Auctioneers may also try grouping and ungrouping items to see what brings a better price. I see this happen most often with tractors that come with special extras, like wheel weights, a loader or dual wheels. The auctioneer might first see what bids he can get for the items separately – first the tractor, then the extras. He will then add the winning bids for all the items and ask the crowd for a higher bid for the whole package. As long as the auctioneer explains this process before any bidding starts, this is an ethical way for him to sell these items. Be careful, though, before you bid on something sold in this manner – if the extras are attached to the tractor and sell seperately, it will often be up to you and the other buyer to figure out how to get them off!


You’ll find auction-goers to be a friendly group, so don’t be afraid to ask questions along the way if you don’t understand what is going on. A good auctioneer will also do his part to explain unfamiliar things along the way – auctioneers want people to bid confidently! Armed with the knowledge we’ve covered here, you are well on your way to becoming a capable buyer.


Next time I’ll cover some bidding strategies and techniques you can use to get the best deal on auction day. Until then – happy bidding!