OVER 800 pieces of Ferguson memorabilia will go under the hammer at the Cheffins Machinery sale ground at Sutton, near Ely on 25th November.
Put together by the late Jim Russell, an enthusiast from Warwickshire, this represents one of the most comprehensive Massey Ferguson collections worldwide, formed over a 50-year period. Now being offered to market, the sale has the potential to see some very significant prices, and is made up of models, toys, paraphernalia and a 1936 Ferguson Brown Type-A tractor.
One of the most important lots is the final signature written by Harry Ferguson, dated 6th April 1954, prior to his resignation as Honorary Chairman at Massey-Harris-Ferguson Engineering Ltd on July 20th, 1954. In addition, there is a Ferguson Sherman Plough catalogue, which was used by Harry Ferguson to set out headings for a proposed tractor catalogue, and which has been annotated by him throughout.
Among the models, a scratch-built Ferguson mounted combine, built to a two-inch scale and which took over 3,000 hours to complete, is available as well as a 1933 Ferguson ‘Black’ tractor model, built by Jim Russell who was given permission by the Science Museum to measure and photograph the original version and an extremely original example of the ever-popular Ferguson Demonstration Models.
Jim Russell started collecting Marklin and Basset Lowke O-gauge railway locomotives in the 1970s, and by the 1990s his focus had switched to agricultural machinery, when he began buying models of the County tractors he was running on his farm. However, Jim’s real love was Fergusons, and this passion began after he was introduced to Irish inventor and the man responsible for the development of the modern tractor, Harry Ferguson, who asked him to drive an early Massey Ferguson tractor as part of a demonstration because they wanted to show it was so simple to use, even a child could drive it. This kickstarted Jim’s collection of Massey Ferguson memorabilia, which encompasses toys, catalogues, instruction manuals, models and even a 1936 Ferguson Brown Type-A which was previously owned by well-known Massey Ferguson historian, Ben Serjeant.
Tom Godsmark, a Cheffins Associate said, “This is certainly the largest private collection of Ferguson models, tinplate toys and memorabilia to ever have come to auction and is most likely to be the largest in existence in the world. The sheer scale of it is quite breathtaking, as is the condition of these pieces which have been displayed for over half a century. Jim has to have been one of the most devoted enthusiasts we have come across to date, even making major modifications to his house to fit his collection, with a dedicated room packed with display cabinets and even a specially built extension to the house with provisions to allow the Ferguson tractor to be run inside the house. This is set to be a very special sale and we are delighted to be able to offer it to the market.”