Remembering "The Auction of the Decade" 14 Years Ago Today in South Dakota

14 years is a long time. It’s also the blink of an eye.

14 years ago today, December 1, 2009, was a cold day. My birthday. Turned 44. Spent the day at one of the biggest auctions I’ve ever seen. Still to this day. It was the farm auction, an estate auction if I recall correctly?, for 3 brothers in Madison, SD. The sale was by the great team at Wieman Land & Auction (

The auction sale bill declared…“Auction of the Decade”.

That was an understatement.

If I recall correctly the story was the 3 brothers were lifelong bachelors and for their birthdays they got into the habit of buying each other New Tractors. Big Tractors. Their collection grew. Challengers, John Deere, CaseIH, New Holland. All BIG TICKET items. New Holland combines, Miller Nitro sprayer, tons of big tillage, trucks. Everything. All in super nice condition.

The Auction of The Decade.

Below you’ll find the 2 Machinery Pete Youtube videos I filmed that day, covering much of the equipment sold. Given how RED HOT the used equipment market has been now the past 3 years I find it fascinating to look back in time…14 Years Ago Today…and see what stuff was selling for hard cash back then. Like the 1997 JD 7810 with only 1054 hours…sold: $85,000.

That was then…Now? I’ve seen JD 7810’s sold as high as $170,000.

Looking back what I remember most about 14 Years Ago Today in cold Madison, SD at the Auction of The Decade…is the people. Tons of people. No online only auctions back then. This auction was an event. Folks came from all over US and Canada to be there. To bid in person. To talk. To listen. To learn. I remember the crowd was SO large it was actually quite difficult to move around as the machinery was selling. We were all bundled up, boots, hats, longjohns, gloves. The crowd’s collective breath creating an ever rising steam. It was so cold, folks ducking into the machine shed to warm up a bit and grab a warm burger, maybe a donut or piece of pie. Put the gloves back on and head out to the next long row of equipment selling.

I miss those days of huge auction crowds.

On my drive home to Rochester, MN after the auction finished I hopped off I-90 in Jackson, MN to gas up the pickup. Had to use the john after. As I’m at the row of urinals a guy, a few urinals down, guy who I don’t know, says…“Well Pete, how do you think the tractors sold on the auction today?” In my 34 years tracking auction sale prices still the only time I’ve ever been asked a tractor question while peeing.

The Auction of The Decade.

Here’s link to view the full sale price report from The Auction of The Decade in Madison, SD on December 1, 2009:

Machinery Pete

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