Rare Furphy water tank from 1930s sells for $65,300 after sitting on Beechworth farm for 30 years

Why this rusty old water tank that sat in a field for decades has just fetched a small fortune for a Victorian farming family

  • A Victorian collector has parted with $65,300 for a rusted Furphy water tank 
  • The auction saw fierce competition, with 110 bidders vying for the old tank
  • The tank, which was owned by a Victorian couple, sat on their farm for decades
  • It dates back to the 1930s and rusted away for about 30 years on their property
  • It is highly valued due to a rare model pump and bracket attached to the item

A water tank has sold for a whopping $65,300 despite the 1930s collector’s item languishing on a family farm for decades.

The tank and cart that sat on Chris and Karen Bartsh’s Victorian farm in Beechworth for 30 years sold for the record price at an online clearing sale in the state’s north east on Tuesday. 

There was stiff competition at the auction with a mystery collector eventually beating out 110 bids to secure the rusty tank for themselves.  

The couple were told by collectors that it was one of only three that anyone in Australia knew of. 

Mr and Mrs Bartsh said they thought they might at least get $2,000 for the tank but were ‘shocked’ at the price they got. 

The water tank (pictured) was snapped up by a mystery collector who faced stiff competition from others, as they fought to secure the rusty tank with 110 bids

The water tank (pictured) was snapped up by a mystery collector who faced stiff competition from others, as they fought to secure the rusty tank with 110 bids

The farm carts were manufactured in Shepparton and were drawn by horses as far back as the 19th century (pictured, an early cart)

The farm carts were manufactured in Shepparton and were drawn by horses as far back as the 19th century (pictured, an early cart)

 ‘I knew it was going to make good money, but it blew us out of the water,’ Ms Bartsh told the ABC.

The tank was more valuable in the collectors’ world because it had a model pump and bracket attached to it, which made it more expensive to buy at the time and thus increased the item’s rarity. 

Mr Bartsh’s father Adrian had bought it from someone in the late 1960s or early 1970s. 

‘It has been in the paddock for the last 30 years. It must have sprung a leak for my father to stop using it. Our neighbour remembers pumping out septic tanks with it,’ Mr Bartsh told the Weekly Times

‘It was a shock … I never dreamt it had such value.’ 

Clearing sale manager Chelsea McKay, from Kevin Hicks Real Estate, told the ABC the price of the sale was the highest she had seen for the Furphy brand.

A Furphy tank sold for $26,000 to the Shepparton Furphy Museum curator Josh Powles in 2017.

The farm carts were manufactured in Shepparton in Victoria and were drawn by horses as far back as the 19th century. 

The were used for storing water, milk and transporting blood from abattoirs.  

The tank and cart (pictured) that sat on the farm for about 30 years, sold for the record price at an online clearing sale in Beechworth Victoria's north east

The tank and cart (pictured) that sat on the farm for about 30 years, sold for the record price at an online clearing sale in Beechworth Victoria’s north east 

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