There exist all kinds of sub-genres in the big, wide world of collectible vehicles: Classic motorcycles, fire apparatus, hot rods and vintage race cars. To these specialist categories, one could add farm equipment, whose sales are ably (and regularly) conducted by Mecum Auctions out of Wisconsin. In fact, Mecum actually has a separate division for agricultural vehicles, known internally as Mecum Auctions Gone Farmin.’ One of its major sales that just concluded was the George & June Schaaf Tractor and Truck Museum liquidation in Frankfort, Illinois. How big is tractor collecting, you ask? Sufficiently large that the Schaff sale drew more than 1,000 bidders, who rang up more than $6.2 million in total sales.
Mecum may be best known for selling top-end muscle cars, but the Schaaf sale demonstrates that the house knows its market when it comes to farm vehicles, too, as you look upon the top-selling lot from the Frankfort auction. This is a 1917 Willmar Little Oak compact tractor, the only Little Oak known to still exist, which drew a hammer price of a full $420,000. If you look closely at the front axle, you’ll notice that it has a pivot or articulation point in the middle of the axle, “steered” by chains, meaning that this vintage tractor resembling an ancient Soap Box Derby racer apparently steers like one, too.