Palmyra collector welcomes tractor back into family
PALMYRA, Mo. (AP) — Mark Lovelace always regretted trading off a tractor his grandfather bought new in 1959, so when that tractor recently was up for sale, he bought it back.
“I guess the important thing is that it will be handed down to my son and grandson,” Lovelace said.
Lovelace, 58, had not been born when his grandfather, Benjamin Lovelace, bought the Farmall 230 from Selby Implement in 1959. It wasn’t the biggest tractor on the Lovelace farm, but it got lots of use.
“Grandpa always called it ‘the little tractor,’ ” Lovelace said.
The Farmall 230 was just the right size for raking hay, running the hay elevator or pulling a wheat drill. So Mark Lovelace and his father, Lloyd, handled those and other tasks on the little tractor.
In 1997, Mark Lovelace wanted a tractor to pull his planter, and the Farmall was far too small for the job.
“They had an International 856 at Selby’s that I wanted, so I traded the Farmall” as part of the deal, he said.
It wasn’t long before Lovelace regretted his decision. Within a few years the “collector’s bug” bit him, and Lovelace began showing antique tractors in area parades.
“I’d guess we’ve got 20 plus tractors now,” he told The Quincy Herald-Whig.
Unbeknownst to Lovelace, the tractor he traded away at Selby’s in 1997 was bought that same year by John Martin of Quincy and he started driving it in parades or taking it to tractor shows. When Martin died this year, his family asked Selby’s to sell it.
Ray Holmes, a salesman at Selby’s, said Lovelace saw the tractor on the dealership’s lot and asked if it was the one his family had once owned.
“Once a tractor is gone, you can rarely get it back,” Holmes said.
On the other hand, it’s not unusual to find sellers who regret their decision and want to track down what they’ve sold or traded.
“We’ll hear from people who ask ‘can you tell me where my tractor went?’” Holmes said.
Back in 1959, the Farmall 230 was sold to Benjamin Lovelace for $1,685 and a cultivator sold with the tractor for $340.
A Selby Implement sales ticket from 1997 showed that Mark Lovelace got $1,400 through the trade-in that allowed him to buy the IH 856.
The biggest tractor on Lovelace’s farm is the International 5488, which is rated at 200 horsepower. That dwarfs the Farmall 230′s rating of about 25 horsepower.
Lovelace said that doesn’t diminish the “little tractor” in his eyes.
“We don’t have a shortage of tractors we actually use on the farm. This tractor will be in shows and parades and things like that. It’s really been retired since (Martin) bought it. He used it as a parade tractor,” Lovelace said.
He also likes the idea that the tractor he learned to rake hay with will be passed down to 30-year-old Shelby Lovelace and 2-year-old Ethan Lovelace.
The Farmall will get a new seat and “a little touchup on the paint,” but other than that, Lovelace doesn’t see much that needs work.
“I don’t think it has needed a lot of maintenance,” Lovelace said.
Holmes agreed that tractors can have a surprisingly long lifespan with a little care and upkeep.
“It’s just like older cars: They last. I’ve got a 1929 truck. If you take care of them they’ll last a long time,” Holmes said.
Information from: The Quincy Herald-Whig, http://www.whig.com