HAGERSTOWN, Md. – Old Town Auctions’ owner Matt Protos is determined to “bring back the fun” of old-fashioned auctions with an 1,100-lot June 27-28 sale and room-to-room trading at the HagerHall Conference & Event Center in Hagerstown, Md.
Toys, antique advertising and coin ops are slated for day one, and country store and other categories for day two. “In our last sale we found that mixing up the categories created a lot of interest,” said Protos. Absentee and phone bidding will be available, but there will be no Internet bidding during the sale.
Toys to be auctioned include aviation, pressed steel, European and American tin to space toys, battery ops, bicycles, banks and ride-on toys. There are airplanes and zeppelins, and a French zeppelin-theme skittles game called Nouveau Jeu du Ballon.
Toy highlights include a Stevens & Brown velocipede, a boxed battery-operated Mechanized Robot, a Gunthermann Man with Parrot, Martin Chestnut Vendor, CIJ Alfa-Romeo P2, Carette limo, cast-iron motorcycles and an Arnold acrobat motorcyclist. There will be several prewar Japanese toys and cast-iron mechanical banks, including a circus bank, organ grinder with performing bear, and Jonah and the whale.
Two unusual lots are the 1890s Crawford bicycle made in Hagerstown, and a cast-iron figural-animal bicycle stand. Another novelty is a ride-on autowagon activated by turning the steering wheel back and forth, and steered by the rider’s feet.
Eight to 10 large movie-prop airplanes are entered in the sale. One of them replicates a Kent Scipio flying boat, while others are scale-model versions of a Japanese Zero, a P40 Warhawk, and a Messerschmidt ME262. An original photo of a zeppelin by the photographer Margaret Bourke White is a star lot in the aviation advertising grouping.
A grouping of salesman’s samples will be presented; among the standouts are a large Engman Matthews stove, a Bucks Jr. no. 2 stove, a porcelain Art-Deco-style meat or ice cream counter, and a soda fountain. A sample Coca-Cola cooler with rare front panel comes with its original case and books, while a diminutive suite of mid-century wood furniture with attractive palm tree and island motif also retains its original fitted case.
A selection of antique advertising awaits bidders. An animated clown display by Wooten Studios promotes chewing gum, a Case Manufacturing cast-iron eagle strikes an impressive aquiline pose, and a Marathon Oil “marathon man” sign – 6 feet in diameter – is sure to attract both petroliana and porcelain sign collectors.
The lineup of Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola and Hires Root Beer items includes dispensers, signs, trays and machines. The beer and whisky advertising category includes great, early depictions, such as a framed Budweiser girl, and a Red Raven Beer charger with an image of a prim Victorian girl hugging a large paper cutout of a red raven character.
Paper-litho posters feature George Washington, Uncle Sam, the American Eagle and the Statue of Liberty. Protos singled out for special mention include a light-up Uncle Sam sign for war bonds and a Rexall Swim-Kaps sign with Miss America wearing a bathing cap.
Many advertising clocks will cross the auction block, such as an example of the Ever-Ready Razors clock; an early wooden Coca-Cola clock; a rare porcelain Tootsie Roll sign, a sign advertising Motor Robes blankets; and a circa-1930s American Embassy sign with an American Eagle motif.
Coin-ops include a Mills Dewey and other unusual coin-operated novelties including a Mills golf ball dispensing machine, Mills autostereoscope viewer, a match vendor, and a Zeno Gum machine.
Country store pieces include a superb back bar, showcase and front bar sectional suite; many additional showcases, a glass-and-metal candy rack, a bag rack, turtle-form bell, turtle-form spittoon, shaving mugs, and a selection of tins of many types.
An “uncategorized selection” includes several early electric guitars, vintage automobiles including both a 1954 and 1963 Corvette convertible, other early Chevys and street rods; antique stained-glass windows and architectural elements, circus, magic and minstrel posters; collections of figural match holders and watch holders; and radios, including an original Sparton Bluebird designed by Teague, and an Emerson Mickey Mouse.
Photos courtesy Old Town Auctions
(left) Circa-1900 German hand-painted tin wind-up toy depicting man with parrot, 9 inches tall with original paint and cloth pants, probably made by Gunthermann.
(below) A line-up of robots created by emerging artist Kent Greenbaum, each an original, unique production made from recycled toy parts.