You are here

Red horses are hot at auction

On January 12, 1996, at a farm auction in northeast Illinois, a 1990 Case IH 7140 front-wheel-drive tractor with only 876 hour sold for $60,000. That stood as the highest auction sale price I'd seen on a 7140 tractor sold in the U.S. That record held for 15 years and 13 days.


Then came January 25, 2011.

The record price of $60,000 fell on a super nice farm auction by Bradley Auction Service in Ottawa, Illinois. A 1989 Case IH 7140 four-wheel-drive tractor with 4,001 hours in very good condition sold for $61,500.

This is just one more example showing clearly how increased premiums are being paid for used tractors in very good condition.

“This is just one more example showing clearly how increased premiums are being paid for used tractors in very good condition.”

But the 7140 wasn't the only hot-selling red tractor on that auction.

A 1979 IHC 1486 tractor with 3,600 hours brought $20,000, making it the second highest selling 1486 I'd seen. The only higher one came back on a January 10, 1997, sale when a 1981 IHC 1486 with 2,278 hours sold for $20,100.

The thing that really grabbed me about the 7140 selling for $61,500 was the 4,001 hours on the tractor. Certainly low, but not what you'd call amazingly low by any means. It was just a really nice, well cared for 7140.

The price guide is here

Machinery Pete's 528-page 2010 Auction Price Guide lists over 18,000 auction prices on a wide range of farm equipment manufactured from the mid-1970s until today. It is the absolute last word on auction values based on actual auction bids. Price: $19.95 plus shipping and handling. To order, call 800/678-5752 or visit

The number of farm auctions early in 2011 has been historically low – the slowest month I've seen in my 21-plus years tracking prices. So when nice farm retirement or estate auctions like the one in Ottawa, Illinois, do come along, buyers are ready.

Gleaner Combine sets record

On that January 25, 2011, farm auction in Ottawa, Illinois, a 2002 Gleaner Model R62 combine with 2,154 engine hours (in very nice condition) sold for $92,000. That is the highest auction price on a Gleaner R62 since January 22, 1996, when a 1994 R62 with 136 engine hours sold for $98,500 on a sale in southwest Minnesota.

So with an eye on the number of hours, I went back through 15 years worth of auction prices on Case IH 7140s. I dug out a list of all the 7140s that sold over the years with between 3,000 to 5,000 hours. I've compiled those numbers in the table on the previous page.

Notice how many 7140 tractors sold for $50,000 or more from 1996 to 2007. Just one.

Now focus on the top part of the table and see how many tractors since 2008 sold for $50,000 or more. Four out of six.

That is the same story I've been weaving for quite awhile now. It certainly shows up in these numbers.

Greg Peterson

Greg Peterson is publisher of, which tracks auction prices on all types of farm equipment, plus free dealer and upcoming auction listings.

A one-year online subscription is $69.95. A one-week subscription is $10. Read more in his weekly column at

Phone: 800/381-0423




Read more about