ANN ARBOR, Mich. – A rare El-Bart Dry Gin tin advertising sign, made in 1905 for the Wilson Distilling Company by Kaufmann & Strauss Co., Lithographers, of New York, sold for $60,500 at the sale of The George Cross Collection, April 11-13, at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds in Ann Arbor. The auction was staged by Showtime Auction Services, of Woodhaven, Mich.
In a sad footnote to what was otherwise a high-spirited and well-attended auction, Mr. Cross passed away just weeks before his collection crossed the block. His collection was huge, and included advertising and country store collectibles; Old West memorabilia; petroliana; coin-op; coffee grinders; gambling; Coca-Cola; occupational mugs; bronzes; barber shop items; automotive; and more.
By the end of the weekend, about 1,880 lots had changed hands. The El-Bart Dry Gin sign, still housed in its original gesso frame, was the sale’s top lot. About 500 people made it to the event, in addition to the nearly 2,000 registered online bidders (through eBay Live and iCollector.com). Also, more than 1,000 phone bids and about 1,500 absentee were recorded. The sale grossed about $2.7 million.
Other highlights from the sale follow. All prices quoted include a buyer’s premium (10% for on-site bidders; 13% for credit card purchases; and 20% for phone, absentee and Internet bidders).
A stunning Buffalo Brewing Company tin charger (Sacramento, Calif.), in a gold gesso frame and in near-mint condition, was expected to bring about $12,000, but soared to $57,750. Also, a rare Buffalo Brewing Company reverse glass sign (for Buffalo Beer), arguably one of the most beautiful reverse glass signs ever made – near-mint and in a gold leaf gesso frame – rose to $50,850.
A Winchester paper sign (the rare American version, measuring 13” x 31”, image only), in near-mint condition, commanded $25,300; a P.T. Barnum & Co. Greatest Show on Earth paper sign, framed under glass and in a period oak frame (39-1/2” x 36-1/2”), reached $25,800; and a Tackle Trade Symbol, tin with gold wash and in very good condition (36” long), found a new owner for $25,200.
Showtime’s next big sale will be held the weekend of Oct. 10-12, also at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds. The auction will feature The Sandy Rosnick Collection, as well as other selected estate items.
For more information, call 951-453-2415, or go online to www.showtimeauctions.com.