BRISTOL, Conn. – A 1970 Pontiac GTO known as “The Judge,” one of the most iconic cars of the muscle car era, sped off for $25,875 at the first-ever Fall Sizzler Estate Extravaganza Auction held Sept. 30 and Oct. 7 by Tim’s Inc. The event was originally planned for just one day Sept. 30, but there was so much unfinished business the following weekend was required. Internet bidding was facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.com.
“This auction was living proof that the auction industry has officially entered a new, electronic age,” said Tim Chapulis of Tim’s Inc. “Those firms that choose not to embrace this new age will simply be left behind. The online bidding would have gone on forever if we’d let it, but we had to draw the line somewhere. We had 500 people registered online, in nine countries.”
The Sept. 30 session lasted 13 hours 15 minutes, but so many lots had still not come up for bid Chapulis had no choice but to schedule another day to finish up. That day was set for one week later, Oct. 7. The Sept. 30 session had live, Internet and absentee bidding, while the Oct. 7 session (which lasted 11 hours) had no live bidding component, just Internet, phone and left bids.
“It was a mammoth event, totaling more than 24 hours,” Chapulis remarked,” but it was well worth the end result.” About 1,400 lots crossed the block, many of them multiples and shelf lots, with the live action taking place at Tim’s Inc.’s showroom in Bristol. “It was a sizzler of a sale, just like its name,” Chapulis said.
He added, “People couldn’t get enough of this auction. I was getting calls from people days later, asking me, ‘Do you have anything leftover?’ or ‘Are there any coins that didn’t get picked up?’ It was unbelievable. And it was the Internet that created the buzz. A live bidder can’t outlast somebody who’s at home, on the Internet, bidding leisurely and for as long as he wants.”
The GTO was by far the top lot of the auction, and it got an overwhelming response from bidders. The car boasted matching VIN numbers, Hurst four-speed transmission, a 400-cubic-inch engine generating 366 horsepower and a Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor. The interior was all-original and the owner, who bought the car new, had kept it in a dry garage for the last 34 years.
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium (for in-house bidders) or 20 percent (for Internet, phone and left bids).
The second top lot was a gorgeous hand-carved gold gilt carved oak spread eagle made by a Boston carver in the early 1900s and inscribed “Live Free or Die.” With a 20 percent buyer’s premium, it soared to $9,000. Furniture items included a magnificent Victorian princess dresser that rose to $3,000 and a mahogany two-piece secretary desk that brought $720.
An Atkins & Downs pillar-and-scroll clock made for George Mitchell of Bristol, Conn., with wooden works, made circa 1820s, chimed on time for $863; a set of five oil paintings, all of fox hunts and rendered by F. Crooke, in gold gilt frames, sold for $2,460; a beautiful vintage 16-inch 18K gold necklace with 50 pennyweights of gold totaling 2 1/2 gold troy ounces hit $3,420; and a heavy ladies size Elgin pocket watch garnered $720. Other jewelry pieces also did well.
One intriguing multiple lot was a group of early letters, with French stamps from the 1840s and ’50s, plus an early hand-stitched baseball, that commanded $468. Also, a Winchester cast-iron cannon ignited the crowd for $661.
Gold and silver coins proved to be enormously popular, both with live bidders and those participating online. Gold, in particular, did extremely well. A 1907 gold $20 Saint-Gaudens coin, graded MS 63, brought $2,136, while a 1924 gold $20 Saint-Gaudens coin realized $2,041. Also, a 2006 U.S. one-ounce gold coin made $1,984, while a 1910 Indian Head $2 1/2 gold coin hit $390.
An 1895-O $10 Liberty Head gold coin went for $926, while an 1882 $10 Liberty Head gold coin breezed to $960, a 1986 French 100-franc gold coin garnered $840, a 1945 British Armaco 4-pound gold coin climbed to $1,955, a 1945 UK brilliant uncirculated gold coin fetched $1,725, and a group of three 1988 UK gold proof coins changed hands for $1,150.
A set of nine 1983 gold Chinese half-ounce Panda coins averaged $1,020 each. The last lot of the Oct. 7 session was a Chinese gold half-ounce Panda coin that climbed past the $1,000 mark, bringing $1,002. Other gold coins included a Mark Twain commemorative gold coin that sold for $1,668, a 1901 Liberty Head cold coin for $1,002 and a 1915 $5 Indian Head for $449.
As for silver coins, a complete set of Mercury dimes, including the key date 1916-D, coasted to $870, an 1878 Morgan silver dollar, graded MS 66, chalked up $372, and a 1921-D Walking Liberty half-dollar coin (also a key date, coveted by collectors) changed hands for $270.
Rolls of 1964 Kennedy silver half-dollars went for around $200 each, plus the premium, while 20 1991 Silver Eagle one-ounce U.S. coins in a government package roll realized $840. Also, an 1878-CC Morgan silver dollar went for $169, a 1904-S Morgan silver dollar brought $208, an 1895-S Morgan silver dollar made $1,196, and an 1877-S trade silver coin earned $817.
With regard to silver coins, there were price points for every level of collector, as some sold for as little as $35, plus the premium, and went up to many hundreds of dollars. Gold, of course, was much higher, as the price-per-ounce remains high in a still-depressed economy.
Meanwhile, estate “treasure troves” of jewelry, offered in multiple lots, found new owners.
Admittance to the auction was a suggested $10 donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in memory of Peter W. Chapulis, Tim’s late father. “The outpouring of support for this effort has been tremendous,” Tim said. “With the donations received from the recent auction, we were able to meet and surpass our 2012 goal of $50,000, a meaningful amount considering St. Jude’s is celebrating its 50th anniversary.”
Tim’s Inc. Auctions, which is celebrating 33 years in business, is always accepting quality consignments. To consign an item, estate or collection, you may call Tim Chapulis at 860-459-0964, or send him an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE