Magic, carousel animals and circus memorabilia in auction center ring

Carnival Fun Fair poster  Carnival and Fun Faire, 1000 Smiles an Hour, 1930s Lithographic poster in colors on 1 sheet of wove paper, published by Willsons’ Show Printers, Leicester, with margins and linen backing. dimensions 30 x 38in. Estimate: $200-$400. Photo courtesy Bonhams.

LOS ANGELES – International auctioneers, Bonhams, announces the Carousel and Circus Memorabilia and Mechanical Musical Instruments auction featuring property from the collection of Helene Sutter Dec. 6 in Los Angeles. The sale will feature approximately 100 lots of amusement memorabilia including early magic posters with a majority of the carved animals, horses and other quadrupeds dating from the turn of the last century.

German-carved circus elephant chariot  A fine German carved and painted elephant chariot, Freidrick Heyn, late 19th century. Height 78 inches; width 65 inches. Estimate: $12,000-$18,000.

Many a child’s imagination has been stirred by whimsical and imaginative carousel figures and the vibrant merry-go-round music played as the animals circle and gallop. Bonhams is pleased to bring this enchantment to life for collectors of all ages.

Three distinct carving styles can be seen within the animals on offer during the winter sale including the “Philadelphia style,” established by Gustav Dentzel and his brother, the more elaborately decorated “Coney Island style,” pioneered by Charles Looff and the “County Fair” or “Traveling style”.

Brooke Sivo, Vice President and Director of American Furniture and Decorative Arts said of the sale, “This auction will feature property from various owners as well as select works from the Helene Sutter Collection of Carousel Animals and Circus Memorabilia. We anticipate widespread interest from the US and abroad.”

Carter the Great circus poster  Carter the Great, The World’s Wierd Wonderful Wizard, 1935 Lithographic poster in colors on 3 sheets of wove paper, published by The Otis Lithograph Co., Cleveland OH, with margins, framed. sight 77 x 40 1/2 inches. Estiamte: $400-$600.

Highlights from the Collection of Helene Sutter include a massive Wurlitzer style CX Orchestrion, in an Art Glass panel cabinet, circa 1915 (estimate $30,000-$50,000); a Wurlitzer style 105 military band organ, with painted showcase façade, circa 1926 (estimate $20,000-$30,000); a carved and painted German elephant chariot by Freidrick Heyn, late 19th century ($12,000-$18,000); a carved and painted carousel camel by Charles Loof, Brooklyn, NY, late 19th century ($8,000-$12,000); a lithographic poster titled “Carter the Great, The Modern Priestess of Delphi,” 1920s ($1,000-$1,500) and a poster titled “Alexander, The Man Who Knows” depicting a magician, 1920s ($800-$1,200).

Additional carousel animals and mechanical music examples from the Dec. 6 sale include a handsomely carved and painted carousel tiger by Gustav Dentzel, Philadelphia, circa 1905 ($25,000-35,000); a carousel figure of a stag by Gustav and William Dentzel, Philadelphia, first quarter 20th century ($20,000-30,000) and a Regina oak auto changer disc music box, circa 1900 ($15,000-20,000), among others.

Featured circus and magic items of note include “Train Bobby,” a painted metal and wood carnival ring toss game featuring a seal, circa 1920 ($4,000-6,000) and a lithographic poster titled “, The Elongated Maiden”, 1930s ($1,000-1,200).

The illustrated auction catalog is available online at Bonhams’ website.

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