Peter Love reports on the biggest veteran sale of 2020, staged online by Kurt Aumann and his team, that took place on July 14th.
This event – the biggest veteran sale of 2020 – was originally planned for late April as a ‘live’ and online sale, but was delayed until July due to Covid-19, an an online-only event.
The sale was nothing but exhaustive, with videos being shown of the sale lots that had been demonstrated at the Aumann Auctions open weekend, held not long before the sale started. The sale was hosted by Kurt Aumann, IHC veteran expert Dan Boomgarden and others, and presentation team was entertaining and informative.
The first lot was a 1912 Imperial EB tractor, made by AH McDonald & Co of Melbourne, Australia, which had been supplied new in 1912 to a farmer from Phillip Island, Victoria. The vehicle’s two-cylinder vertical gasoline/kerosene, 20hp engine engine is connected to a three-speed transmission, and this machine is one of only five to survive. The tractor came to the UK and was rallied, perhaps just once, by the Ward brothers at Tractor Fest in 2014. After some intensive bidding, the hammer fell at £229,914.
The surprise highlight in the sale was the very rare, 1913 Twin City 15, No.TD5022. This was purchased new in Macomb, Michigan, by Deneweth Farms for its custom threshing business. Then, in 1917, Deneweth Farms was contracted by the US government to help build the Selfridge Air National Guard Base. The tractor was used for pulling a road-grader to build and maintain the runways, in support of the First World War. Once the war ended, the tractor was abandoned and sat derelict for many years. Then, in the early 1990s, the Deneweth family sold it.
Twin City built 478 15s but only 25 were TD models, with the cross-motor engine. This one sold for £255,217, after 154 bids had been placed.
Later, a Twin City 40 wreck was another in the sale to do better than expected. The 40 was available in 1909. The earliest examples boasted a full cab and canopy, and were marketed more towards ploughing, threshing and road building. Of the 830 Twin City 40 tractors built, there are only 17 known examples left. These tractors were eventually built in four sizes for several types of work. Pallets of loose parts were included with this project tractor, which sold for a remarkable £66,105.
International Harvester Co. introduced the Type A gear-drive tractors in 1907, and production ran until 1911. Manufacturing was split between the Upper Sandusky and Akron plants, with 607 being built in all. IHC offered the Type A in 12, 15, and 20hp sizes, plus two different transmission arrangements. This tractor, no. 2415, was built with the much rarer, two-speed forward and friction reverse – only 65 Type As had this transmission, and all were built at the Upper Sandusky plant.
According to the International Harvester production ledger, this tractor was shipped to Quincy, Michigan when new. The ledger also confirms that the 12hp engine, No. CB306 is original to the frame. This tractor came from the upper New York state Erdle Collection, and is thought to be the only known 12hp Type A in existence. It started easily, handled very well for an early tractor and made £246,848 after 154 bids, but the new owner will earmuffs when driving it!
One of the nicest-looking tractors in the sale was the Emerson-Brantingham 12-20. This manufacturer dates back to 1852, and was one of the veterans in the farming equipment business. After buying out the Gas Traction Co in 1912, it was launched into the gas tractor business. Three years later, the Model L was introduced with a Buda, four-cylinder engine. The tractor here – No. 20400 – came from the George Schaaf collection where, in 2016, it underwent an extensive and excellent restoration. However, the machine eventually sold for a disappointing £91,647.
Another machine to catch the eye was the only known example of a Kardell (No. 10041). Powered by a four-cylinder Midwest engine, this tractor had enough power to pull a two-bottom plough. One feature you’ll notice is a unique set of spring-loaded lugs which are detachable without tools. It’s one of the very few Missouri-built tractors; they were assembled in St. Louis along with the Kardell truck.
This tractor was originally in the Gary Parker Collection in Indiana, and underwent an extensive mechanical and cosmetic restoration while part of the Schaaf collection. During the renovation, a mechanic noted the engine was ‘like new’, and that it still had assembly marks from the factory! The tractor sold for £79,494, which was less than it made last time – AA has sold it three times now!
Another tractor from the Ward brothers’ collection was the ex-Hunday/Staplehill Saunderson Universal G, with its two-cylinder petrol/paraffin engine, three-point suspension, worm steering and three-speed transmission. In 1916, the Universal G was reconfigured into a conventional layout, with the radiator at the front and the driving position at the rear.
The G was the only Saunderson model in production during WW1, and 400 were supplied to the Ministry of Munitions. Mr Bingham, a Lincoln farmer, originally owned this example, and it was purchased by pioneer collector, Derek Hackett, in 1958. In 1968, Derek sold it to John Moffitt, and it became part of the famed Hunday Collection. It sold here for £42,676, attracting 68 bids.
Another tractor that Aumann’s had sold before was the Galloway Farmobile (No. 121-J4-179). It’s one of few to exist, and the company went bankrupt in 1920. This restored tractor has lineage through the Schaaf and Erdle collections, and it sold for £87,862 after 64 bids.
The ‘sleepers’ in the sale were the Minneapolis Threshing Machinery Company pair. The 22-44 was introduced in 1919, and was an upgraded replacement for the 20-40 model, with a slightly larger engine that produced 46 belt horsepower during its Nebraska Test. This tractor, No. 5561, wears an older repaint, but was in great running order. With the emergence of the Nebraska Tractor Tests, many tractors of the time were re-rated to match their actual horsepower capabilities. With a fine video of the tractor working well, this machine sold for £62,758, following 90 bids.
Minneapolis began marketing the 35-70 in 1920, which was a re-rated 40-80 with a few other minor changes. The tractor performed well at the Nebraska Test by developing just over 74hp on the belt, and nearly 50 drawbar horsepower. This tractor, No. 2802, is an older restoration and comes from a long-time, early collection. It has been run very little during the past 40 years, and it changed hands for £74,473.
The Welsh-designed Case 20-40 was released in 1912, and was produced as late as 1920 with various upgrades. It features a two-cylinder opposed engine design that was much more balanced than the larger, Case 30-60 engine. It utilises a KW high-tension magneto for increased ignition reliability, and a fly-ball governor. These engines were also sold as portable power units. This example, No.12496, wears an older restoration, complete with reproduction roll-down sides. It was bought from the original owners and has been well looked after by the Ashworth collection. The plough guide bracket on the belt pulley side of the frame had been removed and was available elsewhere in the sale. The lot sold for £78,657.
Perhaps the bargain of the sale was the yellow R&P 12-20, made in Alma, Michigan. This is the only known model built by the R&P company, and is one of just a few known. There are probably only two in the US plus a few other elsewhere (New Zealand). One of its more unique aspects is the track-pad style rear lugs. It’s powered by a Buda, four-cylinder Model OU engine, and found a new owner for only £12,950.
The 1917 IHC Mogul 10-20 no. BC652, is the 151st tractor built, and said to be the earliest known model in preservation. The tractor was bought by the current owner in 2003, and came from the John Tysse collection in Crosby, North Dakota, via John Stephenson in Yorkshire. It’s been with its current owner for 17 years, and is thought to have spent its working life in Montana.
While in the UK, the tractor received engineering work to the wrist pin (re-sleeved), had new pushrod tubes fitted, a fully rebuilt K-W magneto and correct new-old-stock Champion spark-plugs. It was a regular exhibit at the Casterton Working weekends, and has ploughed at the 2016 World Ploughing Championships in York and the 2019 British Ploughing Championships at Lincoln. It sold for £35,981.
The sale results were very good in places and, for the lots sent to the US by UK vendors, they were satisfactory, but not overwhelming. Some have suggested that a few lots might have made more if they’d been sold here in the UK, given the impressive prices achieved by the veterans at the Cheffins October 2019 sale. Nevertheless, this sale was a very entertaining event to watch, but nerve-racking for some as it went on so long. Personally, I conclude that you can’t beat an auctioneer’s voice hammering the lot down, it’s quicker and more precise, and you know where you are, even if it’s only online.
For a money-saving subscription to Tractor & Farming Heritage magazine, simply click here