Published: November 14, 2023
Review by W.A. Demers; Photos Courtesy Rich Penn Auctions
WATERLOO, IOWA — The Rich Penn Fall 2023 auction on November 5-7 took collectors on a journey through more than 1,500 lots that in the auction house’s words “celebrated American ingenuity, whimsical artistry and craftsmanship.” Among a diverse selection with appeal to a wide range of collectors, the auction sold a vast collection of gun powder tins, kegs and hunting-related material. A gunpowder can with three plump quail depicted and advertising “Quail Shooting” was very rare, manufactured by the California Powder Works-Santa Cruz, Calif., circa 1870-80, and sold for $9,760. The 4-inch-high, half-pound tin featured paper labels front and back.
The first session of three on November 3 offered 600 lots with a variety of toys. Leading the day’s action was a toy Buddy L pressed steel tugboat, manufactured by Moline Pressed Steel Co., which sold for $3,600. Deemed to be in good-plus condition with its motor absent and part of its roof replaced, it was 28 inches long on a contemporary wood stand.
Another Buddy L pressed steel toy pulled up, this one in the form of a passenger bus. Also in good-plus overall condition with remnants of original and older repaint, it brought $2,630.
Session 2 on November 4 presented the bulk of the gunpower can collection. In addition to the Quail Shooting example described above, there was another notable and rare gunpowder can for CPW Smokeless Powder, also produced by the California Powder Works-San Francisco. The circa 1890 one-pound tin with paper labels front and back realized $6,710.
What may be the only known example and surely one of the earliest known examples of a reversible road grader machine made $9,360. It was manufactured by National Drill, circa 1900. It came with an original Indiana Road Machine Co. catalog, and a copy of the Schneider Patent and reference material. Mostly nickel-plated brass, it was in excellent condition, save a missing seat and measured 9 by 6½ by 9 inches.
Session 3 on November 5 showcased 500 lots with a collection of tobacciana, pedal cars, Christmas items and choice advertising.
A child could ride like a steel baron in a 1925 Cadillac pressed steel pedal car, manufactured by Steel Craft for Sears Boycraft Line. It led the day at $7,320.
A Christmas animated and lighted scene with Santa’s Workshop comprised a large serigraph in a shadow box frame with Santa hoisting a bagful of toys as his legion of elf workers assembled and tested more of them at their workstations. The six electric motor-driven die cut figures bore labels on verso for Gregory Motors-New York, circa 1950s, and the scene was in working condition with a repair to one arm. Measuring 33 by 49 inches, it left the room at $3,050.
One lot comprising two pieces of vintage cigar store advertising crossed the block at $2,745. One hawked J. Palley’s Hambone 5 cent cigar on a charger of hand-painted porcelain. The other was a Buck Cigar stag head, a die cut litho on tin, 12½ inches in diameter.
The next Rich Penn three-day auction is set for May 17, 18 and 19. For more information, www.richpennauctions.com or 319-291-6688.
December 5, 2023
December 5, 2023
December 5, 2023
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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