Vintage farm equipment finds eager buyers

HIGHGATE, Ont. — Bidders came from as far away as Texas for what auctioneer Mike Shackelton described as the largest sale of vintage equipment in which he’s ever been involved.

About 70 John Deere tractors, in all stages of repair and disrepair, were recently sold near this southwestern Ontario community, along with another 50 major items and 200 skids of miscellaneous items.

The day came as a relief for Ann Burns, the widow of Ray Burns. Her husband died five years ago in Montana on a trip to add yet another item — a Waterloo Boy — to his collection.

“I guess I have mixed feelings, but this needed to happen. The tractors and equipment couldn’t stay in the barns forever, and others can get pleasure from them. On the other hand, I lost a lot of what was left of Ray,” Ann said.

Burns is remembered for his sly sense of humour and love of John Deeres.

Shackelton had initially estimated the bid total would reach $250,000 to $300,000, but the total was even higher.

Prices ranged from as little as $25 for a vintage seed cleaner in good condition to many thousands of dollars for some of the rare and restored tractors.

Burns amassed his collection during his service as an officer with Ontario Provincial Police and in retirement.

Ann said her family is holding on to several John Deere tractors to remember Ray.

These include an AO, L, D, R and GP models and others that members of the East Kent club will restore.

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