Published: June 2, 2020
TIMONIUM, MD. – On May 21, Richard Opfer Auctioneering, Inc., offered more than 400 lots, including scoops, dispensers, advertising, coin-ops and photographs from the Harold Screen estate’s soda fountain collection in addition to a collection of a local carousel dealer who was getting out of the business. With no reserves, all of the lots in the sale sold for a total of nearly $130,000, with new bidders registered to buy online and sales going to International bidders in Canada and Australia. The sale was conducted on HiBid, OpferLive and LiveAuctioneers, with the most sales selling on LiveAuctioneers.
The sale had originally been scheduled for earlier in the spring but Opfer rescheduled it twice, waiting to see what would happen with changing COVID-19 restrictions. The auction house allowed previews by appointment and provided additional photographs and condition reports to potential buyers so people could bid with confidence. After the sale, Richard Opfer was upbeat.
“I am very pleased. The sale was very strong. Everyone is worried about the Covid situation and what have you. My biggest concern – I postponed the sale twice – I wanted people to be able to preview what they wanted. We had about 20 people come in to see things. In the end, we had plenty of participation. I think people are sitting at home, wanting to buy. It wasn’t crazy money but we got very good money for what we had and every category was strong. The market for this stuff isn’t what it used to be – we’ve lost a lot of those collectors and don’t have as many new ones as we used to. With so much online bidding, we are seeing more shipping than before.”
A few lots jumped out to Opfer as he discussed the sale with Antiques and The Arts Weekly.
“Lots 80 (Ford’s Cherry Phosphate dispenser) and 81 (Queen Sherbet dispenser) were really early,” noting that they each sold under the money, for $632 and $862, respectively. Two early ice-cream mixers – lots 90 (soda fountain milk shake mixer) and 91 (A.W. Milkshake mixer) both surpassed expectations, bringing $862 and $1,092. A “Mission Orange Ade” dispenser in the best condition he had ever sold made $1,495 and a cylindrical ice cream scoop, made in Canada is “a hard one to find” and more than tripled its high estimate to close at $345.
Bringing “a lot of money” and taking 25 bidding increments to sell was a lot of eight early soda fountain utensils and egg beaters that realized $1,265 against an estimate of $75-125. One of the more unusual lots in the sale was a framed collection of condom tins, which Opfer said he talked to “a lot of people about them. The presentation was done to the nines,” and the lot, estimated at $100/200, made $1,610.
Another sale of similar material has not yet been scheduled.
Prices quoted include the minimum buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house but may not include additional surcharges for payment or bidding methods.
Richard Opfer Auctioneering, Inc., is at 1919 Greenspring Drive. For information, 410-252-5035 or www.opferauction.com.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm