Published: June 5, 2007
An extremely rare cigar-tip cutter and trade stimulator sold for $60,500 at a sale of items from the Jim Cate collection held April 20′2 by Showtime Auction Services, based in Chino, Calif. The auction was held at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds.
Mike Eckles of Showtime said, “Advertising signs especially did very well, with many examples hammering for over $10,000.” More than 1,700 lots changed hands over the course of the three days. Total sales grossed $2.1 million. Approximately 450 people were in attendance.
Jim Cate is an avid collector and longtime resident of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. His lifetime accumulation of country store and advertising items comprised a museum inside The Penny Candy Store. “The store was in an old bank building,” Eckles pointed out. “Two of the back walls were roped off and set up like a country store, to showcase his massive collections.”
The cigar-tip cutter/trade stimulator was featured in Marshall Fey’s Slot Machine book. When the user places his cigar tip into the top of the head to be clipped, a wheel is set into motion. The piece is one of only three known to exist, and was made more desirable by having the original marquee and dial. It was in overall fine working order.
Another item also sold for $60,500, to share top lot honors. It was an oak Regina musical china cabinet, one of only 13 made. Of those, only seven are accounted for, and of those, only two were made in quarter-sawn oak (as was the example sold). The bow front piece with stainless glass panel was in excellent, all-original condition and even included a set of discs for the 15-inch Regina movement.
A salesman’s sample Hires Root Beer dispenser, one of only two known, realized $55,000. The fact that it had no carrying case and exhibited some chips did not deter bidders. The marble piece, in overall fine condition, stood just 12 inches tall.
A Sleepy Eye flour tin embossed sign, in period wood frame, garnered a respectable $44,000. In overall excellent condition and measuring about 20 by 24 inches, it had just a few minor scratches. Also, a rare Kelly Tires tin advertising sign, made in the 1920s, realized $31,200. The two-sided sign, measuring 24 inches in diameter, was in near-mint condition and even had the original bracket.
Howard/Mills Uncle Sam grip tester, circa 1900, that invited customers to shake hands with Uncle Sam for a penny, hit $26,400. The cast iron piece featured a bust of Uncle Sam and a paper dial that registered the grasp strength of the user. It was perched on a nice oak stand, with a cast iron base, and had been professionally restored.
An extremely rare Hood Tire Dealer two-sided die-cut tin sign, measuring 11½ by 35 inches soared to $24,000. Also, a Coca-Cola self-framed tin sign, dated 1905, went for $21,600. Anything from Coke’s early days is prized by collectors.
An M.K. Goetz Brewing Company self-framed tin sign, titled “Jerry’s Smile,” made in 1903 in St Joseph, Mo., rose to $14,300. The 22½-by-28½-inch example showed only minor paint loss and scratches. Also, a Cream of Kentucky tin serving tray, made by the I. Trager Company of Cincinnati and one of the most desirable nude trays known, changed hands for a respectable $8,800.
A Curtis Hawk pedal car airplane, made by American National and all original, measuring 49 inches long, achieved $12,100. A Fish Brothers salesman’s sample farm wagon, an exact model of the full-size farm wagon with shaved spoke wheels and a spring-supported seat, rolled away for $8,250. Made in Clinton, Iowa, the wonderful piece sported good paint, decals and pinstriping.
All prices given include the buyer’s premium.
Showtime Auction Service’s next big sale will be held September 28″0, also at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds. Headlining the weekend event will be the Jim Main collection, the 90-year-old’s collection of rare advertising signs.
For information, www.showtimeauctions.com or 951-453-2415.
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