Massive country store collection offered live and online

Previous Showtime Auctions


ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The lifetime country store, advertising and toy collection of Mike and Colleen Empey will headline a major auction slated for the weekend of Sept. 30-Oct. 2 by Showtime Auctions. The event will be held at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds in Ann Arbor. Hundreds of additional, fresh-to-the-market items from other consignors will also be sold.
The list of categories slated to cross the block is both long and impressive. In addition to country store and advertising, it will also include barber shop, coin-op, gambling, folk art, toys, banks, Coca-Cola and other soda, gum, candy, firearms and gunpowder, tobacciana, coffee, salesmen’s samples, whiskey, breweriana, petroliana, automobilia, match safes and pedal cars.

1880s Cigar Store Indian attributed to Thomas Brooks, with some original paint (est. $35,000-$65,000).
1880s Cigar Store Indian attributed to Thomas Brooks, with some original paint (est. $35,000-$65,000).

And that’s just for starters. The auction will also feature Western and Native American Indian, traditional cowboy, Hollywood cowboy, pottery, music, black Americana, furniture, displays, showcases and more.
The anticipated top lot of the auction is an authentic 1880s Cigar Store Indian attributed to Thomas Brooks, in excellent condition and with most of the original paint intact. It is expected to fetch $35,000-$65,000. Another star lot should be the Mills 25-cent “One Armed Bandit” Frank Polk figure slot machine, in excellent condition, made circa 1950s (est. $15,000-$25,000).
A 1926 Model T turtle-back roadster, fully restored and in excellent running condition, should bring $10,000-$20,000. If your taste for transportation runs to smaller scale items, there is also a handmade train locomotive and tender manufactured in the 1930s by a longtime employee of the Rock Island Railroad and a faithful representation of the real thing (est. $5,000-$10,000).
Vintage signs will abound in this sale. Examples will include a reverse glass sign for Rye Whiskey, in remarkable condition (est. $10,000-$25,000); a desirable DeLaval Cream Separator tin sign, also in great shape (est. $2,000-$4,000); and a pair of 1920s tin litho die-cut store display signs for kids’ “Koveralls,” possibly the only ones in existence (est. $4,000-$8,000).
Gas signs will feature a Chevron Oil Company porcelain and neon sign in great condition (est. $2,500-$5,000); and a porcelain and neon sign saying “Gas” in fine condition (est. $2,500-$5,000). Toy cars will include a Garton-made 1938 Lincoln Zephyr pedal car in all-original condition, one of only a few made (est. $1,000-$4,000); and a tin toy race car in mint shape.
Two intriguing lots with identical pre-sale estimates of $2,000-$4,000 are the largest counter-top cash register ever made by the National Cash Register Company (the Model 562-4-C with a rare waterfall receipt cage, beautifully restored to working condition); and an Austen Kern oak round-seat barber chair with genuine leather upholstery, also restored to its original glory.
Other featured lots will include a 1908 popcorn and peanut street vendor cart made by R.O. Stutsman (“The Ideal”), fully restored (est. $5,000-$10,000), an original-condition National Coffee Grinder (est. $3,000-$5,000); a 1909 Hilda Clark Coca-Cola tray in mint condition (est. $1,000-$3,000); and a very rare Steelcraft tri-motor U.S. Mail toy airplane (est. $2,000-$5,000).
Sept. 30 will be reserved for live bidding only. On Oct. 1-2, Internet, phone and absentee bids will also be taken. The online bidding will be facilitated by, and the Showtime Auctions website, at 
For more information visit Showtime Auction.
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