Out of curiosity, I phoned the Seller.
Here's what I found out.
According to him, the previous owner rebuilt the engine and the deck. Bottom line....the Seller has no invoices to back up the claims made and Buyer's are expected to rely on his word. He could not tell me if the block was bored or any other detail about the engine work. The same holds true with the deck rebuild.
This is a basic 444 that has had a holding valve installed,.....which he claims is worth $700.00. No PTO, no hitch other than the stock tow plate....no nothing. It should have a J-deck under it. Perhaps it does but if so, the chute has been hacked off of it.
He claims that the decals are original. I asked him for the serial number but he did not have it close by.
To me.....the decals look too good to be true. I've seen quite a few Demo's and have never seen one that had decals as perfect as the ones on this tractor. I have bought a lot of tractors just on the strength of photos, as Jack will confirm, but this one bothers me.
Secondly, while I am pleased to see the hobby grow, I am not pleased to see the prices for these tractors jump into what I call the "stupid zone". The whole idea behind collecting lawn and garden tractors was because of affordability. Joe Average wage earner could easily afford to own a half-dozen restored tractors and haul them to local shows for some fun. Rising prices just push more and more people out of the hobby instead of bringing them into it. And the worst thing of all, is that no one will PAY you a dime for what you put into one of these tractors to bring it back from the dead.
Who wants to pay $13,000.00 for that fake T-90 that a certain unnamed person was demanding? Who wants to tie up $13,000.00 of their hard-earned cash into something that may not appreciate in value as quickly as leaving that money in your savings account?
And just because two idiots chased the price of that last Demo to record levels, that doesn't mean that's what a Demo is now worth. The ONLY people who push that so-called logic are those who own one or are charged with auctioning one off. Anyone who has attended public auctions or watched auctions on e-Bay can cite instances where they have watched two people with too much testosterone, duke it out in an absurd pissing match that ends with one of them going home with a used object that could be bought brand new with a warranty for less money.
When certain items begin to command big money, out come the profiteers who create fakes so that they can catch the unwary and unsophisticated. The more money that's involved, the greater the lengths that these counterfeiters will go to so that they can make a fast buck. Imagine how pissed you would be if you paid $2500.00 for that GD, took it to a show and Steve, Herm and Jim all told you that it was a fake. Realistically, this would be a $500.00 tractor without those GD decals on it.