Avid collector's vintage tractors to go under the hammer
- Credit: DENISE BRADLEY
A historic fleet of vintage tractors and farming bygones amassed by a passionate Norfolk collector will go under the hammer later this month.
The collection being auctioned at Manor Farm in Aldborough, between Aylsham and Cromer, is the lifetime’s work of Billy Hammond, who died in July at the age of 94.
Mr Hammond was a former president of Holt and District Farmers Club and the Aylsham Show, during a respected farming career which stretched from before the Second World War until shortly before his death.
He was also known as a vintage machine enthusiast, whose collection includes classic John Deere, Allis Chalmers and Ferguson tractors dating back to the 1930s, 1950s American Minneapolis Moline tractors, and a 1930s Belle City corn thresher.
One of his favourite machines, a vintage 1935 Case C tractor, is also up for sale.
Auctioneers from Arnolds Keys said interest is already being expressed by enthusiasts across the UK and beyond, ahead of the sale on September 15.
The 521-lot sale includes 22 tractors from the Hammond collection, as well as six combines and threshers, and a wealth of other farm machinery such as ploughs and cultivation equipment - some dating back to the days of horse-drawn agriculture when Mr Hammond started working on the land.
His son Jack Hammond said: "It will certainly be sad to see them go - the end of a particular era. But I am still confident we are doing the right thing, which father would approve of.
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"I am sure he would be pleased to know these machines are going to other collectors he knows who would look after them. I have not got the same passion and interest to do so.
"It is with a heavy heart that they are being offered up, but if they stayed here they would just gradually deteriorate, so it is best they go to a collector who can look after them.
"This collection was never open to the public but nothing gave him more joy than showing people around. He would take the machines to the Aylsham Show and Tunstead Trosh and village shows in days gone by.
"He went all over the world, and brought a shipping container full of machines back from America.
"He was the definition of a tinkerer. He spent hours and hours fiddling around and tinkering with these machines. Most of them are still in running order."
Mr Hammond said his father’s passion for collecting vintage machinery was initially a surprise to the family. “In the mid-1980s engines and tractors suddenly started appearing on the farm,” he said. “It took us by surprise at first.
“It started when he wanted to buy either the actual tractors which he had used when he started farming, or else the same model and vintage. When he retired he immersed himself in collecting all over the UK and further afield, especially in the US. You could say it became an obsession.
“Dad was passionate about the machines. He was fascinated by the history and by how farming had changed so much over his lifetime, and carried on collecting until he ran out of space."
Simon Evans of Arnolds Keys, who will be leading the auction, said: “This is without doubt one of the most interesting and unique collections of historic tractors and farm machinery anywhere in the county.
“Billy Hammond had a national and indeed international reputation as a collector of and expert on vintage machinery, which he didn’t just leave shut away in a barn – he loved to bring his tractors out to demonstrations and agricultural events, so that their memory could be kept alive.”
- The auction takes place from 10.30am on Wednesday September 15 at Manor Farm, Aldborough, NR11 7NR. More details at www.arnoldskeys.com/agricultural-irelands/auctions/current-auctions.