Photo courtesy of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers
This 1932 Caterpillar tractor, which sold for $55,950, helped usher in the diesel era.

Bidders from around the world had the rare chance to pick through a large auction of vintage heavy equipment, including dozens of crawler tractors, graders and other machines, on April 10 in Trout Run, Pa.

"The turnout was huge," says Bob Logue, son of the late George E. Logue Sr., a contractor who spent much of his life piecing together the collection.

Sales at the two-hour auction, which generated about $850,000, surpassed expectations. "It was twice what we thought it would be," says Logue.

More than 40% of the sales went to online bidders, notes Scott Edwards, territory manager for Ritchie Bros., which conducted the auction for the Logue family. Buyers hailed from the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands and Australia, among other countries.

Among the most popular items was a 1935 Caterpillar Seventy—one of the last gasoline tractors to be made by Caterpillar—which fetched $49,950.

Seconds later, a 1932 Caterpillar Diesel Sixty-Five tractor—one of the first diesels produced by Cat—sold for $55,950. Both prices include a 2.5% buyer's premium, which was capped at $950 per lot. Many machines for sale were in working condition.

A contractor, inventor and machine-shop owner, George Logue died last October at 85 years old, prompting his family to sell the machines. The hoard was well known among historians and featured in books about earthmoving.

Logue says the auction, which took place on the family farm where his father stored the machines, makes room for other earthly chores. "I'm ready for it all to be moved out, and I want to plant corn in this field," he says.