Over £2m-worth of classic machinery and collectors’ items sold at record-breaking Vintage Sale

The first Cheffins collective vintage sale of 2022 grossed over £2m as record prices were paid for classic and vintage machinery and collectors’ items. Taking place recently at the Cheffins sale ground at Sutton, near Ely, the sale saw over 2,800 lots go under the hammer and buyers in attendance from across the UK and Europe. 

The highest price paid on the day was £214,400 for a 1982 County 1474 ‘Short Nose’ tractor, which smashed its presale estimate of £120,000-140,000. Having been fully restored, the tractor saw significant presale interest and now holds the record for the most expensive modern classic tractor sold to date.

Other significant sales in the tractor section include £73,000 for a 2004 JCB 2140, against an estimate of £60-65,000; £48,240 for a 1983 Mercedes-Benz MB-Trac 1500, well over its pre-sale estimate and £42,880 for a stunning 1974 County 1164, these examples were bought by collectors from across the UK and Ireland. Another noteworthy lot was a 1956 Fowler VF Crawler, which was found in original condition having been used on the Landwade Hall Estate, near Newmarket, since new. It sold for £16,080, against a presale estimate of £6-7,000 and is a new record price for this particular model.

The sale also saw Cheffins largest motorbike consignment to date, with several strong prices achieved, across the 80 lots offered. A highly collectable 1923 980cc Morgan-Darmont Sports Model 3-wheeler sold for £21,920 to a buyer from Lincolnshire, whilst a P&M ‘Rob North’ Triumph T150 racing motorbike made £10,412, having been sold to a collector from Northern Ireland. Other significant sales in section included £9,644 paid for a 1950 499cc Norton 500T motorbike and £8,329 for a 1952 499cc Sunbeam.

There was also an enormous consignment of automobilia on offer, with over 400 lots going under the hammer. The highlights from the section include £5,600 for a 1930s Shell Satam cabinet two-door petrol pump; £5,376 for a Regent 100 petrol pump globe and £4,704 paid for a 1930s Dunlop air tower model and the same price paid for a Dunlop Fort enamel sign from the 1930s.

Oliver Godfrey, Head of the Machinery Department at Cheffins says: “We knew the April sale was going to be a record breaker, with a strong catalogue of varied items, however, to sell over £2m-worth is bonkers. The market is alive and well, in fact it is thriving, as collectors still have cash in the bank which they want to invest in something tangible. Something they can see and use and enjoy.

“Collectors are becoming younger, so the focus in the market is really on tractors and machinery from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s as they look to buy up a part of their youth. It is impossible to put a price on the value of nostalgia. Many buyers are also looking for tractors which they believe will become the next collector’s piece and an investment which will pay dividends. It appears that at the moment, the market’s bets are mainly focussed on Ford variants, such as County and Roadless, which are seeing double digit price growth year-on-year.”

Oliver Godfrey continues: “It wasn’t only the tractors which made some serious money at this sale. The classic motorbike market is also buoyant with buyers focussing on some of the earlier models from the 1950s and 1960s, whilst the fresh-to-market automobilia items drew collectors from far and wide both to bid live and online. Automobilia has become a new collecting class all in itself and has seen strong growth in values as these vintage forecourt pieces become increasingly sought after. By hosting the sale over two days, we were able to offer live bidding on all sections and were pleased to welcome buyers old and new back to Sutton.”