Published: June 27, 2023
WATERLOO, IOWA — In today’s world, everyone wants “Fresh.” That’s the buzz word! Fresh fruit. Fresh vegetables. Fresh bread and more. In the auction business, fresh is important as well. “Fresh To Market” means a collection or a piece that’s been hiding somewhere for decades has finally percolated to market. And like that aroma of a fresh cup of percolated coffee…it draws you in!
And that it did. The May 12-14 Rich Penn Auction drew in several thousand bidders from over a dozen countries to bid on three “Fresh To Market” collections. And bidders were happy to pay for fresh! With more than 1,500 lots to choose from, including more than 5,000 items from coins to cars, there was something for everyone. The most exciting lots had house bidders slugging it out with online bidders. Of the top 50 lots, it was nearly a draw. With almost a total of 3,000 bids placed before the live auction start, online bidders won 26 and in-house won 24.
The top lot was a very cool looking 1971 Ford Mustang Boss 351. Fresh to market from a barn in Iowa, it drew a lot of attention. That was the tail end year of the Ford muscle car run of the late 1960s. The Marti report put this in a production class that was one of seven built. With just under 49,000 miles showing, it sold to a buyer on the East Coast for under a dollar for each of those miles! Hammer with fees was $47,600. Prices are rounded and reflect Buyer’s premium.
The runner up for top spot was another Ford product from the same barn! This 1964 black on black Ford Galaxie 500 XL, with just over 70,000 miles, sold to an in-house buyer for $19,800. But it wasn’t a typical in-house buyer. A young auctioneer, just out of auction school in 2021 named Sonny Jensen, stepped up and had the top bid on the phone. Sonny is a very talented new auctioneer at Rich Penn Auctions and actually worked the May auction. He saw the Galaxie when he came in and fell in love with it. He couldn’t stay for the Sunday session with the cars. But love conquers all! Sonny called in and wanted to be a phone bidder. He was…and he won! Penn said, “I’m really glad Sonny ended up with that car. He said he always wanted a ‘64 Galaxie and now he has one and it’s a good one. It’s like it stayed in the auction family.”
Advertising took some of the top honors right along with the cars. Breweriana advertising lithos were strong throughout. An exceptionally colorful one for Crescent Brewing Co, circa 1885, featuring Aurora Lager Beer sold at $17,100. The stunning litho was produced by Wm. Burford, an Indianapolis Lithographer, founded in 1875. Its new home is now in New England. Porcelain attracted strong bidders as well. A beautiful professionally restored curved corner sign for Gambrinus Beer, a Columbus, Ohio, brewery, sold for $9,800. Prices on lithos were followed by strong prices on neon. A 10-foot-long hotel double-sided animated sign for “Rooms $5.00 and Free TV” flashed up a winning price of $8,100. The sign will now be offering rooms at $5.00 for an East Coast collector. An automotive skeletal three-color neon dealer piece, for three lines under the Buick banner, Le Sabre, Invicta and Electra, sold at $6,000.
As a category, any kind of Petroleum pieces were strong throughout the auction, even for an intake manifold. A beautifully designed Tri-power setup for Ford’s big block Marauder 430 CI V8 was a powerful example. It fit a 1958 Mercury and was designed by one of Ford’s top designers, Lynn Wineland. Not only was this piece rare, but it was also beautifully intimidating to look at. Its beauty was equally powerful. It helped Ford build the first production engine to deliver 400hp! It revved up a selling price of $5,100. Not far behind the Marauder manifold were several advertising display pieces.
Spark plugs were an important automotive part in the 1920s-30s and it was a competitive industry. Dominating was the Champion Spark Plug Co, which had as a smaller competitor, the Splitdorf Ignition Co that made Green Jacket spark plugs in the 1920s. They made an impressive display for their products. Their counter display had superb lithography by American Artworks on the front and sides. The Green Jacket is no longer produced, but the display survived.
It sparked a winning house bid of $3,900. Another great display piece came from Ford. A dimensional cast metal and wood Ford 1953 Jubilee sign was produced for dealers and celebrated the new-half ton pickup. The same emblem showed up on the truck badges. Almost 30 inches high, it was a strong hanging display piece. That strength carried over to a strong price at $4,270. License plates also sparked strong interest. A three digit 1906 Pennsylvania porcelain plate registered a price of $3,660. Another Pennsylvania porcelain plate, 1905, brought $3,000. Both were in excellent condition.
There were notable highlights in soda advertising as well. A neon “Cleveland” Pepsi clock with lightup marquee took a top price of just under $4,000. Another Pepsi piece, a double-sided 1956 cardboard sign, in its original aluminum frame brought $2,600.
According to Penn, “When buyers say they want fresh, that’s what we should offer them. We did and they stepped up. That means it was a great auction.”
Rich Penn Auctions has more “Fresh to Market” auctions scheduled: July 29 and a large one in November.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For information, www.richpennauctions.com or 319-291-6688.
October 3, 2023
October 3, 2023
October 3, 2023
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