Metro-East Living

Auction offers farmer’s rare collection of John Deere

One of the older pieces of John Deere equipment owned by the late Verlan Heberer and being auctioned Friday and Saturday at Eckert’s Orchards in Belleville.
One of the older pieces of John Deere equipment owned by the late Verlan Heberer and being auctioned Friday and Saturday at Eckert’s Orchards in Belleville. sboyle@bnd.com

When longtime collector and farmer Verlan Heberer, of Belleville, died in August, he left behind a extensive and rare collection of John Deere tractors, said auctioneer Jeff Polk.

His company, Polk Auction Co. of New Paris, Ind., which specializes in collector-tractor auctions, will start the bidding at 8:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday on a collection so big it had to be moved to Eckert’s Orchards in Belleville to accommodate the multitude of John Deere vehicles and parts.

“Oh, it’s in the thousands, with some stuff dating back to the late 1800s; museum-quality pieces,” said Polk of the collection, which includes 80 John Deere tractors, thousands of John Deere two-cylinder tractor parts and hundreds of horse-drawn implements and antiques.

Belleville native Heberer, a grain and livestock farmer, died Aug. 24 at 82 as a result of a farm accident. He was a member of the Illinois Pork Producers, the John Deere 2 Cylinder Club and “rarely missed an opportunity to attend an auction,” his obituary said. A lifelong member of the Turkey Hill Grange, he was a graduate of the University of Illinois and a veteran of the U.S. Army.

On Friday, tractor parts, primitives, signs and collectibles will be auctioned. On Saturday, tractors, wagons, and implements will be auctioned.

“People all over the world will bid on what he had,” said Polk, who said online bidding will include collectors from Belgium and the Netherlands.

For more information about the auction items,go to www.polkauction.com.

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