A rare International Harvester tractor from Australia has been sold at auction in the United States for $A250,000.
Australian vintage farm machinery collectors led by Victorians John Edgar and Stuart Landry have been urging the federal government to take steps to ensure the International Titan D 20 horsepower tractor is returned to Australia.
The Titan D 20 horsepower tractor - which dates from late 1912 and is thought to be one of only five remaining complete models in the world - was listed for sale in an online sale run by Aumann Auctions of Illinois.
The closing bid was $US194,250 when the sale finished on April 24. The buyer has not yet been publicly identified.
Both Mr Edgar and Mr Landry believe the export of the Titan D 20 horsepower contravened Australia's Movable Cultural Heritage Act.
IN OTHER NEWS:
They sent pre-sale submissions to federal Arts Minister Paul Fletcher and other federal politicians urging them to take action.
"We have campaigned to have this machine dealt with by the appropriate department and have been unsuccessful although I maintain that it is an illegal export from Australia in relation to the Movable Cultural Heritage Act," Mr Edgar said.
The tractor, serial number UB4183, is one of 273 built by International Harvester between 1910-14 and was shipped to Australia in 1912 from the company's factory in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
It is powered by a 20 horsepower Famous engine which is "stuck", according to Aumann Auctions which specialises in historic farm machinery.
The listing on Aumann's website said the tractor had been returned "home" after being abandoned and almost forgotten for 50 years in Australia.
In the same auction bidding for a well-restored Big 4 (four cylinder) Thirty tractor built by the Gas Traction Company reached $US346,500.
Mr Landry from Leongatha South has disputed several claims that Aumann Auctions and others have made about the Titan D tractor.
He believed the correct serial number of the tractor is UB 4133 based on his photographic records.
As well he said claims the Dewey family had rescued the tractor from abandonment in bushland at Anakie north of Geelong were also incorrect.
The tractor had been in the care of a farmer with a different name from She Oaks for about 50 years until he had to move to a nursing home around 2018, he said.
"I don't know who purchased the Titan but (it's) unlikely it was an Australian," Mr Landry said.
He and Mr Edgar were still waiting for an official response from federal Arts Minister Paul Fletcher.
Mr Landry said the sale was disappointing but had highlighted another departmental failure to implement legislation to prevent the export of items of cultural significance.
He said said the Titan D had been shipped to the US some time during 2020.