Mr. Peanut and Buster Brown at Rich Penn’s Auction Event Nov. 1-2

All kinds of great country store, advertising, coin-operated machines and related items will be offered at the Rich Penn Auction Event in Des Moines, Iowa, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Nov. 1-2.

The two day auction will offer more than 1,300 lots, including items from the round oak stove collection of Deb Steimle and Fred Kibler. Country store items will include advertising, clocks, drug store and soda fountain, barber shop and toys from 1900 to 1960 including pressed steel, tin, wind up, live steam, battery operated and more.

Up for bid will be: a half dozen German driving school models, BO robots, Japanese racers; Lionel and Ives trains; Marx windup toys; a Roy Rogers lamp, rifles, revolvers and tent; Popeye and Lone Ranger items; a BO Mickey Mouse drummer; a Mr. Peanut floor model cast iron peanut roaster; and much more.

The auction will have country store items like display cases and cabinets; double tower tombstone counter cases; spool and dye cabinets; soda fountain and Coca-Cola signs, clocks and calendars. This auction also includes other advertising signs, gum and candy jars and displays, apothecary jars and show globes, ice cream dippers and syrup dispensers. There’s even a classic soda fountain back bar to put them on.

Penn said, “Great pieces have come to us from every corner of the U.S. You could drive away a 1925 Model T touring car. Fishermen can equip a fishing boat with one of almost a dozen outboard motors. There are Western and cowboy items.

Among the early Budweiser and Miller beer pieces are a large AB brewery outdoor neon sign from St. Louis, a pair of corner porcelain signs for Miller beer and even two Paul Stanley mechanical pieces for Lone Star Beer.

Coin operated machines offered include slots, vending and arcade pieces. One of the vending pieces is Stollwerk vendor in superb condition. Penn said, “This machine was jammed with a bent 1917 penny. The only other coin inside was a 1905 Indian head penny. The machine was missing the key and I think we were the first to open it since that 1917 penny went in it.”

Variety means salesman’s samples too. Perhaps the most unusual is the jail cell salesman’s sample. In its own carrying case, and from the Hendriksen Electric Safety Grating System in Chicago, the 1904 patented device shows the jailer how an alarm is triggered if someone attempted to saw through a bar. For a mortician, or the morbid, is The National Grave Vault Company’s “National Tomb.” It submerses a burial vault in a tank of water.

This auction will have what could be the largest Buster Brown piece ever found – a rare four-horse 1950s Buster Brown store merry-go-round. It was used in a shoe store to keep the little ones happy while mom shopped.

Planters Peanut collectors can roast their own peanuts in an authentic early 1900s Planters Peanut floor roaster. With four cast iron Mr. Peanuts on each corner and a cast iron name plate, it clearly identifies itself as a true Planters piece. According to Penn, “The motor works and it looks like it could roast. It’s probably the heaviest Planters piece we’ve ever sold.”

Penn discussed the vast assortment in the auction. The litany covered yard-long lithos, dental cabinets, vet cabinets, black memorabilia, stained glass windows, straw dispensers and even a new old stock set of Burma Shave road signs.

Other unusual pieces include 1940s German driving school models. Working scale models, these were used to teach students how an automobile or a truck worked. According to Penn, this group of seven pieces is the largest group to come to auction in recent years. The pieces show working electronics, engines and drive trains. If you want something full-sized to drive, crank up the 1925 Model T touring car in original correct condition with rebuilt engine and transmission.

There will be a nice selection of barber shop pieces: several barber chairs, barber bottles, occupational shaving mugs and many razors. Several of the occupational mugs are considered quite rare. Two of those would be for the Light House Keeper and the Billiard Player.

Both the Saturday session and the Sunday session will include many great advertising signs and display pieces as well as toys. Penn said, “Bidders will have 1,300 great choices, all at no reserve.”

If you cannot visit in person, bids can be made through LiveAuctioneers or eBay. For more information call 319-291-6688, email or visit