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1982 John Deere 4440 with 47 hours

Agriculture.com Staff 02/26/2009 @ 12:30pm

It's true.

The whispers over the last month have been growing about a very unique tractor coming up for sale at an auction on Friday, March 6th in western Illinois. Folks, I've been covering farm machinery auctions for almost 20 years now and I have to say, this is one of the most anticipated auctions I have ever seen.

Why?

Oh, I don't know. It may have something to do with the 1982 John Deere 4440 with 47 actual hours on it that headlines this auction.

My friends Jim and Dan Sullivan of Sullivan Auctioneers will hold this very unique farm estate auction on their auction lot in Hamilton, Illinois. Hamilton is located on the Mississippi River where Illinois, Iowa and Missouri meet.

The 1982 JD 4440 with 47 hours isn't the only super low hour item up for sale on this auction. Others include:

1982 JD 4440 tractor with 692 hours

1982 JD 4440 tractor with 1,843 hours

1982 JD 7720 combine with 477 hours

1982 GMC tandem grain truck with 4,008 miles

1984 Cadillac Sedan Seville with 1,655 miles

Three 1982 JD 4440s with under 1,900 hours, one with only 47 and a 7720 combine with 477 hours? Wow!

Naturally, folks have been wondering, what the heck? How is it this guy had all these unbelievably low hour items? Can those low hours be right? I'm here to tell you folks, difficult as it is to believe, they're all legit.

Remember the Beverly Hillbillies TV show from the 1960s? Old Jed Clampett struck oil, packed up and moved to Hollywood. . . "swimming pools, movie stars."

Well, consider this the tale of a real life Jed Clampett from Illinois. Except this Jed Clampett, small livestock farmer Wayne Crooks, didn't move to Hollywood after he struck oil back in 1981. He stayed put and remained the same unassuming guy he'd always been, complete with his customary outfit of choice, his trusty bib overalls.

The Sullivan brothers knew Wayne for many years.

"We had an 80-acre land auction the last Friday of September last year in Brown County," says Dan Sullivan. "It was a 10 a.m. sale and Wayne was there. I asked him how he was doing? He was wearing the bib overalls. He wound up buying the land. The following Wednesday he died of a heart attack."

That was October 2, 2008. Wayne Crooks was 83 years old.

After the discovery of oil in 1981 on his land, negotiations ensued with oil companies. Henry Energy of Arlington, Texas, reached an agreement with Mr. Crooks in October 1982 for 75% of the oil rights on his 160-acre farm. As part of the agreement, Mr. Crooks retained 25% of the oil rights, plus Henry Energy purchased 800 acres of prime land for him in adjoining Adams County.

But there was one more part to the agreement. Henry Energy purchased a full line of farm equipment for Mr. Crooks, the very pieces of equipment coming up for sale on the March 6th auction.

Still the question remains, why hardly any hours on the tractors and combine?

"He never really attempted farming the land himself," says Jim Sullivan. "He rented it out to a couple different guys over the years. The hours he did put on his equipment was simply to help out his renters."

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