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2+2 values surprise bidders

Anteater. Alligator. Snoopy. These are all nicknames -- affectionate or not -- for the unusual-looking 2+2 tractor line that International Harvester introduced at the end of the 1970s.

The last couple of years, I’ve been seeing a general increased interest level in these tractors when they show up for sale on machinery auctions around North America.

Folks just enjoy talking about them and learning more about their history. When these tractors show up for sale in very good condition, folks have pushed up bids on them.

Articulated, with elongated hoods, these IHC 2+2 tractors were ahead of their time in many ways. The line began with the models 3388 (130 hp.) and 3588 (140 hp.), which both came out in 1978 and were made until 1981. Additional 2+2 models followed, testifying to the design’s popularity during this time.

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Price trends at auction

Check out the auction sale price table on the next page to see what IHC 2+2 tractor models in varying conditions have been selling for at auction the past two years.

One of the first auctions where I really was struck by the growing interest in these 2+2 tractors was a June 12, 2010, farm retirement auction in northeast Nebraska.

The sale was for a pair of brothers who served in World War II. They had put their land into the CRP back in the mid-1980s and, basically, just shedded all their equipment. That included their IHC 3588 tractor with only 1,200 hours on it. It sat in the shed for 25 years.

That 3588 sold for $18,500.

See this sale price and other top auction prices I’ve seen paid for IHC 2+2 tractors over the past 17 years in the data table on this page. Perhaps the most eye-catching auction sale prices in this data table are the last two items listed: a pair of IHC 7288s.

Only 19 of these 210-hp. 7288s were ever built by IHC in the mid-1980s. The company was pushing to produce larger-horsepower tractors while on the edge of merging with J.I. Case.

On the February 15, 2002, auction in Illinois, $45,000 was a premium price paid for a 7288 with 2,430 hours. If that same model showed up for sale today at auction, no doubt it would sell higher. Record-high auction sale prices have been set on:

  • IHC 3388 - $21,000

  • IHC 3588 - $21,500

  • IHC 3788 - $26,000

  • IHC 6388 - $21,500

The most valuable model in this bunch was the 1980 model 3788 with only 1,519 hours that sold for $26,000 on an August 20, 2011, farm auction near Conroy, Ohio, conducted by auctioneer Aaron Siefker.

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Collector interest is growing

Again, what I sense is not only rising bids on the very good condition 2+2 tractors, but also just general growing interest.

A couple of winters back, I was invited to speak at the International Harvesters Collectors Club’s annual winter meeting.

Of course, lots of antique Farmall tractors were on display and there was a ton of good antique tractor talk at the meeting. The one tractor that folks were talking about most and were wanting to see up close was a very nice IHC 3788.

That interest adds another group of bidders at auction when a 2+2 goes up for sale: tractor collectors.

There is an obvious growing love for the Anteater, the Alligator, the Snoopy – whatever you choose to call these unique tractors.

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