Automobilia generates high-octane results at Miller & Miller


Emile Louis Picault bronze sculpture used as the mascot for the 1906 Ten-Mile Corinthian Automobile Championship. Price realized: CA$43,660. Miller & Miller Auctions image

NEW HAMBURG, Ontario – A patinated bronze sculpture by Emile Louis Picault (French, 1860-1915), used as the mascot for the Ten-Mile Corinthian Automobile Championship of 1906 in Ormond Daytona Beach, Florida, sold for $43,660 at an auction held Dec. 8 by Miller & Miller Auctions Ltd. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

Up for bid was the Aarssen collection of automobilia, bronzes and Americana in a sale that saw 438 lots cross the auction block and gross $318,319 (all prices quoted are in Canadian dollars). More than 200 lots finished over high estimate, as did 70 of the 100 top lots.

The Picault bronze (above) was the auction’s top earner. The 48-inch-tall sculpture was commissioned in 1906 by George W. Young and was engraved with his name and the title, date and location of the race. It was also incised “E. Picault” lower right. An important American artifact both historically and decoratively, the piece was sold to a private museum in Michigan.

The Aarssen collection was a curated offering of automobile memorabilia, original advertising signs, fine contemporary furniture, bronzes, political memorabilia and more. “The results of the sale affirmed that there is a desire for high-end decorative arts, luxury goods and investment-grade nostalgia,” said Ben Lennox of Miller & Miller Auctions, adding “Attendees were in awe.”

Lennox continued, “Greg Aarssen had an eye, and nothing he collected was held back or squandered. This was Greg’s stuff, lock, stock and barrel – the trappings of a man with impeccable taste and a limitless budget. This amazing collection, offered without reserve, brought a deafening frenzy to the gallery. At certain points I could barely hear myself sell. There were hands up everywhere.”

Following are additional highlights from the auction, which attracted approximately 125 people in-person to the gallery. Online bidding was brisk.

A Flying A Service porcelain gas station sign, 48 inches by 58 inches, with just some scattered surface chips, climbed to $7,000; while a 1930s-era Canadian Goodyear Tires Selected Dealers porcelain sign, 71 inches by 24 inches, with no touch-ups or restoration, made $3,450.


This Flying A Service raised porcelain gas station sign, 48 x 58 inches, sold for CA$8,050. Miller & Miller Auctions image

Four car-themed bronze sculptures by former General Motors designer and sculptor Alexander Buchan, each one presented on a custom-crafted oak pedestal, were sold as single lots, with heights ranging from 14-25 inches. The sculptures were titled Riding the Rail, which sold for $5,015; Beyond Expectations, also $5,015; Sunday Drive, $3,450; and The Fastest Man on Earth, $4,600.


Four car-themed bronze sculptures by former General Motors designer and sculptor Alexander Buchan were sold, including this one titled ‘Beyond Expectations.’ Price realized: CA$5,015. Miller & Miller Auctions image

Surprises included lots 114 and 115 – early German tin lithographed windup skier toys made by Lehmann in the 1920s. Both toys stood 5 inches tall and were in working condition, with only minor soil and wear. One skier sped away for $4,800; the other coasted to $3,300.


Surprises included two early German tin lithographed windup skier toys made by Lehmann in the 1920s. This one sold for CA$4,800. Miller & Miller Auctions image

A Lionel Train Mickey Mouse Circus Set – a complete, boxed example and a highly coveted Walt Disney collectible, showing only minimal wear – changed hands for $3,300.

Louis Vuitton travel accessories are always a big hit with collectors. Offered was an Alzer 80 Anglais model men’s suitcase with an identification tag, unused, with factory film covering all the original brass and a paper-wrapped handle ($5,400); and a Pegase Legare 55 model women’s travel bag presented with the original cover ($2,950). Both pieces were made in Paris.

A Liberator Cycles & Automobiles French poster, circa 1900, by Jean De Paleologue (French, 1860-1942), showing a Valkyrie warrior from Norse mythology, 46 inches by 61¼ inches in a gilt frame, finished at $3,162.


Liberator Cycles & Automobiles poster, circa 1900, by Jean De Paleologue. Price realized: CA$3,162. Miller & Miller Auctions image

Also, a 1964 Piaggio Vespa 90 Scooter, in fine shape save for minor paint touch-ups to the fender, reached $4,312.


This 1964 Piaggio Vespa 90 scooter with 10,126 original miles on the odometer sped off for CA$4,312. Miller & Miller Auctions image

A Bennett Flying A Model 646 gas pump, made in America in the 1940s, nicely restored and featuring acrylic ad “glass”, reproduction plates and original dials with minor touch-ups, 88 inches tall, brought $4,600. Also, a Bennett Texaco gas pump, also made in America in the 1940s, impressive at 90 inches tall and fully restored and lighted, fetched $4,025.

A number of framed original posters and prints sold very strong, based on the care taken in framing and displaying these iconic images. Examples included a massive Fangio racing poster by Titanus, looking crisp and clean in a 60 inch by 45½-inch frame ($1,610); and an original chromolithographic French poster produced in Paris around 1920, M. Bec-Kina, with art by Michel Liebeaux (French, 1881-1923), having bold colors, 51 inches by 67½ inches ($2,185).

For details contact Miller & Miller Auctions Ltd. at 519-573-3710 or 519-716-5606 or