The recent Cheffins-managed Liddle family sale saw some amazing machinery sold, including a spectacular Country record-breaker!
Some 18 record prices were realised at the Liddell family sale which took place on July 3rd, when the County 1474 short nose stormed to a selling price of £249,312 – an amazing £176,312 more than the previous record for that model!
As it turned out, the ‘sale of the year’ (so far) began at 9am when Cheffins’ Oliver Godfrey started things off at the immaculate Liddell family’s Shrubbs Farm at Sheering, in Essex.
The drizzle had stopped for a short while when the 1983 County 1474 short nose No. 48724 came under the hammer. The tractor was purchased in 1993 and, at one time, the family owned two 1474s. This one was used with a five-furrow Dowdeswell plough and, when the 1991 Ford 8830 Power-Shift (sold at the sale to a buyer from The Netherlands, for £27,000) joined the fun with its huge tyres, it took on the cultivating duties and the 1474 essentially went into retirement.
The County had been fitted with the rare 38in wheels – that extra 2in does so much for the machine’s performance, although it could also be problematic, exerting extra stress and strain on various components. But that’s in the past now and, with only 4,802 hours on the clock of this fine, Ernest Doe-supplied example, it was estimated that it would be very hitting the £100,000 mark at the sale.
Oliver started the bidding at £70,000 and, for a while it stuck at £74,000. But then it was moving again and, once the bidding hit £110,000, that seemed to galvanise things, and it was off. The auctioneer gave each bidder plenty of time to consider their position and, before long, the price had reached an amazing £196,000, and that was it! With VAT and other add-on costs, that resulted in the total selling price of £249,312.
It was certainly a hard act to follow, but there was more to be sold. Next in line was the 1989 Ford Jubilee, with 12,161 hours recorded and an excellent front linkage. The wheels needed repainting but, nevertheless, the hammer fell at £42,000. This is the highest UK price for one of these tractors in this condition, but not a world record.
Then came a very interesting, ex-Frank S Foot, 1966 Northrop 5004/6 prototype that was looking very sorry for itself and was obviously in need of a mechanical rebuild. Despite that, it sold With the price of the 1474 earlier we thought it might make £100,000, but we have to be realistic about these things, yet it still made £74,500 and, with no VAT to pay, its new owner was very pleased with his purchase.
Another interesting machine being sold was a shiny, obviously restored, ex-Canadian 1949 McCormick W4 with the petrol-only engine. Typically I’d have expected a machine in this condition to sell for about £3,000 (it’s not to British specification), however, two bidders decided to battle it out with the result that it actually sold for £7,000!
We also ended up with a new record for an original-style Ford 7000 which, having already had a full engine rebuild, found a new owner for £32,500 + VAT. I really enjoyed the line of fine, original and clean crawlers, but the one that everyone wanted was evidently the County P55 Ploughman that had originally been supplied by AG Potter (Framlingham) Ltd.
The bidding just kept rising for this machine and, eventually, it sold for £10,800. I also noticed a fine Weatherhill 12H loading shovel, which was ex-military and had next to no hours on it. Yet it sold for just £800. It’s so sad that people don’t place more value on British plant of this sort. The final lot of the day was a Fowler VF ‘plonker’, with a Bray blade that looked as if it had hardly been used. The lot sold for a good £7,600, considering its condition.
Bill King thanked everyone for attending as he brought the sale to a close just after 3pm, at which point the sun put in a brief appearance as the large crowd started to disperse. Clearly, hopeful investors are back into buying tractors again, and the world has certainly gone tractor-mad for original-style machines.
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