Farmer’s collection of vintage ferguson tractors and implements fetches more than £500,000

More than 1,000 people attended the sale of Norfolk farmer Paul Rackham's Hunday collection
More than 1,000 people attended the sale of Norfolk farmer Paul Rackham's Hunday collection

Records fell as a historically important collection of tractors designed by renowned Irish engineer Harry Ferguson went under the hammer.

Paul Rackham, of Camp Farm, near Thetford, in Norfolk, England, sold what was considered to be the most complete set of vintage Ferguson tractors and implements in the world.

It was the second high profile auction in as many months for Mr Rackham, who sold what was thought to have been the UK’s largest private collection of vintage tractors at the end of September.

The most recent sale generated plenty of interest and included £8,400 paid for a Ferguson beet topper - a record price for a Ferguson implement.

In total the Hunday Collection, which included 73 tractors and 100 implements along with other memorabilia and literature, fetched more than £500,000, well above the expected price of £400,000.

Among the highlights was a 1937 Ferguson Brown Type A that sold to a Scottish buyer for £15,000 - £3,000 above its top guide price.

The model was the first ever machine to be fitted with converging three-point linkage and a hydraulic lift incorporating automatic draft control- a system now at the heart of every modern tractor.

Meanwhile a historically important and fully restored MK1 long wheelbase Land Rover sold to a buyer from southern Ireland for £36,000 - £11,000 more than the top end of its guide price.

The vehicle – purchased new by Harry Ferguson Ltd - was the 13th long-wheelbase (107”) Land Rover to roll off the production line and was supplied to the ‘grey Fergie’ manufacturers in Coventry in November 1953. It is thought to have inspired the four-wheeled drive developments carried out by Harry Ferguson Research Limited.

A very nicely restored 1956 Standard Vanguard delivery van – with a guide price of between £10,000 and £12,000 - sold for £18,500.

The vehicle was offered to Ferguson distributors and dealers at a special concessionary price of £373 from January 1949, and it became the regular sales and service vehicle, replacing the Standard Fourteen vans that had been used previously.

Meanwhile a 1948 Ferguson TE-A20 tractor - one of the earliest TE-A20 models in existence and finished in a unique red and cream livery – was bought for £4,000 by the family of the original owner from Guernsey.

A 1943 Ford ‘Funk’ Conversion V8 tractor went to a private collector in Hertfordshire for £22,500, while a 1963 Massey Ferguson 35X Multi-Power tractor – regarded by many as the ultimate Massey Ferguson 35 - sold for £10,400.

Petrol and paraffin tractors averaged at £2,000 and £2,500 respectively but it was those that had an attachment fitted that were in demand, including a full and half track that went for £5,500 and £5,000. Meanwhile, a 1953 Ferguson TEF 20 with mounted combine sold for £8,600, a pea cutter for £4,300, a 1951 Ferguson TED 20 with side mounted baler fetched £4,200 and a 1947 Ferguson TE 20 with game flusher went for £7,750.

Vineyards and narrow versions were also popular, making between £3,000 and £5,800, while American Ford N’s were a strong trade with several making £6,000 and over. There was a consistently strong market for Red Masseys, with top prices including £8,400 for a 35X and £9,200 for a 35 Hi Clear.

In the memorabilia section, a Ferguson Demonstration Model in original, unrestored and working condition in a wooden display box with running boards, trailed and mounted ploughs was sold for £4,100 to a buyer in Cumbria. Top prices also included £800 for a selection of Ferguson Brown literature and £2,200 for a neon Ferguson dealer’s sign.

More than 1,000 people attended the sale, organised by Cambridgeshire auctioneers Cheffins and Suffolk’s Clarke and Simpson.

Cheffins auctioneer Oliver Godfrey said: “It was a real pleasure to be involved in the sale of such a historically important collection.

“It was an excellent auction and generated a huge amount of interest, both at home and abroad, with buyers from Norway, Sweden, Hungary and even Australia, as well as Harry Ferguson’s native Northern Ireland.

“The prices achieved were well above expectations and there was some frenzied bidding both at the sale itself and online.”

Harry Ferguson, born at Growell, near Dromore, County Down, was the son of a farmer noted for his role in the development of the modern tractor. He is also famous for becoming the first Irishman to build and fly his own aeroplane and for developing the first four-wheel drive Formula One car.

The Hunday Collection was started by collector and agricultural entrepreneur John Moffitt in 1966. He opened a museum displaying a range of vintage tractors, engines and machinery in Northumberland in 1979.

Following the closure of the museum in 1989 and after retiring from farming in the early 1990s, Mr Moffitt continued to build his collection of Fergusons.

By 2000, he had amassed what’s thought to have been the most complete collection of Ferguson equipment ever assembled. By this time the collection included an example of every type of implement and virtually every variation of tractor – both Ferguson and its early Massey Ferguson successors.

Where no example of a machine existed, such as the Ferguson combine (which never went beyond prototype stage), Mr Moffitt had replicas made at great expense.

In 2004, with his health failing, he decided to sell the collection and it was bought by Mr Rackham and moved to his farm.

More than 1,700 people attended Mr Rackham’s previous auction in September, which featured over 180 rare and vintage tractors and raised more than £1.5m.

He said he was delighted with the result of his most recent sale and would now be focussing on a new challenge.