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  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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£1.5m-worth of collectors’ items sold at Europe’s largest vintage auction

  • Over 3,000 lots in total
  • Over 250 rare vintage and classic tractors grossed over £940,000

Cheffins’ Cambridge Vintage Sale at Sutton, near Ely on the 27th April 2019 saw a number of the world’s most unusual classic and vintage tractors, alongside vintage motorbikes, classic commercial vehicles, petroliana and collector’s items go under the hammer, grossing over £1.5m in total. Based in East Anglia but operating nationwide, Cheffins is Europe’s leading auctioneer of vintage machinery and this sale was a major event for collectors and enthusiasts from across the continent.

Of the 250 vintage and classic tractors offered, the headline lot of the day was a highly-rare 1968 Doe 130 which was sold for £74,550 to a collector based in Scotland. One of the last examples of this iconic machine ever to have been built, it has exceptional provenance and history, having been bought new by George Pryor in Essex – the farmer and inventor who was behind the original concept of the famous Doe ‘Triple-D.’ Only 170 of these machines were ever built making them incredibly rare to the market and a favourite with tractor collectors and enthusiasts.  Following this was a 1963 Doe Triple-D which sold for £42,400 to a collector from Ireland. Other highlights from the tractor section included a 1968 Ford 4610 with only 973 hours on the clock which sold for £16,960 and a very original 1964 Fordson Super Major New Performance which made £12,500.

The Automobilia section was dominated by the over 197 lots from the world-renowned collection belonging to Stewart Imber of Goodwood Revival and set and prop hire company, Themed Garages. The famous collection has previously been seen on Channel 4, Quest TV and has been dressing sets at The Goodwood Revival since 2005. On offer were over 40 classic Mercedes-Benz items dating from the 1920s to the 1990s, as well as petrol pumps, enamel and illuminated signs, forecourt maps, promotional flags, posters all of which saw huge levels of interest from throughout Europe with a number of overseas buyers both in the room and bidding online. Highlights include a late 1920s Ruston and Hornsby petrol pump which sold for £8,300, way over the £5,000 – £6,000 estimate. In addition, an original Jack Barclay Rolls Royce showroom sign sold for £2,600, whilst a spectacular telephone box from the set of Heartbeat sold for £1,700 against its £700 – £900 estimate.

In the cars and bikes section, a highly-desirable 1950 Land Rover Series 1 sold for £20,000 to a private collector. Amongst the motorbikes a collection of eight very special pre-war examples from the 1930s all from the same owner sold for high prices. For example, two pre-war Norton International examples both saw long bidding battles between buyers, eventually selling at £25,200 and £21,200 respectively with a round of applause at the fall of the hammer on both. A 1912 Brayshaw Showman’s living van which was recorded to have been owned by renowned showmen, Tommy Gavin and Henry Crooks presented in beautifully restored order sold for £23,500 to a steam enthusiast. Similarly, a Fowler five berth living van with an interesting history, having been used to house Italian Prisoners of War on a local farm was sold for £16,500.

There were a number of unusual lots on offer, such as a quarter-scale Caterpillar tractor which made £13,750, which is six times the amount being achieved for the full-size examples which were sold on the day for around £2,000 apiece. Similarly, a 1946 Chevrolet pick-up which was originally used as an emergency vehicle in Alabama was sold for £12,600, in excess of its pre-sale estimate of £9,000 – £10,000. Dinky toys also were a massive hit, being 100 per cent sold on the day. The top price in this section was a Dinky gift set, consisting of five racing cars in original boxes which sold for £780. Also, amongst the toys an iconic 1970s Raleigh Chopper Mk1 bicycle made £900.

Bill King, Chairman, Cheffins, says: “The most recent vintage sale saw over 73 per cent of the classic and vintage tractors offered all selling on the day for premium prices, illustrating the health and continued enthusiasm for this niche collecting market. With examples dating from the pre-1920s to the 1990s and those which have been fully restored or those in original ex farm condition all shows how this minor asset class is holding values well in excess of those in other more mainstream investments. Classic motorbikes also saw some seriously competitive bidding as we continue to strengthen this section of the vintage sales. As always, anything highly rare, original or beautifully-restored saw premium prices paid, such as the living wagons which were sought-after on the day. We were pleased to welcome back familiar faces to this iconic sale and are looking forward to seeing the regular collectors and enthusiasts join us for the next vintage auction in July.”

The sale took place on the 27th April, at Cheffins Machinery Sale Ground, Sutton, Ely, CB6 2QT.  For more information please visit www.cheffins.co.uk, or call Cheffins auctioneers on 01353 777767.


  • Written by: Farmers Guide
  • Posted:
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