NEW HAMBURG, Ontario – A Fry visible “Mae West” gas pump made in America in the 1920s sold for $7,800, and a Kuntz tin lithographed beer tray made in Canada and featuring a St. Bernard dog graphic brought CA$7,500 (US$5,475) in an online-only Advertising, Toys & Historic Objects sale held June 20 by Miller & Miller Auctions Ltd. Prices quoted are in Canadian dollars. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.
The 699-lot auction was packed with advertising and signs, toys, general store items, petroliana, automobilia, breweriana and historical ephemera, much of it Canadian in origin. There was no live gallery bidding due to the pandemic, but over 400 people registered to bid online and collectively placed 6,658 bids. Overall, the auction grossed a robust $294,558.
The 13-inch diameter antique Kuntz tray, one of Canada’s most coveted beer trays, had gorgeous color and gloss, showing a detailed image of a St. Bernard dog behind a bottle of Kuntz’s lager.The Fry gas pump, 9 feet tall, was stamped “Guaranteed Liquid Measure Co., Pittsburgh, Pa.” It was mechanically untested and had undergone heavy repairs, but that didn’t deter eager bidders.
The 13-inch diameter antique Kuntz tray, one of Canada’s most coveted beer trays (above), had gorgeous color and gloss, showing a detailed image of a St. Bernard dog behind a bottle of Kuntz’s lager.
The Fry gas pump (below), 9 feet tall, was stamped “Guaranteed Liquid Measure Co., Pittsburgh, Pa.” It was mechanically untested and had undergone heavy repairs, but that didn’t deter eager bidders.
Another top lot was a Coca-Cola school policeman sign, 60 inches tall, the “fishtail” logo version, with two lithographed metal panels standing on a cast metal base that sold for $3,900.
A J.M. Fortier Cigar framed lithograph, housed in a 35½-by-27½-inch gilt plaster frame with molded tobacco leaves, marked “Heffron & Phelps, Lithographers” (N.Y.) brought ($3,000).
“The June auction attracted nearly 7,000 bids from within Canada and around the globe. There is no question that the enthusiasm among the collector community is alive and well – if not stronger than before. The sale was a huge success.” said Ethan Miller of Miller & Miller Auctions Ltd.
Miller said he’s seen growing international interest for typically Canadian items, pointing out that the Kuntz beer tray went to an international bidder. He added, “There is a ripe appetite for quality, fresh-to-the-market collectibles. Value is largely dependent on two factors: historical significance and condition level. Many of Saturday’s top sellers were a combination of the two.”
A Goodyear 8-foot-by-2-foot single-sided porcelain sign, made in Canada in the 1930s and marked “Property of Goodyear Co. General Steel Wares Product” on the lower edge, fetched $3,000. The same winning bid was made for an 1880s Canada Paint Co. paper lithograph under glass in the original marked frame, 35½ inches by 25½ inches and free of restoration.
Gas station collectibles proved irresistible to bidders. A few of the top sellers are as follows. All three realized identical selling prices of $3,000.
– An Arno Model 31A pedestal air meter, made in America in the 1940s and featuring a lighted case, 62 inches tall, manufactured by Romort Mfg. Co. (Oakfield, Wisconsin).
– A Clearvision visible gas pump, made in Toronto, Canada in the 1930s, 10 feet tall, with the base, nozzle and brass plate all stamped, repainted, good looking but not functioning.
– A Clearvision visible gas pump, also made in Canada in the 1930s, including hail screen, with base, brass plate and nozzle all stamped, repainted, condition issues, not functioning.
A Butler Dawes Brewery black horse statue, 18 inches tall, plaster cast in the 1930s by the famed Woodstock, Ontario, artist Ross Butler (1907-1995), incised with Butler’s name, galloped off for $2,400; and a rare O’Keefe’s ‘Greek Scene’ tin lithographed beer tray (Canadian 1920s), marked “Niagara Lith. Co., Buffalo” lower edge, 13¼ inches by 10½ inches, changed hands for $2,160.
A rare, early De Laval cream separator single-sided porcelain flange sign, made in the U.S. in the 1920s with text, “World’s Standard, Over 1,500,000 in Use,” 26 inches by 18 inches, made $1,920; while a top lot in the toys category was a Supertest Minnitoy (by Otaco Ltd., Orilla, Ontario) pressed steel oil tanker from the 1940s, with the original paint and decals ($2,400).
Returning to petroliana, a Canadian Oil Companies White Rose porcelain sign (Canadian 1940s) probably from a bulk distribution plant, 13 inches by 8 inches, free of restoration, finished at $2,040; and a White Rose 4-foot diameter two-sided porcelain dealer sign with original ring, one side retaining excellent gloss while the other side exhibits chalkiness, hammered for $1,920.
For details contact Miller & Miller Auctions at 519-573-3710 or 519-716-5606 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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