The Importance or Unimportance of a Serial Number

| May/June 1990

43138 Road 52, Reedley, California 93654

That little piece of metal attached to every tractor known as the serial number plate has either been unimportant or very important to its owner. Today every tractor collector looks at the serial number and studies it with regard to the manufacturer's date. He either wants one of the first ones made, the last one made, or one of only a few that have been made. To find two tractors with numbers back to back is interesting, or to find one where only a few were made increases its value. The value of a tractor is often determined by these numbers on the serial plate in reference to other numbers that relate to it. To find a tractor of which only few are known to exist certainly makes the tractor much more valuable. It is interesting how much emphasis is placed on its value based on those few numbers stamped on the serial number plate.

For those of us who were around in the 1920's and 1930's, this fact is in direct contrast to the value of the serial number when we purchased a new tractor. It may interest you now, but when one purchased a tractor in the 1930's he paid absolutely no attention to the serial number and I am sure that most farmers didn't even know if the tractor had such a plate. It was of no value to the buyer and if he could purchase the tractor for $10.00 less he would have given consent to receive it without a serial number. Why should he care about it? He purchased the tractor to serve a purpose in farming and gave no thought that someone 50 years down the road would buy his worn-out tractor with the idea of restoring it.

While the serial number at the time of purchase served little value to the buyer, now fifty years later it has become an important issue. Just shows how things change and we wonder what items the next generation will look for when they restore our present day tractors in the future. Perhaps they will be concerned about the size of the carburetor jets, who knows?