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Auction anniversary

Agriculture.com Staff 11/13/2008 @ 12:30pm

November 1989.

I can't believe it was 19 years ago this month that I got into this business of tracking auction sale price data. How did I get started? With the used PC I bought with a five-inch floppy disk drive, the used fax machine I bought off a local bank and a used yellow office chair our church was happy to let go. I was a young 23-year-old kid who knew he didn't have many answers. But I did have questions.

What did it sell for?

I knew what I had to do. Get on the phone (no email then) and talk with auctioneers, a lot of them, all over the place. Every day. "What did that tractor sell for?" "How about that field cultivator?" "What condition was it in?"

Go to bed. Get up. Repeat.

It amazes me how much more complicated life has gotten over the last 20 years. I remember when I was going to college in the mid 1980s, I didn't decide on a school until the end of May during my senior year of high school.

Now I find myself with a daughter who is a senior in high school. She's been looking at colleges for over a year already. Applications online, early deadlines, deadlines for early deadlines. On campus interviews in February, more online forms to fill out and submit.

At least the cost of college hasn't gone up in 20 years.

I jest.

With everything changing around us so fast and so dramatically, I guess I'm finding more and more comfort and I'd have to say more and more fun in the same daily routine I've had now for 19 years.

What did it sell for?

The beautiful thing about auctions is how very honest they are. Put a piece of equipment up for sale, open up the bidding, gavel falls, boom, that's what it's worth on that day in that area. Auctions are like mirrors, they reflect reality.

The past 12 months is a perfect example. Commodity prices zoomed higher late last year. New farm equipment prices sped higher too and, in many cases, sold out far in advance. The number of farm auctions were very scarce at a time when more folks were looking to buy used equipment. So what happened?

Auction sale prices pushed 15% higher across the board on all types of used farm equipment.

Here's an example. I pulled some data from the calculator pricing tool on my Web site for JD 4455 tractor values:

Untitled Document

Calendar Year

Average Auction Sale Price

Average Dealer Advertised Price

2008

$43,277

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