STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. – The Rich Penn Auctions “Spring Spectacular” event was held March 21-22, 2009. Many items from the Bobby Protsman Auto and Treasure Museum sold in the $10,000-plus range. “To broaden our on-line market, we used both ProxiBid and LiveAuctioneers online bidding platforms,” said Rich Penn. The auction began with an hour of uncataloged lots of miscellaneous smalls from the museum.
All prices reflect hammer prices and don’t include the buyer’s premium. Five mannequins, in period dress, were sold at $1,000 or more. A seldom-seen Wizard Clock trade stimulator, with marquee, went for an even $1,000. A quarter sawn oak china cabinet with curved glass sides and door, standing on claw feet, brought $1,300, as did an I.W. Harper Whiskey sign on Vitrolite. Lots that sold in the $2,000-$3,000 range included a Walla-Walla chewing gum scale; and a National Store Specialty Co. scale, in original condition, brought an even $2,000. The very graphic Uncle Tom’s Cabin three-sheet lithographed show poster danced up to $2,750.
Barber pole, manufactured by Atwater-Chicago, Cyclo model with gold top ball. First revolving electric street model ever made that was available in wind-up and electric. Less than six are known to exist. Sold at $7,500.
The first lot to break the $3,000 mark was the unusual cast iron circa 1880s wind-up fly fan. In original paint, the fan slowly spun to a top bid of $3,100. At $3,500 level was the coin-operated cast iron Mills Novelty Co. Elk trade stimulator. The machine, in perfect working condition, included tokens that paid out on each winning symbol. The Sauer’s advertising regulator clock, lot no. 346, from the New Haven Clock Co., easily ticked up a winning bid of $3,750.
More than 80 of the museum’s bicycles were sold throughout the auction. Among them was a circa 1894 high wheeler with ratchet pedals, selling for $4,000. The only known child’s 16-inch Indian restored bycycle was hammered down right on the $5,000 mark.
Much of the museum inventory was made up of coin-operated music machines from juke boxes to player pianos to huge band organs. A classic Wurlitzer 1946 model 1015 “Bubbler” sold at $6,500, as did a Western Electric nickelodeon. A 1950s restored Seeburg juke box played up to $8,000. A Mortier 69-key band organ woke up the crowd when it came to life, selling at $12,500. Several bidders from Europe competed for an Arthur Busens Arburo band organ from Antwerp, Belgium, but it was sold to a Florida buyer at $17,000.
The top selling automobile on Saturday surprised everyone. A nicely restored 1923 Model T Ford roadster chugged up to a winning bid of $21,000.
Perhaps the biggest surprise to the crowd came when the 1913 Grapefruitola syrup dispenser was placed on the table. It looked immaculate.
“This is one of the rarest and most desirable syrup dispensers and it’s in near mint condition,” Penn said. It ended up selling at $34,000, making it the unexpected top lot of the day.
Among the huge selection of toy trains auctioned, was one lot of empty Lionel train boxes that sold for $1,700. A 1948 Tucker automobile radio with its original box sold for $1,500. A 1950s Coca-Cola 10 cent soda vending machine with segregated side drinking fountains for “White & Colored” sold for $1,600. A circa 1917 Harley Davidson, an original unrestored version, sold for $1,700 and a fully restored one sold for $3,250. A crowd pleaser was the 1950s Rollfast Roy Rogers bike. Fully restored, it rode off to find happy trails with a $5,000 top bid.
One area in the museum was set up as a circa 1900 barber shop. Its restored chairs, poles and back bars drew strong interest. A Berninghaus barber chair in flame mahogany sold for $8,000. An Atwater-Chicago, Cylco pole, the first barber pole with either an electric or wind-up revolving cylinder, spun up a bid of $7,500.
Scheduled for Nov. 7-8, Penn’s next auction will be at their regular venue, in Des Moines, Iowa.
For more information call 319-291-6688 or visit www.richpennauctions.com.