March 24, 2021
International Controversy Surrounds A Rare Piece Of Agricultural History!
You’ve probably already noticed if you’re a collector or enthusiast of early International Harvester tractors that there’s a rare 1912 International Harvester Type D Titan 20 horsepower tractor selling on the upcoming April 24 Pre-30 Auction conducted by Aumann Vintage Power.
International Harvester only built 273 of these 20 horsepower Type D Titans from 1910 to 1914. Only five complete tractors are still known to exist. The tractor was originally shipped from the factory in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Australia where it spent the majority of its working life.
Now after over 100 years in Australia the tractor has come back to the United States to sell on the Pre-30 Auction. That’s where the controversy begins.
Vernon Graham wrote a piece called, “Another rare Australian tractor listed for auction in the United States” in which a collector, John Edgar claims the tractor was “stolen” from Australia and should have remained in the country.
In the article Graham writes,
“John Edgar, from Drumborg in Victoria’s south west, said the International Titan D 20 horsepower tractor was “exceptionally rare” and believed the machine’s shipment overseas could have contravened the federal Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986.
He said a fellow collector had informed him the single-cylinder Titan D dated from late 1912 and was thought to be one of only six remaining in the world including another one in Canberra.
In a letter to Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz, Mr Edgar said the Titan tractor had “apparently left Australia some time after June 2020″ in as-yet-unknown circumstances.”
A similar controversy erupted in 2020 when Aumann Auctions sold another tractor that was exported from Australia. It was a rare 1912 McDonald “Imperial” EB built by the A. H. McDonald & Company and was Australia’s first tractor manufacturer. At the time it was claimed the tractor was “illegally” exported out of the country.
The McDonald sold for $283,500 US dollars and was purchased by a Melbourne, Australia businessman.
The known history on this rare 1912 Titan is that is was abandoned in the bush and almost forgotten for over 50 years until it was rescued by the Dewey family. It was hauled back to the Dewey family farm and parked in the shed until it was shipped back home to the United States in 2020.
The tractor is in need of a restoration, but it’s in remarkably complete condition and will make quite the show piece once it is back in operational condition.
This tractor is powered by a 20 Horsepower Famous Engine, the same engine used in the Type A, Type B and Type C Mogul Tractors. Although the Type C and Type D were built during the same time with the same engine, there are no tractor parts that interchange. This 1912 engine, serial number UB 4183 has a kerosene carburetor and setup for a gear drive magneto.
Will this Type D Titan head back across the pond to Australia or will it find a new home in the United States, the country of its “birth”. Be sure to check out this tractor at https://www.aumannvintagepower.com/.
Story by Dan Boomgarden