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Rare East Anglian tractor, made in 1920, fetches £67,725 at vintage auction

PUBLISHED: 12:06 23 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:14 23 October 2018

A rare and historic Crawley Agrimotor farm machine, made in 1920, was auctioned in Ely. Picture: Cheffins.

A rare and historic Crawley Agrimotor farm machine, made in 1920, was auctioned in Ely. Picture: Cheffins.

Cheffins

A rare and early East Anglian tractor, described as one of the most influential inventions in farming history, has been sold for £67,725 - double the auctioneers' pre-sale estimate.

A rare and historic Crawley Agrimotor farm machine, made in 1920, was auctioned in Ely. Picture: Cheffins.A rare and historic Crawley Agrimotor farm machine, made in 1920, was auctioned in Ely. Picture: Cheffins.

The 1920 Crawley Agrimotor auctioned at Cheffins’ saleground at Sutton, near Ely, was sold to a vintage collector from Saffron Walden in Essex, bringing the machine back to the town where it was originally manufactured.

Cheffins chairman Bill King said: “The Agrimotor was the highest result of the day and it was great to see this important machine returning to its home town of Saffron Walden.

“As one of only six of these original tractors still in existence, the Agrimotor generated much interest ahead of the auction and sold for over double its pre-sale estimate after competitive bidding from a series of buyers.”

The machine was the brainchild of Albert Edward Crawley, who came up with the concept of a motor plough – now regarded as a significant milestone in farm machinery development.

Auctioneers said the model being auctioned, No. 234, was sold new into Suffolk, and was possibly one of three supplied to Frank Sainsbury, of the supermarket family, who farmed near Haverhill.

It later moved to Great Finborough where it was requisitioned by the Home Guard during the Second World War so that it could be used to barricade the road into the village.

The machine was rescued in the early 1960s by contractor Robert Miles of Great Ashfield. It was then sold again in 1993 and has since been exhibited widely by the previous owner.

The Agrimotor attracted the highest individual price at the Cheffins’ Cambridge Vintage Sale on Saturday, which made a total of £1.3m from more than 2,000 lots of classic cars, motorcycles, tractors and steam engines which attracted collectors and enthusiasts from across the country.

The auction also included the Jack Richards Collection of vintage lorries, acquired by the founder of the Fakenham-based haulage firm, which made a total of £147,658.

Other notable sales within the tractor section include a 1916 Overtime Model R which sold for £35,700; a 1929 Rushton 14-20 making £21,000; a Fendt Favorit 614LS which made £21,000; a 1984 Ford 7810 Silver Jubilee which sold for £19,110 and a 1984 Ford 6710 which sold for £17,325.

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