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Supply And Demand Pricing

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#1 johndeereelfman OFFLINE  

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Posted October 15, 2014 - 01:43 PM

As most of you know, I'm a brand specific collector, and have been collecting garden tractors since 1989. Although I consider my collection complete, I wouldn't turn down a good deal if I came across one. However, good deals seem to be getting as rare as some of the tractors or attachments that I collected over the years. 


As a collector, I try to keep a record of how much I paid for each tractor, attachment, or accessory that I bought throughout the years, just so I know how much I need out of it if there would be a time in my life that I would need to sell. Notice, I didn't say make money off of them. I don't keep a tally of money spent for individual parts, tires, or decals, as that list would be just too much to keep current, however, if I'm calculating the cost for a complete restoration, then these prices would eventually get added to the total cost. 


The other night I sat down and went over this list of tractors, attachments, and accessories, and then logged onto ebay just to compare the prices of today. Wow, I was overwhelmed with the results. Not so much as to how much the collection could possibly sell for, but for what tractors, attachments, and accessories are going for right now in today's market, compared to what these same exact items were selling for 25 years ago. Unbelievable to say the least, and in a way, rather disappointing. 


What I don't understand, or should I say, what I can't seem to grasp, is why are these items bringing so much money? Do we really need to charge or buy these items for these outrageous prices, just because the demand might be high right now? I remember buying my first tractor, a 1966 John Deere 110 that came with a mower deck, a snowthrower, and a front blade, all for $150.00. I bought this package from one of our local John Deere dealers, and I can remember them telling me they didn't want it sitting around. A few weeks later, I bought another 110 from another local dealer, this time it was a 1967 110 with hydraulic lift, a mower deck, and a rototiller for $125.00. Again, the dealer didn't want it sitting on the lot, as most people didn't want to buy something that old. Now days, you can't even find a rototiller for less than $200.00 let alone a running round fender for that price. I remember buying a new set of American made 6-12 Goodyear bar tires from the local dealer for $65.00. Try finding one tire like that for less than that price. In fact, other than Carlisle, try finding a tire made in America. We are now paying extremely high pricing for tires that aren't even made in the United States. WHY??? Why are the tire prices so high? Just because garden tractor collecting has become so popular? I know it's not because of overseas shipping, that's for sure.


So what makes collecting these tractors so expensive? Why has the value of these old machines gone through the roof? Just because John and Dick both want the same tractor? What once was cheap and enjoyable to collect, has now become expensive and really not enjoyable anymore. For someone just getting into the hobby of collecting these tractors, they have a tough road ahead of them. For the amount of money that I spent for four tractors and attachments, a newbie will have to spend for just the tractor alone. I guess in a way I should be doing cartwheels in the backyard and getting all excited about the value of my machines, but for some reason, I just can't bring myself to do it. It just doesn't seem right seeing these old machines selling for almost triple the amount that I paid for them back then.


Have we become that greedy that we will mark up everything to the highest amount possible, just so we can take advantage of the demand, and make money? To me, the value of the machine is in the years that the old girl worked and performed. The many scratches showing on the paint and finish, the dent in the fender, the dry rotted tires, the torn seat, and the half rusted out muffler. That is the true value of these old machines. There is no amount of money that can be placed high enough to equal that value. Just because the interest in collecting garden or lawn tractors has become popular recently, doesn't mean we have to jack up our pricing and charge outrageous amounts of money in order to meet a demand. As a seller, I would want my pricing low and reasonable as a way of selling two, three, or four items, instead of jacking my pricing higher and only selling one. I would want to be known as a very fair and reasonable seller, rather than being known as outrageous or a crook. 


We should be in this hobby to collect the things that we want, but also in it to help others. Making my collection grow over the years was important, but making friends along the way was just as important too. Collectors helping collectors. Most times, money wasn't even exchanged. I would trade you for something I wanted, for something you wanted. How much does that happen anymore? If a trade is even mentioned anymore, the first thing guys want to do is make sure each part is valued the same, and if not, what will be the cash pay out. Just wrong in my opinion. If you need something I have, and I want something you have, then let's do the swap no matter what each piece is valued at. The part is just another part, and isn't going to do me any good sitting on the shelf, however your firm handshake sealing the deal will last with me forever!


We are all in this together, so helping out a fellow collector in need should be top priority. The almighty dollar won't last forever, but I bet the friendship will. Somehow, someway, we need to get the pricing of our hobby back down to where it used to be, enjoyable, or at least within more reasonable prices. Even dealerships are starting to raise their pricing on these older parts, just to make more money on meeting the demand. People just can't afford to keep collecting like this, and in a way, we are chasing newbie's away from wanting to start a collection of their own. 

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#2 Talntedmrgreen ONLINE  


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Posted October 15, 2014 - 02:16 PM

I think the way folks shop, buy and sell has quite a bit to do with it.  I remember my Grandfather longing for attachments to go with his AC B-110.  I kinda made it my mission to find the stuff he only dreamed of, from those old brochures.  Back then, word of mouth or a roadside/auction find was about the only way to pick these items up.  Occasionally you might see something in the newspaper classifieds, or on a pin board at the grocery store.  With ebay, craigslist and google, along with LTL freight carriers and folks like Fastenal who will ship something garden tractor sized, reasonably, anyone can shop nationwide for items they want....and bump into other buyers along the way who jointly run the prices up.


Figure that into a declining supply of old iron (Lord only knows how much gets scrapped, or swallowed by rust each year), as well as the affect of inflation on our dollar, and it makes for a completely different market.  I'm just glad there's still a fond interest in this stuff by a younger generation.  

I do agree...the hobby has to be fun.  Sure it might be business for some, and to each their own, but I really enjoy sharing this stuff with folks.  I get a kick out of being able to sell a GT to someone younger than me, with that spark in their eye, and at the last minute tell them "You ought to just take that snowblade too..."


Talk about igniting a spark!  Guys like the folks around here have done that for me in years past, and now I get to do it from time to time too.  


I tell folks all the time, when asked why I collect these..."I do it because it's fun, I meet great people, and when it's not fun anymore, you wont see any tractors here"

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#3 glgrumpy ONLINE  


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Posted October 15, 2014 - 03:25 PM

Well, ebay and craigslist lets prices go up and up AND, someone DOES buy it in the end. So, next guy thinks HE has same chance, and so on. Auction places for cars made them go out of this world and that hobby is wrecked for me anymore, and environment cut-backs on junk and stuff laying around has killed lots of the fun. Technologies have taken over and Safety items that make it all more complicated and harder to fix. Less interest in fixing "Junk" when you can buy new and have it work for awhile anyway, then replace.  The FUN is running out more and more each year for me, now that I'm getting older and is harder to work on stuff.  STill have the urge, just not as fun as it once was. Home and garage space not as common anymore for working and keeping the things we have fixed, and once fixed, they just set and collect dust and have no use for you once you have rebuilt it, just takes up space. That is my biggest issue, once done fixing, I'm done likeing it, and it goes for sale.  I have one or two for actual work, the rest just set around and go bad again, so might as well move them to someone else. I too have been trying to quit the hobby, not an easy thing to do really, but will be done with it in a few more years I'm pretty sure.

    Far as demand, yes, more tractors at shows are the GT's now and not the big ones, and little interest by younger folks who don't have the cash to spend on such frivolous things. Supplies of the OLD wean down, go to junk easier now, and will only be kept by Hoarders with barns full of parts and tractors that they could never finish or use, and will junk when they die, keeping the stuff away from the ones that would want some of it/them. 

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Posted October 15, 2014 - 04:14 PM

I am going to chime in here with some opinions though they may not be well received. I have been able to build my collection by buying and selling to support my habit. The money is in Deere and Cub with this hobby mostly Deere. I don't have any Deere's in my collection but I buy them and part them and part them out if there is money to be made. I personally think that garden tractors are still a relatively cheap hobby. I also collect Cars, big tractors, and flywheel engines. Those hobbies are much more expensive than garden tractors. You might say that people that buy and sell like me are ruining this hobby but many of the tractors that I buy were headed for the scrap yard or already there because the previous owner saw no value in the old machine. Also I highly disagree with the comment that "none of the younger guys want anything to do with this hobby" I am 33 and have over 20 garden tractors I have several friends that are under 40 and have a shed full as well. Also see some of my recent post with my kids if you expose them too it they will get involved. So my suggestion is take some of those less valuable tractors and give them to a Kid. I have done it on several occasions and now those kids have a great hobby. I also this it is awesome what some guys are doing in grade schools with the tractor clubs I wish I had more time to start something like that in my area, maybe some day I will make the time.
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#5 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted October 15, 2014 - 04:20 PM

I'll post my perspective on this:


I've been into Bolens basically my whole life so I do remember the good old days of getting a good running machine for under $100 or a non running one for $25 or Free!, those days are now long gone unfortunately.

I actually think the inflation of price and demand has alot to do with the surge of online shopping and forums where members can now buy and sell things all across the country as well as post what they have and even give the Price of what they paid!

For the users/collectors before forums we would just be stuck  buying locally  for things we needed, often people would give you the tractor to get it off their hands or out of their yard. Fast forward to forums, people are now linked and suddenly garden tractors become "cool" or "Collectable" with people posting pictures of their latest find to leave others drooling over the purchase. Suddenly there becomes a demand for parts thus a few start parting machines here and there. The snowball keeps rolling, more years go by thousands are now online sharing pricing  and info showing off their latest find! .


More and more people see the need for parts thus more scrappers are now in business parting machines. Now the collector is fighting other collectors from across the country, the casual buyer and now the scrappers! (Ultimately making more people now wanting the same thing). Fast forward to today, just about everyone and their brother seems to be a "Used Parts guy" (Just look on ebay) , Now you have more people with no interest or passion just picking up tractors to make $$ leaving less tractors around for users/collectors.


What's it worth posts are now archived into the web with prices increasing almost daily, one guy see's someone paid $500 for a machine so they then ask $700 , snowball keeps rolling, more whats it worth posts are made and now people are viewing things in a "Parted out price" because it no longer matters if you keep a machine intact since you can get more $$ parted out.


To me this is a Hobby which I enjoy collecting/ helping others and its not about money, the day it becomes about $$ is the day I will get rid of my machines. I do this for relaxation & preservation of history to be passed down to the next generation. For example I sold my 430 Gravely a couple years ago to some younger kids for less than $200 running, sure I could have parted and made triple the amount but to see the machine go to a good home was worth more to me than the money, it has been beautifully restored since then and is used occasionally.


To sum things up we are all responsible for the increase in supply and demand pricing one way or another since we are all on the forums.  :beer:

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#6 dave8338 OFFLINE  



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Posted October 15, 2014 - 04:31 PM

Good questions and answers.  It all plays a part.  One other thing that continues to drive the prices up is that the cost of new, much of it junk when compared to the older stuff, has gotten out of control.  When you can spend 10K-12,000K on a new John Deere that would compare to the 400 series tractors of yesteryear, something has to give.  Also, as alluded to, the availability of parts to put these things back together and the prices those parts command, turns many fixer-uppers into donors.

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#7 ckjakline OFFLINE  



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Posted October 15, 2014 - 06:33 PM

As far as the new tires goes inflation,inflation,inflation.The cost of everything has gone up.Car and truck tires have doubled since I started driving.

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#8 mtoney OFFLINE  

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Posted October 15, 2014 - 08:51 PM

One just has to look at the huge Portland, Indiana swap meet and shows. A few years ago it was mostly flywheel engines and farm tractors. Now its probably 75% lawn and garden tractors with the rest being stationary engines and farm tractors.  Most kids that grew up on the farm nolonger do.  And the neighbors would frown at a Farmall M or JD style A sitting in the driveway.  But a garden tractor, espicaly one of of the major brands will fit in the shed/garage, can be used to mow the yard, clear snow ect.  Then clean her up and head to the show or plow day on the weekend. This has increased prices, along with the advant of most folks choosing to sell thier old mowers on ebay/craigslist instead of taking what a dealership might offer in trade.  If you want to talk expensive, look at the models that pack diesel engines, or rare options.  I lucked into my diesel GT by blind luck and a little be of timing.  Parts prices have skyrocketed, espicaly for the major brands.  Some brands such as Wheelhorse and the Simplicity/Allis tractors are more affordable to equip with options and attachments. The deals are still out there, but its takes luck and being in the right place at the right time.  Prices localy have stablized a bit this year IMHO, with only the special/rare/cream of the crop tractors fetching the high dollers.  The common machines being more affordable and if anything, prices have been down a bit localy.   Happy Hunting!     Mike

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#9 Alc ONLINE  



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Posted October 16, 2014 - 05:50 AM

Troy in at least our area of the country that you and I live they say the economy is bad ,, well just try going out for diner on the weekend  , you would think there giving food away lol .  Yes home prices fell but  there are plenty being sold for 200k and up .Not all the baby boomers are in the poor house , I'm at the tail end being born in 1959  there are many I know of that just a little older then me that both husband and wife worked and collecting pensions , along with SS are making MORE then when working and way more then my wife and I make now :(   For them if they don't have a mortgage ,kids gone ect  they can drop a couple of grand on a tractor , attachments just because they can . There are also plenty of younger people making between 100-200k that can also buy whatever they want . Best thing I can say is if you get a good deal just be grateful , I know I am when I do ,  

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#10 sacsr ONLINE  


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Posted October 16, 2014 - 06:21 AM

I think the pricing of things usually follow a pattern. Early on, at some point, it just becomes out dated junk, newer better models are available with better features. Then later as it becomes really old, 20-40 years, it starts to become an antique and it goes from out dated junk to a "rare or hard to find" collectible. You see this in cars all the time.
I do think that as the prices of these GT's go up, more come out of the barns for sale. Prices eventually will come down and level off. I am also seeing a lot of guys in their 70's calling me saying, I am ready to start selling some of my collection. My concern would be at one point does our hobby start losing some of its appeal to new collectors. That day will come, and prices again will start going down.

Like most here, this is fun for me. I work hard at it, but it's still a game not a job.

I do think the rise in price on current GT's is bringing up the prices on our older GT's as well. Look at tractors to see this in action. A buddy of mines Dad had a IH 284 he wanted to sell. He wanted to ask $4000 for it with a rotary cutter. He was questioning me about it. I did some research and figured out that tractor sold for around $3000 new. His dad had used it 20 plus years and was selling it for more than he paid for it.

Edited by sacsr, October 16, 2014 - 07:14 AM.

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#11 MH81 OFFLINE  


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Posted October 16, 2014 - 06:46 AM

Recently, I bought a WH C160, it had no sleeve hitch on it.
There is a guy who lives a couple of towns over that has been collecting / parting / refurbing WH for at least a decade. He would try to sell a complete machine locally for a modest profit, the ones that wouldn't sell... He parted on EPAY. Those who knew where he lived could stop by and buy stuff out the back door.

I stopped yesterday for a couple of reasons.
1 I had been wanting to $ a sleeve hitch and cable for the 160
2 I had heard his health wasn't what it was a couple years ago and I wanted to say hi.

He told me that between the flood of sellers, the higher prices of machines to buy (save) and the increased $ that eBay and PayPal are getting... Well, he is done. Not just for health reasons, he just doesn't need the struggle and frustration anymore.
We talked for a long time. He waxed historically about prices and availability and the sudden influx of got it for free and now its "rare" online, and much of what he said is a repeat of above, but he said that for him, the fun comes and goes. He sees no joy in parting any longer, some joy in repairing... But not what it used to be. I sensed His biggest enjoyment is when people stop by to shoot the bull.

I have more to say on a personal level, both the positives and the negatives, but am not quite ready to write it all out yet.
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#12 johndeereelfman OFFLINE  

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Posted October 16, 2014 - 06:51 AM

Personally, I think this is a phase. Garden tractor popularity will eventually subside and fall to the way side once the availability becomes to almost  impossible. Over the years, I have collected many different things, such as Matchbox/Hot Wheels cars, Hess trucks, Tonka trucks, etc, etc, etc. One minute the Matchbox/Hot Wheels cars are the hot ticket to collect, the next minute you can find hard to find cars for almost nothing. Hess trucks used to be hot at one point, but it's now to the point that you are spending more money for them the day they are released then you would to wait two years and buy them cheaper on ebay. Same goes for the farm tractor toys. One minute they are expensive to collect, the next minute you can buy a bunch for cheap.


Here is what I seen throughout the years. Old farm tractors were the things to collect many years ago, and eventually the pricing started skyrocketing once the availability started to diminish due to the popularity. Since collectors couldn't find good deals anymore, they started changing their focus to collecting the implements or attachments. Again, the popularity started increasing the pricing and decreasing the availability. With not being content of having nothing to collect, the focus or interest changed to garden tractors. Now with so many collectors wanting these old machines, the pricing went up, and the availability is starting to hit bottom. However, with the focus drawn to garden tractors now, I take notice that the farm tractor values have decreased a little, and you are starting to see more and more of the farm tractors being sold. Implements and attachments values are starting to fall as well, so will the same happen to these garden tractors as well? I don't know, and I don't have the answer.


For you collectors that are into this hobby just to make money, I ask you, when is the time to liquidate your collection? Do you know when the peek of collecting has hit the roof? Is there a small window of opportunity to make money on these machines? Again, I can't help you with answers. I wasn't wanting to tramp on toes with my opening post. I realize you guys are in this to make money, and to help keep food on the table. I get that. What I don't get is why dealerships started raising the prices of parts just because there is more of interest in buying particular items. Not even a year ago, I bought four new wiring harnesses from John Deere at $24.85 each. I called the dealership on Monday this week to order some more, and found out that they are now running $31.63 each. Why? I asked and found out that they needed to raise the price due to needing to meet the demand. Really? If the demand is so great, why would you raise your pricing? Just a way of making a few extra bucks!!! If they have it, and it is needed, then people will pay whatever is charged in order to get it. To me, that's just wrong, and the system is taking advantage of us.


As like Brian (Bolens 1000) I too am not into the hobby to make money. I enjoy collecting these old machines just for the relaxation and the sense of accomplishment whenever I restore one. I like to keep the tractors in their original outfits, but if one is chosen to be restored, then it will be done as close to factory standards as possible. I'd like to think it is my way of keeping the History of this old machine going. Most of the tractors and attachments I own have been given to my kids, but if they choose to sell everything after the day comes for me to leave, then I wish them the best, even though I'd rather they pass them down to their kids. When it comes to going to shows, most times the tractor aren't loaded. I enjoy going to the shows just to meet other collectors and enjoying the conversations that might arise. To me, that is what this hobby is all about.

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#13 Talntedmrgreen ONLINE  


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Posted October 16, 2014 - 06:51 AM

I'm really impressed with the way this discussion has gone thus far...things like this have the potential to go this way or that, and instead, there's some solid points made above!  Rather than quote each and add my $.02, I'll just say that I read through each of these posts, and not once did I think 'Nuh-Uh', but instead, 'Yeah, that sure makes sense'.


You have to make the hobby what it needs to be, to you, for you to enjoy it.  The days of free-$100 tractors are not gone...those are my bread and butter.  They are out there and sometimes they have literally been pushed into my shop with no effort on my part whatsoever.  While the scrappers are constantly looking for a quick buck, the 'green' mentality that is growing rapidly in our culture has many younger folks looking at their late Grandpa's barn full of 'junk' as a recycler or repurposer's dream come true.  They see it, and recognize that there are folks who will use that old iron....sometimes they take up the effort themselves, and join our ranks.


The net and sites like this are helping folks to get into the hobby...in a way, you could argue we are all shooting ourselves in the foot, by sharing and posting here.  It increases exposure of the equipment and hobby, and the interest grows.  Along with it, new folks will be looking to buy.  $100 might be the deal we need to find, as educated and sometimes over-extended collectors, but a newbie with great enthusiasm might see that tractor as 'worth' much more to them, as their one-and-only (or what I like to think of, as their FIRST of many!)   :smilewink:

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#14 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted October 16, 2014 - 07:11 AM

Prices on alot of things have gone way up. Muscle cars, tires, batteries, guns, ammo, clothes, meat, dairy, veggies have atleast trippled in the last 20 years. It is all part of inflation and limited critical resourses. Lead mines have been closed so batteries will go way up. California has droughts so their fruits and veggies are going up and more is imported.


A factor in our hobby is that there are fewer people to work on them each year. I don't find as many teenagers that are willing to turn a wrench as there were when I was one 50 years ago. Hand fitting of worn parts so that they will work again is unheard of now.


I have noticed that this year the prices on some hobby items(resto-mod muscle cars) has come down considerably. Wall Street is doing its prefall oscillations as we've seen before in Octobers of the past. The future is probably going to bring some big changes. Atleast a GT can help grow food. Good Luck, Rick

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Posted October 16, 2014 - 08:00 AM

I would like to meet a person who sells items for 50 cents on the dollar. It rarely happens with any item because people are not inclined to pass up money.There are lots of hobbies I would like to get into but the prices are out of my league like classic car collecting but I am still able to buy cheaper cars,since I can't afford a Yenko Camaro,and fix them up if I am doing it just for fun.You can still find $150 tractors if you are in it just for the fun but like any other hobby,you are going to spend more money for the rare or more desirable ones.Lack of funds might keep you from owning some particular models but you can still enjoy gt's cheap if your'e only in it for the fun.


I don't think garden tractors are going through a phase.You don't need near the storage space,you don't need a trailer or a large one but you can haul a lot of gt's on a large trailer and most parts can readily be shipped through regular shipping.I also don't believe farm tractors brought people together like garden tractors do and I think that is a key reason why they are so popular.

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