Published: August 29, 2000
Rare Campbell’s Sign Headlines Julia Advertising and Toy Auction
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – James D. Julia of Fairfield, Me., offered toys and advertising on August 4 at Yoken’s Convention Center. The top seller among a wide assortment of signs, displays, soda fountain rdf_Descriptions, cast iron toys, dolls, musical machines and scales was a spectacular Campbell Soup tin sign measuring 39½ by 27½ inches.
The stone lithographed and heavily embossed sign featured the image of the American flag formed out of a repetitious arrangement of soup cans reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s Pop Art of the 1960s and went off the block with a final price of $28,750.
The auction kicked off with two collections of cast iron toys and banks that included a parade of animals, characters, buildings and mementos of a bygone era. Most of the still, cast-iron banks sold in the $200 to $600 range, but as a wide array of imaginative mechanical banks came to the block, excrdf_Descriptionent was palpable in the standing-room-only crowd.
A cast iron Eagle and Eaglettes mechanical bank topped the list when it doubled its estimate and went out at $1,955. The section included all the classic forms of mechanical banks such as the Jonah and the Whale ($1,092), the Jolly Nigger in a Top Hat ($768), Uncle Sam ($747), ‘Spise a Mule ($747), Paddy and His Pig ($718) and the Creedmore bank ($661). Among the cast iron lots, a collection of 43 cast iron bottle openers – including a lobster, an English pointer and a donkey – sold for $1,725.
A nine inch version of Arcade’s Yellow Cab was a good trade at $1,092 while a large 11½ -inch double decker bus by Kenton sold for $805. Both of these top-selling pieces featured good, clean paint with no chips. Another lot of six cast iron vehicles included a gasoline truck with rubber tires and a blue and orange passenger bus. The group soared to $1,322, topping the $300/500 estimate. Tin toys also attracted attention as several excellent examples were offered. The old, lithographed Marklin “Wimington” Oceanliner was 17 inches long and dated to the 1910s or early 1920s. It sold within estimate for $8,050. A professionally restored “Gilmore Racing” Dusenberg Pedal Car sold for $1,150.
This sale offered soda fountain merchandise, from the Graham’s Ice Cream tray ($776) and the Crescent Ice Cream tray ($747) to candy jars and syrup dispensers. An unusual Jersey Cream dispenser brought $1,610. A rare, 1911 Hire’s cast iron straw dispenser brought $2,415. But nothing in the category could top a nine-inch Cardinal Cherry Ceramic syrup dispenser with colorful, all-over relief of leaves and cherries. This 1910 beauty featured raised, gilt lettering: “A product of J. Hungerford Smith Co., Rochester, N.Y.” and sold for a final price of $4,600.
An early Hire’s embossed tin sign featuring “Josh Slinger” was copyrighted in 1914 and fetched $2,070. The same price of $2,070 was paid for a cardboard hanger of an extremely rare image of the famous Hire’s boy. The cardboard hanger was in very good condition and probably dated to 1910-1914. Coca-Cola memorabilia covered six decades, starting with the six inch tall 1909 tip tray dating to the St Louis World’s Fair. The rare tray with smiling face brought $1,322.
Graphic porcelain signs promoting Coca-Cola included a two-sided, 1936 embossed tin sign with bracket that brought $1,725. Porcelain sign enthusiasts also appreciated a nine-foot bottle of Coke that seemed to be chilled. It sold for $1,150 alongside a slightly smaller six foot version that went out at $517.
Other memorable, modern lots in this arena included the classic pop image of a Campbell Soup can measuring 12½ by 22½ inches ($1,610) and a bold Mobil Oil emblem of Pegasus in a four-piece, sectional porcelain sign that stood eight feet tall ($1,782). One unique gas-related lot was a huge hollow body metal figure of a Pegasus horse. One of only two known to exist, perhaps a prototype, measures over seven feet long and had a great surface and sold for $11,500.
The Somerville Pepsin gum vendor went out well above the $6,5 /8 ,500 for $10,350. A Stollwerck chocolate and gum vendor went for $3,565. Some rare soda machines and jukeboxes were also offered. A 7-Up Vendorlator VMC Model 81, restored, sold for $6,600. A Pepsi Vendorlator VMC Model 81 brought $3,000. A Wurlitzer juke box Model 1015, always a popular model, sold for $4,900. For those who like to take chances, an upright Mills Dewey slot machine, estimated at $7,5/10,000 sold for $12,000.
Dye cabinets and displays were also offered. Four Diamond Dye Cabinets offered at this auction were great opportunities for novice collectors, with each one selling in the $500/1,000 range. Among the desirable displays in this sale was a two-story Nuthouse counter-top display featuring four embossed jars that topped the $1/1,500 estimate when it sold for $2,415. A double cathedral counter-top showcase was not an advertising piece, but it brought a strong price of $6,325 against an estimate of $3,5/4,500.
Another popular promotional rdf_Description among advertising collectors is the salesman’s sample. This sale included a few examples, such as the 12½ inch high Victorian Adirondack Oak Barber’s Chair. The diminutive chair featured carving and nickel-plated mechanisms and sold for an impressive $4,600 in spite of the absence of identifying information.
A rare wood version of the well-known Koken’s Barber’s Chair salesman’s sample also sold. This one had nickel-plated brass fittings and original stuffed black leather on the seat, arm rest and head rest. It brought $2,300. A miniature Toboggan salesman’s sample held together with over 100 tiny screws was 20½ inches long and sold for $460.
All prices include 15 percent buyers premium.
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