LAKE CITY — A lot of green changed hands outside Lake City last week.
John Deere green.
At the farm of Marjorie and Bill Danckwart about five miles from Lake City, just about everything needed to run a farm — all the tractors, spreaders, loaders and bulldozers — were put up for auction along with other basic farm equipment.
When Bill died last Aug. 9, Marjorie decided it was time to let a lifetime of farm equipment go.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a long, long time,” said Marjorie Danckwart. “When I stood out here, tears came to my eyes, but I’ve got to get through this.”
Eventually, she decided to hire Sullivan Auctioneers, a farm and equipment auction firm from Hamilton, Ill.
“What’s unique here is the age of the equipment and the quality condition it’s in for its age,” said Luke Sullivan, one of the managers of the company that bears his family name. “We’ve got three tractors that are three of the most popular models John Deere built.”
Furthermore, Sullivan said, those tractors have “low hours,” meaning they were used sparingly and have a lot of life left in them for their ages.
The tractors sold April 10 ranged from the 21-year-old 8400 model to a John Deere A model from 1941.
Mark Michel of New Prague, Minn., came down to bid on the 4440 model. With just over 2,200 hours on the 40-year-old tractor, Michel said he expected it to sell for more than $40,000, and he came prepared to make a competitive bid.
“I’ll put it to work if I get it,” he said.
Sullivan said the older tractors were collectors items more than working tractors, though he said it was likely whoever bought them would run them just to keep the engines in good shape. Those older models included a 1956 John Deere 70 and the 1941 A model.
Greg Peterson, known as “Machinery Pete,” an auction watcher who reports on farm auction prices, said the three newer tractors for sale – the 8400, the 4440 and a 1968-era 4020 model – had garnered online attention from around the world.
“They’ve got 500 bidders online,” he said.
Peterson said the bids were strong. For example, one of the few non-John Deere items, an International TD9 dozer, sold for $4,050, a good price for an antique dozer.
And the $43,500 paid for the John Deere 4440 model was near the historic high for the model.
Roger Weideman, who came from Abbotsford, Wis., said he just missed out on the 8400 and the 4440.
“I had some interest in them,” he said. “The 4440, I thought my son and I were going to invest in it.”