Irish buyers are big players at vintage machinery sales in the UK thanks to a favourable currency exchange rate, according to Cheffins' Chairman William King.

These Irish buyers represent the largest proportion of foreign buyers at vintage machinery sales run by UK selling agents Cheffins, he said.

"Irish buyers are by far and away the second largest group of buyers after domestic buyers.

Over the past few months Irish buyers are back buying tractors as they can get more for their money on the exchange rate.

The trade for vintage machinery and tractors has been steadily improving ever since the last recession in 2007-2008, which has lead to Cheffins vintage sales having an extraordinary year in 2016, King said.

"The trend for collecting classic tractors has always existed, it just is now that the prices are really starting to take off."

[caption id="attachment_146928" align="aligncenter" width="728"]A 1917 International 12-25 ‘Twin Mogul’ was sold for £84,000 (€100,000) A 1917 International 12-25 ‘Twin Mogul’ was sold for £84,000 (€100,000)[/caption]

In total, over £5.4m (€6.4m) worth of vintage items were sold by Cheffins throughout the year at sales right across the UK, a record breaking year for the selling agents.

The vintage auctions included the sale of tractors, machinery, motorbikes and steam engines. But the sale of vintage and classic tractors made up the largest proportion of the sales, the Cheffins' Chairman said.

A total of 730 classic and vintage tractors went under the hammer at Cheffins' sales in 2016.

Attitudes have changed over the last few years, as buyers are now searching for the rarer tractors and have very specific requirements, he said.

Collectors are coming to these sales and they are looking for something that is a bit unusual or a bit different.

The vintage tractors on sale this year covered the entire spectrum, he said, with models from as early as 1917 right up to modern classics.

[caption id="attachment_146906" align="aligncenter" width="728"]Massey Ferguson, vintage A 1966 Massey Ferguson 135 with less than 1,000 hours on the clock sold for £20,000 (€23,800)[/caption]

Meanwhile, the vintage sales in October proved popular with buyers looking to restore tractors over the winter months in order to sell them on again in the spring, he added.

The prospects for vintage machinery sales in 2017 are bright, with King expecting prices to continue improving next year.

Modern Farm Machinery Sales at Cheffins

With regards to modern farm machinery sales at Cheffins, over £34m (€40.5m) worth of machinery was sold in 2016.

The selling agents hold one of the world's largest monthly agricultural auctions at it's salesground in Sutton, Cambridgeshire.

Close to 3,000 tractors were sold throughout the year to a value of £20m (€23.8m), with buyers coming from 100 different countries around the world.

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With sales totals increasing regularly, it is obvious that both the UK and export market for second-hand machinery is booming, Director at Cheffins, Bill Pepper said.

The cocktail of rising prices for new tractors, lack of new tractor registrations, a shortage of stock for dealers and a drop in trade-ins has really brought the UK dealers back to our market.

"This, combined with the export trade making the most of a drop in the pound, has led to UK buyers vying against the foreign buyers and has in turn pushed up prices," he said.