Agriculture was, and still is, a vital part of human civilization. Food is necessary for survival, and without farming, we would not have the abundance of food that we enjoy today. Plows are one of the most important pieces of equipment in farming. They are used to turn over the soil so that crops can be planted.
The first plows were likely nothing more than sticks or logs that were dragged through the soil to help loosen it up. Eventually, people began to attach blades to these early plows to make them more effective.
The ancient Egyptians are credited with inventing the first true plow. This early plow was made of wood and had a curved blade that was attached to a wooden beam. The Egyptians used these plows to till the soil along the Nile River.
In this article, you are going to learn how to evaluate antique plows. How old are they, and how does their age factor into their price? Plus, we’ll give you pointers on how to find out the plow’s real age.
Antique Plows Identification
What is an antique plow? An antique plow is a tool that was used for farming in the past. These days, people collect these old tools as a hobby. Some people even use them to decorate their homes.
They are definitely interesting pieces of equipment. They are a big part of human history, and they helped mankind to survive and thrive.
Plows come in all shapes and sizes. They can be made of wood, metal, or even stone. The most common type of antique plow is the wooden plow. These were usually made by local blacksmiths or carpenters.
The value of an antique plow depends on its age, condition, and rarity. The older the plow, the more valuable it is. This is simply because the older they are, the rarer they are. Without proper maintenance these tools break down and eventually fall apart.
Plows that are in good condition are also more valuable than those that are in poor condition.
Now that you know a little bit about antique plows, let’s talk about how to identify them.
How to Date an Antique Plow
One of the most important factors in determining the value of an antique plow is its age. The older the plow, the more valuable it is likely to be. There are a few ways that you can determine the age of a plow.
First, look at the materials that it is made of. You can find wood, iron, cast iron, or steel plows.
- Wood: If the plow is made of wood, it is likely from the 18th or 19th century.
- Iron: If the plow is made of iron, it is likely from the late 18th or early 19th century.
- Cast iron: If the plow is made of cast iron, it is likely from the mid-19th century.
- Steel: If the plow is made of steel, it is likely from the late 19th or early 20th century.
Second, look at the design of the plow. Older plows have a simpler design than the newer ones. Plows hadn’t changed much since the earliest days of their invention, but in the mid 1850s, there were some significant changes made. These changes came mostly as a result of improved efficiency of steam engines.
We stopped using horses to carry plows around then, and started relying on steam engines instead. This made it possible to make much larger plows that could cover more ground in a shorter amount of time.
The most important change was the addition of a moldboard. This is the curved piece of metal that you see on modern plows. This invention helped to make plowing much more efficient.
Another way to date an antique plow is by looking for a maker’s mark or other stamp. These marks were usually stamped into the metal of the plow. The mark would often include the name of the blacksmith or carpenter who made the plow, as well as the date that it was made.
If you can find one of these marks, then you will know for sure how old the plow is.
Now that you know how to date an antique plow, let’s talk about how to value them.
How to Value an Antique Plow
The value of an antique plow depends on a few factors. The most important factor is the age of the plow. As we said before, the older the plow, the more valuable it is likely to be. This is simply because older plows are rarer. The older a plow, the less likely it is to have survived the ravages of time.
Another important factor in determining the value of a plow is its condition. Plows that are in good condition are more valuable than those that are in poor condition. This is because plows that are in good condition can be used, while those in poor condition cannot.
The maker also plays a big role in determining a plow’s price. If you find something from a big name like John Deere or Parlin & Orendorff, then you have a gem in your hands.
On the other hand, if you find a plow that was made by a local blacksmith, then it is not going to be worth as much, since these are way more common (though not always). Noname plows usually don’t sell for as much because
The last factor to consider is the rarity of the plow. Some plows are much rarer than others, and are therefore way more expensive.
Editor’s note: The vast majority of antique plows is priced between $100 and $300. You can find models for prices up to $700, and there have also been cases of plows sold for thousands of dollars, but these are special cases. $150-$200 is the sweet spot for something that looks decent and is reasonably maintained.
But how do you actually value an antique plow?
Valuing Antique Plows
There are 3 main ways to get an antique plow valued:
- Estimating the value yourself
- Asking an online community
- Asking an expert
There is no superior option here. All 3 are viable, it all depends on what you’re looking for, and how much money you’re willing to spend.
Estimating the Value Yourself
This is the cheapest option, but it is also the least accurate. If you choose to value the plow yourself, then you will need to take into account all of the factors that we talked about before: age, condition, and rarity.
You will also need to do some research to find out what similar plows have sold for in the past. The best way to do this is to look online, on sites like eBay or Craigslist.
Or, you could go to an antique store, and ask the owner for their opinion.
Asking an Online Community
This option is a little bit more expensive than estimating the value yourself, but it is also more accurate.
There are a few online communities that deal with antique plows. These communities are full of experts who are more than happy to help you out. You can’t 100% rely on them, but if you get 2-3 people agreeing on a price, you’re most likely good.
Here are some online communities you can ask for help:
- Smokstak’s Antique Collectibles Forums
- Antiquetractors’ Forums
- Yesterdaystractors’ Forums (Though navigating this one is a nightmare. It’s as if time froze in the 90s and they’re still there. Definitely a fascinating corner of the internet.)
Asking an Expert
This is the most expensive option, but it is also the most accurate. If you’re looking to get an antique plow valued, then your best bet is to ask an expert.
The best way to find an expert is to go to an antique store, and ask the owner for a recommendation.
Or, you could look online for someone who specializes in antique plows.
Once you’ve found an expert, you will need to pay them for their services. Prices can vary depending on the expert, but you should expect to pay around $50-$100.
Now that you know how to value an antique plow, let’s talk about where to buy them.
Where to Buy Antique Plows
There are a few places that you can look for antique plows, both offline and online. Each comes with its own pros and cons.
Local Auctions or Estate Sales
The first place to look is at local auctions or estate sales. These are a great place to find plows that are being sold by people who may not know their true value. A great advantage of these places is that you can actually see the plow in person before you buy it. This can be a great way to make sure that you are getting what you are paying for.
Editor’s note: I’m not suggesting you should try to scam people who are unaware of the item’s value, but you can definitely haggle a more palatable price if you know what you’re doing.
The downside of these places is that they can be hard to find, and you may have to travel some distance to get to them. Another disadvantage is that there is usually a lot of competition for the best plows. This can drive up the prices, and you may end up paying more than you would like.
Another place to look for antique plows is at antique stores. These stores are a great place to find plows that have been professionally appraised and priced. This can be a great way to make sure that you are getting a fair price for the plow.
Plus, you are pretty much guaranteed you’re not buying a dud. These sellers care a lot about their reputation, and only want to sell original items. You won’t end up with a cheap copy or a plow in disastrous conditions.
The downside of these stores is that they can be expensive. This is because the owners of these stores have to make a profit, so they will usually charge more than the plow is worth.
The last place to look for antique plows is online auctions. These are a great place to find plows that are being sold by people all over the world. This can be a great way to find a rare or hard-to-find plow.
Here are your best bets to buy an antique plow online:
- eBay: Look for sellers with high feedback ratings and plenty of pictures. Luckily for us, eBay actually separates plows into categories based on the material they’re made of: wood, iron, cast iron, and steel.
- Craigslist: Look for plows that are being sold by people in your area. You can usually inspect the plow before you buy it. Simply visit your local area’s Craiglist and search for “antique plow” in the search bar. For example, here’s a listing for an antique plow in New Hampshire.
- Facebook Marketplace: Pretty much the same as Craigslist. It has a slightly better navigation, and it’ll automatically redirect to listings in your area, but you can manipulate the filters easily. For example, here’s a listing for an antique plow in Robbinsville, New Jersey.
- Antique Plow Dealers: These are businesses that specialize in selling antique plows. They usually have a website where you can browse their selection.
The downside of these auctions is that—oftentimes—you can’t see the plow in person before you buy it. This means that you have to rely on the seller’s description and pictures of the plow, and you may not get what you are expecting.
Another disadvantage of these auctions is that they can be competitive, and the prices can be driven up by bidding wars.
How to Care for Antique Plows?
Maintenance is crucial to keep your antique plow intact. Whether you are buying one to display as a vintage piece of furniture, or to actually plow your garden, keeping it in top shape will let you enjoy it for years to come.
Luckily, it’s pretty easy to do.
- The first thing that you need to do is make sure that the plow is clean. You can use a soft brush to remove any dirt or debris that has accumulated on the plow.
- Next, you need to oil the moving parts of the plow. This will help to keep the plow in good working condition.
- Finally, you need to store the plow in a dry place. Plows are made of wood or metal, and they will rust if they are stored in a humid environment.
By following these simple steps, you can be sure that your antique plow will last for many years to come.
What is the Difference Between an Antique Plow and a Vintage Plow?
The main difference between an antique plow and a vintage plow is that an antique plow is at least 100 years old, while a vintage plow is less than 100 years old.
However, there are some people who use the term “vintage” to describe anything that is old, regardless of its age.
So, technically speaking, all antique plows are vintage plows, but not all vintage plows are antique plows.
What is the Difference Between an Antique Plow and a Modern Plow?
The main difference between an antique plow and a modern plow is that an antique plow is powered by animals, while a modern plow is powered by machinery.
Antique plows are also generally made of wood or metal, while modern plows are usually made of plastic.
Finally, antique plows are often used as decorative pieces, while modern plows are designed for functionality.
How Much do Antique Plows Cost?
The cost of an antique plow depends on a number of factors, including its age, condition, and rarity.
Generally speaking, the older and more rare the plow is, the more it will cost.
antique plows can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
Of course, the final cost also depends on how badly you want the plow. If you’re just looking for a decorative piece, you may be able to find a cheaper one. However, if you’re looking for a functional plow, you may have to pay more.
No matter what your budget is, there’s an antique plow out there for you.
How to Use an Antique Plow?
If you’re lucky enough to own an antique plow, you may be wondering how to actually use it.
First, you need to make sure that the plow is properly assembled. Then, you need to actually plow your field. They are pretty intuitive to use, you just drag them along and move the soil with its blade.
Of course, if you’re not planning on using your antique plow, you can always just display it as a piece of vintage farm equipment.
Either way, it’s a great conversation starter.
Do Antique Plows Really Work?
The short answer is: yes, antique plows really do work!
They may not be as efficient as modern plows, but they can still get the job done.
Of course, you need to make sure that the plow is in good working condition before you try to use it. And unless you have a very small garden, you’ll wish you had something a little more modern.
But if you’re just looking to plow a few rows, an antique plow will do the trick.
Why Do People Collect Antique Plows?
People collect antique plows for a variety of reasons. Some people collect them because they are interested in the history of farming. Others collect them because they are beautiful pieces of vintage machinery.
Still others collect them because they are functional pieces of equipment that can actually be used on a farm.
No matter what your reason for collecting antique plows, there’s no doubt that they make a great addition to any collection.