Published: July 17, 2001
Slot Machine Tops Julia Summer Auction at $57,500
FAIRFIELD, ME. – James D. Julia’s auction of country store memorabilia, toys, and dolls on June 30, fueled by a zero percent seller’s commission offered on “high-value rdf_Descriptions,” featured more than 700 lots.
The event began with a selection of antique toys. Tin toys included a sought-after Elastolin Half-track Hausser number 731 Nazi troop carrier in good condition, which fetched $2,875. A Marx Amos ‘N Andy Fresh Air Taxi was a good buy at $1,207, while the Humphrey Mobile with original box was in clean condition with a waving hand and tipping hat that sold for $747. A 1946 Dick Tracy squad car brought $400.
The walking Popeye with parrot cages, circa 1930, came with the original box and sold for $690, while a 1935 King Features Syndicate Popeye watch topped the $400/700 at $1,265. The Hopalong Cassidy wristwatch also exceeded the estimate at $833.
Black rdf_Descriptions included a rare French black automaton that stopped the show when it sold for $13,800, and a remarkable redware black figure mounted on a coconut that sold for $1,782. In addition to the classic Amos ‘N Andy toy mentioned above, this sale offered three versions of a well-known Ham ‘N Sam tin windup with Ham on the banjo and Sam at the piano. A small version by Linemar was in excellent working condition and went out at $1,265. Another by Strauss was dated 1921 and came complete with original box for $1,150. Another rarity was a Black Babies shooting gallery which sold for $1,495. A rare, choice black whirligig featured Dancing Sam and Dan the Banjo Man ($1,092); a Smoking Sambo diecut fireworks display was in excellent, unused condition ($690); a tin windup Jazzbo Jim depicted a rhythmic Jim dancing above a rooftop ($373); and several Jolly Nigger cast iron banks sold in the $200/400 range.
A clean example of the highly desirable cast iron Jonah and the Whale sold for $2,587. A scarce Kenton “Seeing New York” cast iron tourist car was a rare buying opportunity, bringing a strong price of $3,220. A very rare dancing bear mechanical bank with very good paint sold for $4,542.
This sale included a selection of dolls, mostly drawn from three private collections. The top seller was a 14-inch French bisque Bru socket-head doll in good condition with a Mark of 3. It doubled the estimate when it sold for $8,050.
A 19 inch French bisque socket-head doll, wearing a straw hat with a blue stamp on the body that read Jumeau Medaille d’Or and a red stamp on the head, Depose Tete Jumeau Bte SGDG 8, brown paperweight eyes, sold for $5,175, while a K*R number 114 “Gretchen” bisque doll with a character face from a Midwest collection fetched $3,450. A German-made Kestner bisque socket-head doll standing 26 inches also attracted attention and led to a bidding war that drove the final price to $1,495 against a pre-auction estimate of $625/750.
In addition to the antique china and bisque dolls was an exciting private collection of over 100 Skookum Indian dolls. Among this selection, three extremely rare 36 inch store-display Skookums went out at $2,300 each for the chief and squaw dressed in white buckskin and $1,725 for the Indian brave wrapped in a colorful woven blanket. Other Skookums, sold in large lots, brought fresh buying opportunities to doll collectors. Average prices were in the $300/500 range for lots of four to six dolls. The best of the single dolls, the 17½ inch Indian brave wrapped in a woven blanket with a black mohair wig and painted molded features brought $632. All retained their colorful Indian clothing, which included Navajo-type blankets as well as fringed and beaded buckskin, cotton, and kid clothing. Indians at all ages were represented, from papooses and children to weathered Indian braves, and some came with the original boxes.
The windup musical French Vichy automaton depicting a black banjo player was a rare piece. The man was seated on a chair and the whole piece stood 24 inches. It sold for $13,800. A 22-inch French Tete Jumeau bisque smoker automaton featured a young man standing 22 inches high dressed in a military uniform with sword. When wound, the military figure played music. When a lit cigarette was placed in his hand, he lifted it to his mouth, inhaled through an inner bellows mechanism, and exhaled the smoke. This great Nineteenth Century toy came from a small museum in Northern New England and sold for $10,925. Another French automaton depicting a monkey smoking a hookah, old case, brought $5,700.
A rare Mills Duplex slot machine offered was one of only a few of these models known to exist. It is probably the most original one around and sold for $57,500, making it the top seller of the day. A Caille “The Tourist” 5 cent slot machine with gum vendor brought $7,475, and a Caille Hy-Lo slot sold, $5,460.
The Madame Zita Coin-op Fortune Telling machine was a winner at $24,150, and the only known example of the One Cent Zeppelin Strength Tester was a great buy at $8,625. A Mills Owl Strength Tester from a slightly earlier era went out at $6,900 to a world famous entertainer.
American arcade life would not have been the same without the wide assortment of music machines that were manufactured in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries.
Included was a great selection of musical Americana such as the J.P. Seeburg KT Special Nickelodeon with leaded glass eagle in the front that brought $16,675. The Wurlitzer model 104 Military Band Organ ($7,475) had 12 horns, lavish carving, and colorful paint decoration. This sale also included the collection of the late Victor Landberg of Portland, Me., consisting of both record players and records. An extremely rare Columbia Home Grand type AD graphophone sold above the $4/5,000 estimate at $6,900. Also a rare Capitol Cuff music box with numerous cylinders went out at $3,450. Landberg’s collection included a single lot of approximately 10,000 78RPM disc records for $4,400. There was also a lot of over 400 cylinder records for $2,400.
Pool tables also carry the history of arcade life. Included were two Victorian pool tables: the immensely popular Balke Collender Monarch nine foot pool table with full figured cast iron lions supporting the ornate table ($18,400) and a maple inlaid pool table by Monarch dating to the Nineteenth Century ($5,750).
Antique advertising included rdf_Descriptions from a 1905 Lillian Nordica Coca-Cola sign ($5,002) to Twentieth Century classics from Shell Oil, Moxie, and Wrigley’s gum. The top selling sign was a turn-of-the-century paper poster for Dr Kilmer’s Standard Herbal Remedies circa 1889. Great graphics and great copy (“Purify the Blood and Tone the Nerves”) made this a winner at $7,762. Another strong seller was the Van Camp’s tin diecut store display at $7,475. A Buffalo Brewing Company tin sign exceeded the estimated $600/900 at $3,507, and a Love Tobacco paper sign brought $2,875. Quite possibly the biggest surprise of the day was a porcelain sign for “Federation of American Motor Cyclists” repair shop. Estimated at $500/1,000, two contenders were determined to buy the sign and hammered it out to a final selling price of $6,040.
A Lukat the Lucky Cat gumball machine, despite a conservative estimate, failed to sell. A rare Mills Little Scarab trade stimulator failed to meet its reserve, and a Model L Seeburg Nickelodeon estimated at a realistic $8/10,000 also failed to sell.
A working salesman’s sample antique vacuum cleaner went just over the top estimate at $8,600.
Numerous country store fixtures included a P. Lorillard tobacco cabinet which sold at $5,460, and a rare Edison ticker-tape machine for Western Union which brought $8,000.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium.
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