As many a collector knows, finding the first made of anything is extraordinarily difficult, as equally as finding the last of anything. So what are the odds of acquiring both within a year?
    Darryl Krause was on hand at the 70th annual Central States Threshermen’s Reunion, which opened Thursday morning, to describe just how he got ahold of the first and last produced Allis-Chalmers tractors of the D21 series, of which less than 4,000 in total were built between 1963 and 1969.
    Krause and his two relic tractors made the trip as part of the Gathering of the Orange show, a special event coinciding with the reunion taking place at Threshermen’s Park.
    “Bookends (collections containing first and last of a thing) are basically unheard of,” Krause said. “Especially of something like the Allis-Chalmers D21, which was their first 100-horsepower tractor, and their first tractor that cost over $10,000. It’s incredibly surreal, still.”
    Krause, who hails from Lynden, Wash., a town more than 2,000 miles away from Pontiac, said his fascination with Allis-Chalmers tractors, D21s specifically, began when he was just 8 years old and was present at a tractor pull, adding that he’s been in love with them ever since.
    “I bought my first D21 in 2000, and over the last 18 years, I’ve owned 29 of them, so they’re pretty special to me.”
    The front bookend of the D21s, the first one ever made for production, came to his attention quite by accident while browsing the web in December 2014.
     Krause found the owner on Craigslist, who was looking for a hydraulic pump for his D21. He inquired about it, but the owner initially indicated he was not particularly interested in selling. The two nevertheless continued to exchange messages concerning the tractor, with Krause discovering that the owner was willing to part with it for a more modern tractor with air conditioning.
    When the Lynden man asked the original owner about the serial number, he was sent a photo of it — and that’s when Krause knew this tractor could be something special.
    “It said one, zero, maybe a zero, and a one,” he recalled. “I thought, ‘No way.’”
    After some further vetting was done, with the assistance of persons experienced with that kind of research, it was discovered that it was, in fact, the real deal. The owner was persuaded to part with it after a six-hour negotiation, in which Krause said he ended up coughing up a “reasonable amount” to acquire the tractor.
    Once he got the alpha, the omega practically fell into his lap. As news had traveled fast of his acquisition, he soon got more than mere congratulatory messages. Two days after he got his bookend tractor home, he received a private message from a man in Texas concerning the other bookend, which he managed to purchase and return to his home before the end of 2015.
    “So from January 2015 to October 2015, I had the very first and the very last D21 tractors in my possession,” he said. “If you would have told me years ago that I would one day own the first and last one of these, I would have said, ‘No way, that’s impossible.’ It’s a huge stroke of luck to have this first one. I’m very blessed.”