Cambs auction house sells tractor for more than the price of a house

A 40-year-old tractor sold at auction for £214,400, which the auction says is a British record for a modern classic machine. The sale price means it is sold for not much less than the price of a house in some parts of Cambridgeshire.

The tractor was sold at the Cheffins auction ground in Sutton near Ely in Cambridgeshire this month, where its pre-auction estimate was £120,000-140,000. It was bought at auction by 60-year-old Tom O’Connor, who grew up on a farm in Ireland and later became a collector.

The 1982 County 1474 ‘Short Nose’ tractor would have cost around £20,000 when bought all those years ago. Mr O’Connor, who owns a utility company and lives near Manchester, said: ‘I’ve lived in the UK for the past 30 years and collecting those Fords we had when I was young is something something I always aspired to do.

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“Luckily, I am now in a position in my life where I can do that. This particular county had been perfectly restored and it was really what I was looking for.

“It’s getting harder and harder to find people who can do a good job of restoring these tractors, so I was looking for a really clean example, and that’s what it was. I have built a new shed on the farm for my collection and the county will live in it, I intend to keep it for the next generation and do not intend to sell it anytime soon.

“I started collecting quite late in life and now have a dozen tractors in my collection, a few of which have been restored.”

Oliver Godfrey, Head of Machinery at Cheffins Auctioneers, said: “The market is alive and well, in fact thriving, as collectors still have money in the bank which they want to invest in something tangible. Something they can see, use and enjoy.

“Collectors are getting younger and younger, so the market is really focusing on tractors and machines from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, because they’re looking to buy back some of their youth. It’s impossible to put a price tag on the value of nostalgia.

Auctioneers said the most expensive tractor ever sold was a 1903 Ivel farm engine, which fetched £328,600 at Cheffins in 2019.

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