Steel Deals: Rare Deere 4WD breaks the bank

It took four days to complete the sale of the phenomenal Darrell & Lorene Ebbersten collection during a sale held by Polk Auction.

And while the last day was spent selling farm odds and ends, the first couple of days showcased some of the rarest pieces of Deere horsepower recently seen sell at auction.

For example, a couple of John Deere Wagner tractors went up for bid the first day. As background, Deere hired Wagner Tractor Company of Portland, Oregon, to build its first four-wheel-drive tractors. Very few of these tractors were built – and Darrell Ebbersten had two of them.

One was a WA-17, the other a WA-14. 

That WA-17 (pictured above), which had been completely restored, stole the show during auction bringing an unbelievable $148,000.

Its little brother, an unrestored WA-14, sold for $78,000.

Testifying to the keen interest collectors now have in big horsepower from the 1960s and 1970s, a John Deere 8020 (one of just 100 built), in original condition and showing just 7,482 hours sold for $137,500.

And, yes, it ran plus came with original manuals!

Other highlights of the Ebbersten sale included:

• $56,000 given for a restored Waterloo Boy.

• $47,000 for a Deere 4520 with factory front wheel drive (FWD)

• 46,000 for a Deere 6030 complete with cab

• $43,000 for a Deere 4320 that was restored

• $36,000 for a 3020 orchard model

• $33,000 for a 4320 FWD that was restored

Speaking of green horsepower

Decades of John Deere tractors continue to bring surprisingly strong prices possibly due to the fact that commodity prices are so weak that farmers continue to economize by buying solid older tractors. Here are three example of recent sales that bear out my point.

• $41,000. That was the last bid on a 1992 Deere 4960 FWD showing 3,450 hours that sold at today’s bigiron.com auction.

•$43,000. This the final bid on a 1999 8400 showing 8,712 hours that came with a Deere 840 loader with grapple (also selling on the Bigiron.com sale).

• $75,000 was given for a 1997 8200 FWD that had clocked up 5,006 hours during a Sullivan Auctioneer sale in Illinois.

Red 4WDs also bringing big bucks

This past week also saw a fleet of older Case IH 4WDs sell across the country bringing surprisingly high bids supporting my contention that old horsepower is hot right now.

For example, a 2009 400HD that was loaded (high-flow hydraulic package and Michelin 480/80R50 duals) with 3,070 hours sold for $122,000 at the Larry & Monica Wieers retirement auction held in Argusville, North Dakota, by Steffes Auctioneers.

Steffes also sold a 2008 Case IH 385 with just 1,919 hours that was loaded for $99,000 during the Undem Farm retirement auction in Rogers, North Dakota. 

Tale of two Peterbilts

Older (pre-2007) Peterbilt sale prices continue to surprise me. First off, Peterbilts are the Cadillacs of used semis and very much sought after at auction. But pre-2007 Pete prices are very strong as used truck buyers show a strong preference for pre-Tier 4 trucks – especially Peterbilts. 

An example of this was seen in this week’s Bigiron.com sale where a 2005 model 379 showing 800,966 miles and running with a Caterpillar C15 engine (which, along with Detroit Diesels, was the gold standard of pre-tier engines) sold online.

Its final bid was $33,750.

Now, that is a reasonable price based on the sales of similarily aged Peterbilts whose tachs are showing less than 1 million miles.

But during the same Bigiron.com auction, a 2015 model 579 with 558,192 miles sold for $31,051.

Ten years younger with few miles but selling for $2,000 less! Go figure.

Strongest price of the week

The Magnum 225 CVT was a strong seller for Case IH between 2005 to 2011 when it was produced. The tractor’s continuously variable transmission proved to be reliable and certainly was a huge convenience to its user.

The popularity of that tractor was seen today at the Bigiron.com online-only auction where a 2009 version of the 225 CVT sold for $101,250!

That price was indeed strong. After all, the original list price on the 225 CVT was $209,501. It’s not unusual for a 12-year-old tractor to sell for 35% to 40% of that original sticker. But this particular 225 was in pristine condition, came loaded (“all options available for the year,” stated the sales bill description), and was showing just 1,588 hours.

Read more about

Tip of the Day

Sawdust-collection drawer keeps the shop clean

table-saw dust collector Is sawdust a problem in your garage or shop? Give it an easy-to-clean place to fall and keep your work area sawdust-free.

Talk in Marketing