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Harry J. Case

10-13-2012 21:37:12

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I have read many replys to posts about scrappers buying up antique machinery and sending it to the smelters. We all agree that the scrappers are just greedy and care nothing about the historic value of these items. What puzzles me is if the scrappers are only paying scrap prices for these historic machines why don't the historians and collectors out bid them at these sales ? What am I missing here ? Help me out here.

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10-17-2012 18:56:25

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 Re: scrappers in reply to Harry J. Case, 10-13-2012 21:37:12  
Another way at looking at scrapping tractors is that it eventually will increase values. Less tractors more valueable a collection could be. Look at what happened war time when all the steamers and such went to war for meltdown. The tractors that survived became the valued ones. It not the best deal because that's where Our Sawyer massey ended up. Everyone has opinions!

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10-17-2012 15:18:10

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 Re: scrappers in reply to Harry J. Case, 10-13-2012 21:37:12  
I have noticed tractors going to scrap in our area too. In general, I get the feeling that collecting has started to decline and I knew it would be a matter of time. This is most likely due to the downturn in the economy in the past few years and the aging of folks who remember the equipment when it was new. Also, the younger generations (I"m 35), have to overcome the high cost of the hobby. I used to have over 40 tractors but have reduced my collection in the past few years because I bought a new house, had a daughter and have another baby on the way. I think ultimately I will have a small collection of nicely restored tractors in similar fashion to you.

Restorations are expensive and lots of young folks don"t have the patience or motivation for a long term project. Maybe they aren"t hearing about tractor auctions via Facebook or Twitter? Haha. Also, I"ve noticed that my excitement for sitting around tractor shows chatting about tractors has declined over the years. I focus more on tractor pulling now, and choose to restore tractors with the intention of using them on the track. The excitement of competition, tractor set up (I happen to be a mechanical engineer), and the myriad of factors that go into a successful hook is what keeps me motivated. I have noticed more young folks around the pulling track than walking the tractor shows.

All that being said, there are certain tractors we have in our collection that are well worth restoring, such as our comfortractor. These are longer term projects since parts have to be rounded up and extra care (time) is spent in the highest quality of restoration. It is difficult to make money doing restorations since the average cost of refurbishing by far outweighs the value of the average tractor. The exceptions are the rare tractors, but then again the initial cost for those is higher. There may be sentimental value in restoring common stuff (Farmall H, JD B, Allis WD, etc.) that outweighs cost, which is fine if the tractor is kept long term.

Best regards,

Zack Peterson
Author/Publisher: The Antique Tractor Pull Guide

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MM diesel

10-17-2012 16:16:28

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 Re: scrappers in reply to MMZAck, 10-17-2012 15:18:10  
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I can agree with most of what you said. I also tend to be more into tractor pulling. Shed space for the overhuals seems to be my limiting factor. We farm for a living, and the real farming tractors NEED to be worked on first. It seems like every year we get 2 new projects and get 1 project finished. Thats why we have about 15 tractors waiting for their turn in the shop.

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10-17-2012 16:33:10

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 Re: scrappers in reply to MM diesel, 10-17-2012 16:16:28  
Wow, nice window in the side of the block! Haha. I had a Jet 3 with just about the same window and always thought it was funny the rod tore the engine tag off too. It's like MM never saw that coming.

I am limited on shop space as well. I do all of my work in a two car garage at my house. Sometimes it is like climbing around in a jungle gym. My dad has a bigger shop if any heavier work is to be done but he's a ways away.


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10-18-2012 17:27:03

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 Re: scrappers in reply to MMZAck, 10-17-2012 16:33:10  
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Found a picture of my Jet 3 engine.

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10-14-2012 20:13:20

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 Re: scrappers in reply to Harry J. Case, 10-13-2012 21:37:12  
Fellas, I agree with most of what is being said! Its so sad to see much of this eq. go to furnace. I would love to save all my favorites ( anything l.p.) but its impossible and I agree with young people its hard on a budget to get to envolved. As to making money on these oldies I have no talent. I have four reds and a orange restored and am working on my UTN. If I told of money invested you would have me committed but they were family tractors and replicas of family tractors and I have emotional tye to them and my Dad who passed when I was 19. So, I will have saved 6 oldies but the cost I will never recoup but my heart is satisfied and fulfilled when I look at them. I am 67 still working and using some retirement monies to restore ,If my health holds I'll keep working till 75 so I can save a few more. What I have is a L.A. Case l.p.,Farmall H. FArmall SMTA l.p., Farmall 400, Farmall 560, M.M. UTN l.p. Again I can't justify the money but I can Justify the emotion and at this stage of life I prefer restoring to trips to Europe or Casino's So not sure what I'll do after M.M. UtN ,maybe a 806 hummmm If your interested I can post pics,but don't want to bore. Best, Tony

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10-14-2012 19:06:57

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 Re: scrappers in reply to Harry J. Case, 10-13-2012 21:37:12  
I agree with everyone moneys tight for a lot of people and even if you can get one bought cheap you can get a lot of money wrapped up in a tractor very quickly. Im a young guy only 21 from NW Indiana and have collected tractors with my grandpa since I was a little kid and continue after his passing. Ive been to some of the bigger MM auctions this year and might see 4 or so people around my age. There doesn't seem to be any interest from people around my age or younger. It seems as if people are to busy with complicated technology to appreciate the simplistic longevity of tractors and equipment of days gone buy. Hopefully my generation will come to appreciate old tractors and equipment before the scrapers get all of them. Its sickening to see anything go to the scrape because once it gone its gone for good. Im gona do my part to save as many peices of our history as I can but its hard just starting out and working on a limited budget. Sorry for rambling just wanted you guys to know there is one young guy out there that is involved with the hobby Im sure theres more but getting fewer and farther between.

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Harry J. Case

10-14-2012 18:18:59

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 Re: scrappers in reply to Harry J. Case, 10-13-2012 21:37:12  
Thanks guys for the prompt replies. After some thought I know I should have had the answer to my question. I have been restoring a 550 Oliver for a couple of years and have spent way more on it than it would possibly bring on a sale. Also I'm about to experiance first hand outbidding scrappers on a tractor that is way over the hill. Just found my old GB on a sale and will probably go nuts when the sale starts. I'll let you know how that turns out.

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10-14-2012 18:46:22

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 Re: scrappers in reply to Harry J. Case, 10-14-2012 18:18:59  
One thing to rememeber, Value can be far more than "cash value" that something can be sold for.

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10-14-2012 14:44:17

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 Re: scrappers in reply to Harry J. Case, 10-13-2012 21:37:12  
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I'll make a few comments..

Some scrap buyers seem to be paying record prices,often over $200 a ton for stuff..My local yard only pays $150-200 ton for prepared hauled in to them..These junkers often pay $400-700 each for tractors that not that many years ago used to sell for $100 each or less..

Back in the 1970's I used to go to central-western Kansas and buy running tractors for $100-200 each and gas was only 50 cents a gallon..

The scrappers are mostly buying non running tractors with stuck engines,rotten tires,and often missing parts..Sometimes though,it seems like some pretty good ones sell for scrap..

The cost to drive a pickup and trailer to a sale is unreal..The 260 mile round trip when I got the GVI MM at Pomona,KS cost me $130 just in gas..

The cost to restore a tractor is getting unreal...Just putting new tires on a tractor such as a GVI MM would cost nearly $2000..Used tires are getting real hard to find..Its much cheaper just to buy a restored and running tractor.

Theres fewer and fewer tractor collectors in my area...The ones that do it are mostly in their 50's or older...Young people arent interested or just dont have the money..

Theres been more MM and Twin City tractors on sales this year than I have ever seen...There was a big sale in Sept near Amarillo,TX with lots of unrestored MM's and most all went for scrap..

I'm still sick over the GVI MM pictured that went for scrap at $600..It looked nice and may have had a free engine..The other two GVI's werent as nice as this one and the one I saved..I'm retired now and am on fixed income so have to watch my spending some..

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10-14-2012 14:17:30

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 Re: scrappers in reply to Harry J. Case, 10-13-2012 21:37:12  
You also have to remember that the best and hard to stuff usually survives and brings more than scrap (tractors anyways equipment not so much unfortunately). I hauled home a load of stuff yesterday that isn"t MM but I didn"t want to see junked, especially since it was a museum collection that was forced to sell stuff due to lost storage space.

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Howard H.

10-16-2012 11:44:59

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 Re: scrappers in reply to 71ford100, 10-14-2012 14:17:30  

Hey Lance!

I'm glad to hear some of the implements went to a good home! A friend of mine was there and said they were going for almost nothing. Did you get the two way JD plow?? And/or the steel wheel intl oneway??

Sort of weird story - had to have a guy with a loader help take a 283 cotton basket off my grandpa's 4020 yesterday. Turned out it was the same guy that hauled off 2 old implements from my grandpa's place by mistake to the scrappers a few weeks ago.

I had never met the guy in person, but was pretty upset about losing those two implements (since my uncle was supposed to have clearly marked everything I was going to keep), but the old fellow was so helpful, and elderly, and so colorful and hardworking, it was hard to be mad at him for long...

Anyway, as I told him how much I hate scrappers & salvage yards, he started in with his tale of woe about seeing a ton of good long sheet tinwork at the same salvage yard that he had hauled my implements to and he was really disgusted that those yard guys wouldn't sell it to him!! He went on & on about how that was good tin and he could put it to good use! So at least he got a taste of what is like... ha...

I don't know what the answer is in general - I'm saving as much as I can and glad ya'll are, too...


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10-16-2012 12:32:32

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 Re: scrappers in reply to Howard H., 10-16-2012 11:44:59  
Both off those were things I didn"t bid on. I droves off without my come a longs and all they had to load was a small skid steer. I ended up with the wooden manure spreader a d horse drawn planter a horse drawn two row stalk chopper a 2 bottom Oliver plow ands a few smalls. I ran the uh thresher up to 1000 and that was definitely the buy of the day. I would bet I bid on half the equipment trying to get prices up for them.

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10-14-2012 12:57:26

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 Re: scrappers in reply to Harry J. Case, 10-13-2012 21:37:12  
I agree with everything that has been said above. Lets think about this though, most collectors are well aware of the availability of parts through other collectors as well as parts suppliers. A collector generally knows about how much they are generally looking at to get that machine either running or restored. Start off with the cost of driving to the sale site and the cost of hauling it home, you can get a lot of money wrapped up in a tractor just starting off. I myself am thinking about these things before I even go to an auction. If I can't make it work for me, then I unfortunately have to pass. For me, it isn't about the initial purchse price; rather, it all about the complete investment. I know that it a tough position to be in, but it is simple economics for my hobby that is self supporting. Unforunately, scrappers don't have to play by the same rules, so they get the items for cheap and help "melt" agriculture history.

We also need to keep in mind in the last couple years, there have been a lot of machines that have been on auctions and they have been rust buckets versus machines with easy potential. Yes, there have been some good units on good sales as well. Yes, its nice to see what is on the sale bills, but I would not drive the hundreds of mile to see them sell if they are stuck, need tires, need all new sheetmetal, new rims, etc.

Just my thoughts, just my story, but sure wish I had more capabilities to save more MMs, but I would have to build a building the size of the Pentagon.

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10-14-2012 11:23:18

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 Re: scrappers in reply to Harry J. Case, 10-13-2012 21:37:12  
we need to re-elect these fine folks in DC and there will be lots of $$$$$ for us low end middle classers who have been buried by the "former" adminstrations policies to start buying, collecting and restoring again, thats what I hear anyway

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Buckeye Oliver collector

10-13-2012 22:59:14

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 Re: scrappers in reply to Harry J. Case, 10-13-2012 21:37:12  
I agree its a shame for it to go to scrap. There are alot of factors. Not enough room in a shed, not enough money (alot of people are living check to check), not enough interest (current collectors are not getting younger and younger guys are not getting into it) etc. etc. I think a really big issue is getting parts. Lets face it that Moline went out of business years ago and alot of people don't want to have something shipped from 500 miles away. I'm not trying to single out one company either. Its like that for Oliver, Allis, Cockshutt and a bunch of others as well. Don't know if its like this everywhere but when I go to a tractor pull anymore there are 100 tractors there (maybe) and a third are John Deere, a third are International and the other third is made up of all the other brands. Lots of reasons but parts and popularity are big.

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Alan K

10-14-2012 07:51:57

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 Re: scrappers in reply to Buckeye Oliver collector, 10-13-2012 22:59:14  
I agree and also if I may add, a person can pay a hefty price on a tractor that doesnt run and all of the common parts that a person needs arent there. If you buy one to make money (sell for iron) you have a return on your investment right away, if you buy to save it, there the money stays, but you have an investment in history. I did buy a couple of 5 Stars from a junk yard a few years ago just because I needed a couple of parts and hated to see the rest go for iron, but they had no sheetmetal and the common parts were gone (3pt,drawbar,manifold...) That is one problem with parting out a tractor that runs, once the common parts are gone you ar left with a pile of iron. The one thing that always irritates me is when you see someone parting out a "good running tractor"...if it runs good or even runs then SELL IT whole. There are people out here that would love to own it. (enuff ranting)

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10-15-2012 17:38:06

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 Re: scrappers in reply to Alan K, 10-14-2012 07:51:57  
little late to the party, but i can tell you if money weren't the issue then i would buy them all where parts would be readily available for restorations. It just seems i can't find enough no matter how hard i try, i have saved 15 from the local yard (helps to have family at the business) just need more money and i will save a bunch.

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Alan K

10-15-2012 19:26:48

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 Re: scrappers in reply to gfs, 10-15-2012 17:38:06  
I hear ya....

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