Tractor is outstanding in its field

Massey Ferguson 35

Massey Ferguson 35

A pair of rare vintage tractors were the star lots at a Cotswolds antiques auction last week.

A Ferguson TE20 – produced in 1951 and affectionately known as the Little Grey Fergie – made the top price of the day at Moore Allen & Innocent’s antique and general sale in Cirencester on Friday, October 14.

The TE20 is a common sight at vintage agricultural shows and is a popular collectors item for enthusiasts.

What made the one at Moore Allen special was that it was sold with a host of original accessories, including a potato spinner and planter unit, a fertilizer spreader, a plough, a fixed eight-tyne rotavator and spare seats.

The TE20 is held in great affection around the world. There is a monument to the tractor in Wentworth, Australia commemorating the occasion, in 1956, when a fleet of Little Grey Fergies built levees to prevent the town from flooding.

And seven TE20s were used in the 1955-1959 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Under Sir Edmund Hilary the tractors became the first vehicles to be driven to the South Pole – a feat still recorded on New Zealand’s five dollar bill.

After some fierce bidding from enthusiasts the hammer fell at £1,700.

Also being sold was a Massey Ferguson 35 – launched in 1958 and the first model to carry the marque after a merger between Ferguson and the American manufacturer Massey.

The inclusion of rear brakes set this MF35 apart as an industrial model, and whereas the agricultural model is valued in the hundreds of pounds, the rarer industrial model carried was considered far more valuable, and was bought for £1,400.

Little Grey Fergie

Little Grey Fergie

Auctioneer Philip Allwood said: “There was a lot of interest in these fine examples of agricultural heritage. The sun was shining and the car park was full of enthusiasts giving them a good look over.”

Staying on a vehicular theme, the auctioneers sold a circa 1984 Ford Capri 2-litre Laser. The three-door coupe, in burgundy, had clocked up 112,000 miles and was in understandably well-driven condition, but the design classic still managed to attract bids of £400.

Also well-worn was a Persian rug with unusual medallion pattern on a floral background. Threadbare and faded, the auctioneers were delighted to achieve a hammer price of £1,000 against a £200 to £300 estimate.

Another antique achieving well over its estimate was an 18th century Chinese porcelain mug with serpent shaped handle, sold together with a 19th century Chinese porcelain mug and a Chinese porcelain saucer, which surprised everyone with a winning bid of £600 against a £40 to £60 estimate.

The hammer price demonstrated once again the saleability of oriental antiques as China’s new rich seek to reclaim their heritage.

Finally, an artefact from much closer to home is sure to give the winning bidder a warm glow. A circa 1860 white marble fire surround, originally a feature of the long-gone Arkenside Hotel in Lewis Lane, Cirencester, sold for £580, a little over its £300 to £500 estimate.

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