Vintage tractor collection rakes in £1.5million

A treasure trove of vintage tractors and steam engines collected by two enthusiasts has sold for a massive £1.5million. Source: The Daily Mail UK

John Keeley and his wife May amassed the hoard of rusty machines on their farm in Berkshire over a 40-year period.

Their bizarre fleet included 50 vintage tractors and 15 steam engines and was so vast they were able to stage their own agricultural show that became a famous event.

The couple stored their collection in several barns and even hedgerows.

Mr Keeley died in 1999. Mrs Keeley died last year and relatives who inherited their machines decided to sell them at auction.

The highlight at the sale was a 1928 Foden D-Type Timber tractor that went under the hammer for £140,000, while a 1929 Sentinel five-tonne steam wagon called ‘Deborah’ went for £80,000 and a 1935 version sold for £75,000.

Two steam rollers dating back to the 1930s fetched a combined £127,000 and an 1873 John Fowler ploughing engine was bought for £58,000.

In all the collection, which also included some classic cars, sold for £1.5m.

William King, director of auctioneers Cheffins of Cambridge, said: “This is possibly the first and last time that we will see such a diverse collection of historic and vintage vehicles comprising everything from steam engines to classic cars come to the market.

“Not only was it one man’s collection containing an eclectic mix of steam, tractors, commercial vehicles, cars and memorabilia, but John Keeley managed to collect some of the most interesting items in all of those categories.

“It was amassed over the years with much care and attention to detail – with many of the lots untouched and highly original.

“With 50 vintage and classic tractors on offer, there was a make and model to suit every collector and his pocket.

“John and May were avid and discerning collectors and that was reflected in the popularity of the sale.

“We had an enormous crowd and there was some fierce bidding – with buyers from across the world, including Europe and America.”