The Importance or Unimportance of a Serial Number

By Staff

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

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?

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines