YORK, Pa. – In mid-November, Hake’s Auctions concluded a banner year in high-flying style with a $1.5 million sale that underscored the relentless collector interest in Star Wars, movie and political memorabilia, and pop culture in general. The Nov. 13-15 event, which consisted of two days of selling separated by a gap day, pushed the year’s total for the Pennsylvania-based company to $5.9 million.
“This number eclipses our previous annual record of $3.9 million, which was set just last year,” said Hake’s president, Alex Winter. “Some of the prices realized in the November sale surprised even our experts, who have a day-to-day involvement with some of the highest-quality collections across all categories.”
The November headliner was a fantastic screen-used Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II “Ghost Trap” film prop (shown above) that came complete with electrical wiring and connections, a hydraulic foot pedal and a remote control box that operated the trap’s doors. The iconic contraption, based on an idea from the films’ co-writer and star Dan Aykroyd, may not have trapped any ghosts at Hake’s, but it spirited many bidders who competed all the way to $71,390.
Star Wars collectibles, which have dominated Hake’s sales for more than a year thanks to the incomparable Russell Branton collection, once again rose to the occasion, commanding five-figure prices. More than 100 Star Wars lots were offered, 70 of them consigned by Branton. A 1988 Star Wars: Droids Vlix figure on blister card, issued only in Brazil, was AFA-graded 60 EX and sold right at the midpoint of its estimate for $45,430.
A Star Wars Death Star Canadian special-offer cardboard playset, AFA-graded 85NM+, swept past its $10,000-$20,000 estimate to settle at $31,801. The Force was also with a Star Wars Radio-Controlled Jawa Sandcrawler with Elevator, which knocked down $16,874 against an estimate of $4,000-$10,000.
The enduring appeal of Mickey Mouse once again evidenced itself when a 1933 Blue Ribbons Books boxed set containing all the materials needed for children to assemble their own library of books crossed the auction block. Against an estimate of $2,000-$5,000, this complete and unused set, described by Winter as “among the rarest of any 1930s Disney books,” reached $24,447. Winter added: “This price exceeds anything we would have done even decades ago when Disneyana was at a fever pitch.”
A seldom-seen full-color glossy poster featuring Superman and with a message urging students to “Help Keep Your School All American!” was issued in 1950 to promote compassion and multiculturalism. Depicting a group of children that included an African-American boy and Asian-American boy, its balloon text said in part, “If you hear anybody talk against a schoolmate or anyone else because of his religion, race or national origin, don’t wait: tell him that kind of talk is un-American.” One of only two examples ever to be offered by Hake’s, it easily exceeded its $2,000-$5,000 estimate to sell for $8,652.
The 2,518-lot sale included a number of rare political campaign pinbacks, tokens and ephemera. The category turned out to be a stellar performer, with results that were among the best in Hake’s 51-year history. A magnificent Hughes/Fairbanks jugate button suspended from a red, white and blue “Erie County Republican Committee 1916” ribbon sold for $14,278; while an 1896 Bryan/Altgeld/Noonan portrait coattail button – perhaps the only surviving example – was bid to $12,980. A rare and important “Vote Kennedy Congress” button from JFK’s first political campaign, one of fewer than 10 examples known to Hake’s, made $10,384.
In July, Hake’s auctioned one of the most significant pieces of international baseball history: a 1913 All Nations team photo postcard. In their November sale they followed up with one of the most important team photographs of the pre-Integration era in American history. The photo depicted the 1935 Bismarck, N.D., semi-pro baseball team, whose lineup included African-American Hall of Famers Satchel Paige and Hilton Smith. Against a $5,000-$10,000 estimate, the historical photo knocked it out of the park, selling for $23,364.
Interest in Baranger motion displays has never declined; in fact, it has only grown thanks to an increased international following, especially in Asia. These amusing, mechanically animated tableaux were manufactured for retail jewelry stores by the Baranger Co., of South Pasadena, California, from 1925 to 1959. Their purpose was to attract the attention of potential customers walking past the stores’ windows. Approximately 167 designs were created, with 30 of each design seeing production. The example entered in Hake’s Nov. 13-15 auction depicted a horse-drawn fire engine. It raced past its $2,000-$5,000 estimate to stop at $9,995.
Hake’s anticipates a highly successful 2019 auction series and invites potential consignors to contact them for a confidential discussion. Call 866-404-9800 or 717-434-1600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Online: www.hakes.com