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Vast Illinois antique tractor collection is sold at auction
Illinois Correspondent

CORNLAND, Ill. — Norbert Stahl, Richard Fowler and Wilbert Kerchner, three Minneapolis-Moline fans from Indiana and Illinois, were hopeful while attending Carl Ebbersten’s June 22-23 auction.

“We have yellow in our blood instead of green,” Kerchner said as the threesome looked over at a few John Deere collectors. “We have a feeling we will go home empty handed. This is a terrific sale so far.”

Auctioneers from Aumann Auctions took three days to work through Carl Ebbersten’s collection of antique tractors, toys, literature and memorabilia.

Before the sale, friends and tractor enthusiasts worked with Aumann Auctions to ensure that tractors started and were operational. Bidding opened with Ebbersten’s 22-45 Aultman Taylor.

“The fellow that worked on this would like to go with the tractor,” joked auctioneer Kurt Aumann of the 22-45 Aultman Taylor.

The old tractor sold for $67,500. An Avery 25-50 followed and sold for $32,500 with a Farmall 350 High Crop bringing $30,500. Some of the other highlights of the sale included a 15-27 Heider that sold for $15,000 to an Internet bidder, an Oil Pull Rumely, Model X 25-40 which brought $17,000, an IH 8-16 Junior $20,000.

A Farmall 350 LP Wheatland Special with rare rear weights was $10,000, a 1010 Huber Super 4 brought $27,000, a Case 25-45 Model T Crossmotor cost $19,000 and a rare John Deere original Gilpin Plow went for $11,000.

The Minneapolis-Moline fans were looking at the Big MO, a military tractor that the company had manufactured.

“It was built sometime around 1950-1960,” Stahl said “It is just different.”

John Moran of Carlyle, Ark. and Doyne Carpenter of England, Ark. were John Deere guys that came to see Ebbersten’s stable of green machines.

“We arrived here at 7 this morning, and it is going to take a while to see all this stuff,” Moran commented on the sea of tractors.

Steve Rankin and Dan Edwards of Greenview, Ill., too, were amazed by the tractor collection.

“Just to see all this in one place, you would have to travel a long way to see it all,” Rankin said. “There is more stuff here than in a museum. There are plenty of buyers and plenty of talkers, I’m learning a lot.”

Edwards, a farmer, was taking in not just the tractors, but the local crops, as well.

He thought the crops looked good except he added, “we need rain.”

Rankin was admiring the International Harvester variety.

“I collect tractors plus works in progress,” he said about his IH collection.”

Many of Ebbersten’s friends and tractor enthusiasts were on hand as were buyers from across the country and around the world.

Jim Leaka, Carl’s brother-in-law, and Kevin Myers came from Riverton. Doug Davis and Doug Litterly were from “just down the road.”

“I’ve been in every shed and didn’t see all this,” Davis said. “I don’t know where they had it all.

“It wasn’t unusual for Carl to go to one sale, and his son, Darryl, to go to another. I would see him hauling in on a trailer home. All winter long he would go to shows.”

Part of the group was camping on-site.

They were enjoying the friendship and camaraderie, reminiscing about Ebbersten and the good times.

The dust was still rising in a big cloud when the last trailers were departing for their respective states and towns with trailers full. The media covered this event, which was like a mini Farm Expo.

“This was probably the largest antique tractor sale that has ever happened in the Midwest,” Aumann said. “There were all brands and sizes and something for everyone.”

For results of the auction, log onto