Important sale of rare Americana

The Nov. 22 sale offered by the German Specialty Auctioneers, Auction Team Breker, will offer rare treasures and unique pieces of museum quality in all major fields of technical antiques.

One of the highlights is America’s original 1859 U.S. Patent Model of the Calculating Machine by C. Winter of Piqua, Ohio, patented on April 21, 1859. This piece is one of only four pre-Civil War calculating devices ever patented. There is only one other known worldwide, which belongs to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The one offered here is a true prototype with ivory keyboard and 2-hands index, and the only one to be found on the world market. This unique piece has an estimate of $50,000-$75,000.

Of equal importance is America’s first typewritten letter to pass through the mail, sent from Washington, D.C., to Webster City, Iowa, dated June 19, 1866. The writer was Abner Peeler, born in 1836 in Hamilton, Ill., who invented the typewriter this letter was written on. The U.S. Patent for his ‘Printing and Writing Machine’ was granted to him on Aug. 14, 1866 (#57,182). The original patent certificate is included from the estate of the inventor’s son, William Ross Peeler; it contains unique pieces such as Abner Peeler’s sensational “Original Typewriter.”

The inventor, Abner Peeler, worked as a jeweler, gunsmith and professional inventor. He invented several typewriter models, but this is the only surviving one which is historically important because – for the very first time – proportional and syllable writing was used.

Peeler invented the world’s first airbrush drawing apparatus in 1878 and created the first airbrush portrait in the world, of himself. Two of his images are included in the offered lot. He also invented several sewing machine shuttles in the mid-1870s. He sold most of the U.S. patents for those to the Singer Company.

Peeler received U.S. patents for nearly 100 items including wooden roller skates, ice skates and air guns that will be offered in one lot, estimated at $50,000-$100,000.

More technical collectibles will be offered with Part III of the American Remington Typewriter Museum sale. The history of “calculating machines” will be demonstrated by the dissolution of a renowned calculator collection. Included will be items from the first mass-produced machine, the “Thomas’ Arithmometer” (1870s), to the legendary WWII “Enigma” cipher machine, to the early electronic machines of the 1970s.

Aviation enthusiasts will appreciate the collection of America’s flying hero Charles Lindbergh. This huge collection offers original photographs showing Lindbergh with flying pioneers, politicians and VIPs; newspaper clippings and other contemporary documents (1925-1970); games; and sheet music of ‘Lindbergh’ songs. Estimate: $2,500-$4,000.

A collection of mechanical music instruments will be offered, including the early Overture Cylinder Musical Box by Nicole Frères à Genève, circa 1835, in excellent playing condition. Other highlights include phonographs, gramophones, disc and other cylinder musical boxes, barrel organs, juke boxes, player pianos, nickelodians, fairground organs, band organs, pianolas and much more.

Other categories being offered are early telephones, sewing machines, toy typewriters and more than 450 lots of cameras movie equipment and optical illusions.

More information can be found at

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