Roman marble portrait head of Titus might triumph at Freeman’s Hindman May 23

Roman white marble portrait head of Emperor Titus Caesar Vespasianus, estimated at $10,000-$15,000 at Freeman’s Hindman.

CHICAGO – This 7in (18cm) high Roman marble portrait head is making a relatively speedy return to the auction block. It appeared for sale at Doyle New York as recently as October 2023, when it was cataloged as ‘Imperial Roman style’ and thought to depict the emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, known as Caracalla. Then estimated at $300-$600, it sold for $5,670.

It will be presented at Freeman’s Hindman on Thursday, May 23 as part of a dedicated auction of Antiquities and Ancient Art. The catalog for the sale is now open for bidding at LiveAuctioneers. The portrait head has since been fully attributed to the Flavian period, and a compelling case has been made to suggest it is a portrait of the short-lived emperor Titus Caesar Vespasianus (79-81 AD). He is best known for overseeing the brutal suppression of Judea’s Civil War and inaugurating the Flavian Amphitheater, what we now know as the Colosseum, with 100 days of gladiatorial games.

Vesuvius erupted during Titus Caesar Vespasianus’s brief tenure, shrouding the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in volcanic ash. The portrait head depicting him is estimated at $10,000-$15,000.

Hero props from ‘Star Trek’ and vintage racing posters highlight Weiss’ May 21 sale

'Star Trek' tricorder prop, estimated at $50,000-$75,000 at Weiss.

LYNBROOK, NY — Two original and highly desirable screen-used props from the 1960s Star Trek TV series and two original 1930s European racing posters provide top-dollar energy and estimates at Weiss Auctions Tuesday, May 21. The Historical and Entertainment catalog is now open for review and bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

After NBC cancelled Star Trek in 1969, production at Desilu ceased with the final episode shot. Creator and executive producer Gene Roddenberry had remained on the credits but had largely checked out during the third season. He did manage to salvage some of the more interesting props from the production, one of which — the handheld Type 1 phaser — was given by his widow Majel Barrett to the consignor at some time in the past. Considered what is commonly called a ‘hero’ prop — detailed enough for close-ups on camera — it carries an estimate of $20,000-$30,000.

A screen-used tricorder — a form of mobile computer and scanning analyzer — is a fiercely coveted prop, as so few were made in contrast to, say, phasers. Fashioned from aluminum and black fiberglass, the hero prop would have been seen onscreen being used by characters McCoy, Spock, Mr. Chekhov, or even Lt. Uhuru. Though the lot notes say it ‘comes with a letter from Planet Hollywood’, it apparently was ‘liberated’ from the Desilu set by a frequent background character actor, suggesting it may have been one of the red-shirted security personnel who appeared in dozens of episodes and had few if any spoken lines. The prop is estimated at $50,000-$75,000.

From 1960s science fiction to 1930s real-world auto racing, the sale includes two remarkable posters advertising European road races. Juan Manuel Fangio (1911-1995) is arguably the best racing driver in the history of motorsports, winning the world championship five times and dominating the early years of Formula One.

He happened to win the 1954 Grand Prix Bern in Switzerland, and at some point after that race signed this all-original poster from the event. Sadly, it was to be the final motorsports event in Swiss history, as the government banned all racing after a 1955 accident at Le Mans in France killed 83 spectators. The poster is estimated at $6,000-$9,000.

Georges Hamel (1900-1972), better known by his pen name Geo Ham, created this beautiful artwork for the 1937 International Auto Show in Paris. Measuring 45 by 61in, this stunning linen-backed poster is estimated at $8,000-$12,000.

Coin-ops and advertising bring $3.9M at Morphy in Las Vegas

Caille Bros. Aristocrat countertop roulette machine, which sold for $32,000 ($38,400 with buyer’s premium) at Morphy.

LAS VEGAS — Morphy Auctions realized a total of $3.9 million (including buyer’s premium) at its April 11-13 Coin-Op & Antique Advertising sale. According to Morphy Auctions co-founder and president Dan Morphy, post-auction purchases are expected to add even more bounce to the three-day result and will likely push the grand total well beyond the $4 million mark. Catalogs for the completed sale can be seen at LiveAuctioneers.

The auction’s top-estimated and ultimately top-selling lot was a Caille Bros. musical Triple Eclipse upright slot machine with a design encasing three separate machines in one handsome oak cabinet. Built between 1902 and 1904, it cashed out at $120,000 ($147,600 with buyer’s premium).

Also from Caille Bros., a circa-1910 Loving Cup dual-wheel slot machine – similar to the manufacturer’s Silver Cup model – displayed original wheels and castings, and, according to the lot notes, both ‘played and paid’ correctly. Its optional 5¢ Gum side vendor was present but not in working order. The sought-after machine was bid aggressively to $65,000 ($79,950 with buyer’s premium) against an estimate of $15,000-$30,000.

Another top-notch coin-op was a circa-1904 Mills Novelty Co. musical Big Six upright slot machine, sporting a colorful tin wheel, raised panels, and an attractive ‘chipped glass’ front. It sold for $40,000 ($48,000 with buyer’s premium) against an estimate of $15,000-$30,000.

A countertop roulette machine made around 1932 by Caille Bros., the Aristocrat came to auction with provenance from the lifelong collection of Bill Howard. Original, unrestored, and ready to play upon receipt of a 25¢ coin, it swept past its $15,000-$30,000 estimate to settle at $32,000 ($38,400 with buyer’s premium).

Complete with top hat, cane, monocle, and spats, Mr. Peanut was the focal point of a fully functional circa-1920 electric peanut-roasting machine. When activated, the figural character straddles the roasting barrel and appears to power the machine with his cane, as an oarsman might do on a sculling team. Likely the finest of the few that are known to exist, the roaster easily surpassed its $30,000-$60,000 estimate to reach $110,000 ($135,300 with buyer’s premium).

Princess Doraldina, a 5¢ fortune teller machine made in 1928 in Rochester, New York, features the life-size figure of the clairvoyant with an articulated wax head, period clothing, and costume jewelry. Only Princess Doraldina knew prior to auction day that the $15,000-$30,000 estimate was too conservative. She proved her uncanny psychic skills upon securing a winning bid of $43,000 ($52,890 with buyer’s premium).