Vintage tractor collection brings nearly $2 million at Mecum’s Gone Farmin’ auction

Fenders designed to protect low-hanging branches and fruit make orchard tractors look like they're reading for racing | Larry Edsall photos
Fenders designed to protect low-hanging branches and fruit make orchard tractors look like they’re ready for racing | Larry Edsall photos

A Porsche for only $23,000? It’s true. Because when it comes to collectors of vintage farm tractors, Porsche’s appeal doesn’t match that of brands such as Minneapolis-Moline. (Yes, like Lamborghini, Porsche was in the tractor business, producing diesel-powered farm equipment from the 1930s into the early 1960s.)

Among vintage tractor buyers, at least those attending the Charles Schneider Collection sale staged last weekend by Mecum Auction’s Gone Farmin’ division, it was Minneapolis-Moline that was the brand to buy. Five of the top six sales involved the brand that build farm equipment from 1929 to 1963, when it was enfolded into the White Motor Company.

Minneapolis-Moline, created by the merger of three tractor and farm machinery companies, was among the first to produce tractors with enclosed cabs, complete gauge arrays on a dashboard, even heaters and radios.

A 1938 Minneapolis-Moline UDLX, an early cabbed tractor and one of less than three dozen of its model known to still exist, topped the sale with a hammer price of $200,000, a record for a tractor sold at a Going Farming sale.

A 1938 Minneapolis-Moline UTOX, one of only 26 built, brought $150,000. (Mecum reports hammer prices that do not include the buyer’s premium.)

Crowd overflowed the auction tent
Crowd overflowed the auction tent

Also among the top-6 sales at the auction were a Minneapolis-Moline R-Cab at $43,000, a Minneapolis-Moline Twin City JTO at $37,500 and a Minneapolis-Moline Jet Star Orchard at $30,000.

Overall, the auction generated nearly $2 million in sales.

All tractors at the sale came from Charles Schneider’s collection, considered the largest collection in the world of primarily orchard, grove and vineyard tractors, vehicles that have what appear to be aerodynamic, racing-style rear fenders, except they are designed not for speed but to protect low-hanging fruit, vines and branches.

The sale also included a few cars, many signs (several selling for five figures) and tractor parts. Also offered, but not selling, was the Schneider home, barns and 40-acre farm.

In a Gone Farmin’ news release, Schneider called the sale “exceptional” and noted 10 tractor-auction records for the day.

Dan Mecum, founder of Mecum’s Gone Farmin’ division, said the sale was the division’s first of a private collection on-site, and he noted “energy and excitement” at the venue and in the auction tent, with bidders and spectators overflowing onto the lawn.

Top 10 sales, Mecum Gone Farmin’ Schneider Collection

  1. 1938 Minneapolis-Moline UDLX, $200,000
  2. 1938 Minneapolis-Moline UTOX, $150,000
  3. Minneapolis-Moline R, $43,000
  4. Minneapolis-Moline Twin City JTO, $37,500
  5. Ford 9N, $35,000
  6. 1933 Chevrolet Canopy Express pickup truck, $35,000
  7. Minneapolis-Moline Jet Star Orchard, $30,000
  8. Plymouth Orchard, $27,000
  9. Parrett Orchard, $27,000
  10. Porsche Standard, $23,000

(Prices are hammer prices and do not include 5 percent buyer’s premium.)

 

Gone Farmin’s next sale is its Summer Showcase, scheduled for August 5-6 at Shorewood, Illinois, southwest of Chicago.

 

Photos by Larry Edsall

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