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On the Road with Rachel: Mecum Gone Farmin’ Tractor Auction

I’ve just returned home from a weekend at the Mecum Gone Farmin’ Tractor Auction in Davenport, Iowa. What a blast! Suzette Thomas and I represented Steiner Tractor Parts at the auction on Saturday. We got to meet many of you and make some new friends, too. The Mecum auction is one of the better rare tractor auctions in the country, filled with jaw-dropping finds from all around. Here are some of my favorites from the sale:

MM G706 LP

1962 MM G706 LP with front wheel assist. Here’s a picture with the proud new owners, Everett and Diane Hauert. They have a collection of front wheel assist tractors. While their collection is mostly red (IH), they are certainly excited to welcome this prairie-gold beauty to their collection.


IH 1588

This 1974 International 1568 caught my eye as soon as we got on the grounds. How could anyone not notice!? This tractor has a rare V-8 engine and was one of just 862 built. This tractor sold for $36,000 plus the 4% buyer’s premium.


John Deere

This John Deere 4520 drew plenty of attention, too. Notice that it has an adjustable front end and a standard wide-swing drawbar. It is a fabulous tractor with the power steering, dual front stacked weights, side council and dual hydraulics. This tractor also has a rockshaft delete (no 3 point hitch). On Saturday, this tractor sold for $25,000 plus a 4% buyer’s premium.


Case high clearance

Up next on my list is this 1957 Case 400 Super diesel high clearance. This tractor was one of eight built, making it the lowest production tractor at the auction. This tractor sold for $26,000 plus 4% buyer’s premium to a Case collector in Iowa. He, of course, was excited about his purchase.


John Deere 4040 Vegtable

Arguably one of the most rare (and desirable!) tractors at the auction was this John Deere 4040 tractor with a factory convertible front axle. This tractor sold for $24,500 plus 4% buyer’s premium. I forgot to take my own picture at the sale – thanks, Mecum, for lending me yours!



photoAt the Steiner table we handed out catalogs, our new mini-catalog and Wrenching with Rachel DVDs.  We also held a drawing for a free t-shirt every 15 minutes. I enjoyed meeting many of the Steiner customers and people who watch our tractor repair video series and follow this blog.

If you missed us at this show, don’t worry – there’s a full season ahead! Up next on our calendar is the Gone Farmin’ Nashville 2nd Annual Country Classic Tractor Auction, June 5-6. I hope to see you there!


How about you – what tractor events (auctions, shows, etc.) are you looking forward to this season? Let me know in the comments below.



Know Before You Bid: An Inside Look at Antique Tractor Auctions

My favorite way to spend a Saturday is at an auction sale – especially when I’m the one doing the selling! Farm auctions are the family business, and I’m proud to be a second-generation equipment auctioneer. In my next three posts, I’d like to share some insider tips with you about buying an antique tractor at an auction sale. Whether you are a first-time auction-goer or a seasoned bidder, I hope you’ll catch on to the fun of auctions and buy your next tractor at the auction block.


Success on auction day starts before you leave your house. Eat a good breakfast, and dress for the weather. Once the sale gets going, you won’t want to leave for storms or snacks!


Arrive at the sale early enough to prepare to bid. You’ll have to park (often in inconvenient places), view the tractors, register for a bidder’s number, and learn about the terms of the sale before the first gavel falls.


Auctioneers will usually have tractors running prior to the start of the sale. You’ll want to arrive in plenty of time to hear the tractor run and thoroughly inspect it. Decide before the auction sale starts how much you are willing to spend.

 tractors at auction sale

Next, register for a bidder’s number. Expect to show photo ID. Your number, which will be printed on a card or paddle, will be recorded every time you place a winning bid. Because your number is attached to your account, keep track of it. Some people tuck their paddle into their chest pocket or under the band of their hat so that it is always visible to the auctioneer and the clerk.


Also, inquire about the terms of sale (cash, check, or credit card) when you register. Be prepared to pay in cash if you can – it’s a real help to the auctioneer. If you happen to be a tax-exempt customer, many auction cashiers appreciate knowing about this at check-in. Be sure to bring a copy of your certificate for their files.


Finally, find out of there is a “buyer’s premium” or not. A buyer’s premium is an extra percentage (fee for the auctioneer’s services) that is added to your total at the end of the sale. When combined with sales tax, this can add a hefty amount to your bill! Before the sale starts, do the math to convert the amount you want to pay into the appropriate bid. You can even write down some corresponding figures onto a notecard for quick reference during the sale if you need to. For example – a 15% buyer’s premium and a 5% sales tax would mean that:


A $1,000 bid will cost you… $1,200

A $5,000 bid will cost you… $6,000

A $7,000 bid will cost you… $8,400

A $20,000 bid will cost you… $24,000.


Before the auction starts, translate the top amount you are willing to spend into what you should bid (less buyer’s premium and sales tax) in order to avoid making a bid you later regret.


Auctioneers and bidders tend to have very strong opinions about buyers’ premiums. The important thing is to make sure you understand the true price you will be paying before you raise your paddle to make a bid.

dan gingell auctioneer john deere tractor auction

Buying an antique tractor at an auction sale is fun and exciting! Now that you are prepared to bid, check in next week for the inside scoop on the auctioneer’s chant and the special terms you can expect to hear.