| July/August 1978

New Ashford, Massachusetts 01237

Is it going the way of antique cars? Are we chasing the high flying dollar? Are we collectors and restorers; or dealers? What about our shows? Will they continue to boom?

The following are my opinions and controversy and rebuttal. I hope they do; perhaps a trend will appear. I like antique cars, but the prices have soared to the point where it is the hobby of a wealthy man. I am a retired civil engineer with a lifetime of construction experience. Fortunately, I started many years ago collecting horse drawn equipment and farm machinery and engines and planned to continue this hobby. However, because prices of old engines and tractors have skyrocketed, I now find myself priced out of the market. Engines that formerly sold for $25.00 to $50.00 are now advertised for $250.00 and up; the same for tractors.

I have several rare engines I bought at a low price, also equipment that was actually given to me that now has a high price on it. Should 1 sell or hold it? Chances are prices will go higher-it's a big question! I am not a dealer and do not intend to be. I have never sold one of my items, but have traded numerous ones for others and will continue to do so. However, what is the final answer? Have an auction and blow the money in on some luxury-for you cannot take it with you. I never heard of a Brink's truck making a delivery to the cemetary. Or should we let the estate have an auction or give it away which now is questionable, for with the high prices now prevalent, it will probably be sold by that party. This boils down to: are we dealers or collectors with an ulterior motive, for the dollar makes one think. Several of us older collectors have talked this over without a definite conclusion. As for being a dealer, the older collector is not, nor does he plan to be; however, numerous dealers are now in existence. They are searching out and buying cheap and selling high. At one show I questioned a dealer who had a truck load of common engines at a high price. I told him engines of that make only brought so much at home and he said he knew that but someone may come along and pay the asking price, and we can always come down. The point is we are setting a high ceiling price and this can lead to another higher ceiling and so on. I'm afraid this type of dealer is hurting our hobby. On the other hand, I know of one dealer who is only at a couple of Eastern shows. He is and was a club member long before he started selling items and realty tries to help hobbyists. His prices are always reasonable. He will try to find parts or items one is interested in. I have picked up many small items through this man and it was a pleasure dealing with him.

Now for the shows, I have not attended them all, only about 15 from say Kinzer, Pennsylvania to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and have seen them get larger and larger, more crowded each year and one wonders where all the people come from-as there are not that many old timers left. It is also noticeable that some of them are commercialized. The gate receipts, even at a nominal charge are huge and it appears that commercial interests are trying to take over. I believe they will take over in some locations as rumors are floating around and one is free to make a guess.

I also have noticed that this or that older exhibitor did not show this year and next year there may be another one or two missing. As time goes on, the young exhibitors are going to take their place. Some already have and they are welcome and we need more. The question is will they stay with the hobby as most of old timers have; working with these old engines and tractors, and cussing them at times, but always returning because as they say: 'it's in the blood.' However, the younger fellows may see it as an interesting hobby until some other hobby comes along. I have also noticed 10 to 15 years ago it was a pleasure to stop and talk to the different exhibitors and they seemed to enjoy visiting, but now it's the occasional show where this type of a discussion goes on.


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