Dirk Soulis to auction McHugh Railroadiana Collection Dec. 14

LONE JACK, Mo. – Collectors won’t need a ticket to “ride the rails” at Soulis Auctions’ Dec. 14 sale of the late Edward P McHugh III’s railroadiana collection. All are welcome to view, enjoy and bid on the historically significant relics from the golden era of rail travel (1865 to 1960) amassed over a lifetime of involvement in the hobby. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

Rare, original seven-color enameled porcelain sign advertising Santa Fe’s ‘The Scout,’ a passenger train that ran from Chicago to Los Angeles from 1936-1948. Size: 20¼in x 40½in. Estimate $4,000-$6,000. Soulis Auctions image

The McHugh collection consists of rare and iconic railroadiana, historical locomotive hardware, mid-20th-century transportation artifacts, 60 porcelain signs, and a specialty sub-collection of nautical antiques. To refine the railroad-related items even further, there are locomotive bells and lights, lanterns, china and silver, railroad station clocks, gate and station signs, and much more.

From Ed McHugh’s specialty collection of travel agent desk model airplanes, a Douglas DC-6B airliner, circa 1950. Estimate $1,000-$1,500

If the objects in the McHugh collection could talk, perhaps none would have more interesting tales to tell than the builder’s plate from the SS President Warfield. Christened in 1927 by Bessie Wallis Warfield, niece of the ship’s namesake Solomon Davies Warfield and the future Duchess of Windsor, the SS President Warfield plied the waters of Chesapeake Bay without fanfare for 20 years. That is, unless you count the experiences of folks like Hans and Frieda Marx of Baltimore.

1928 bronze builder’s plate from SS President Warfield (later SS Exodus 1947), which transported Jewish refugees in World War II. Offered with photos of the ship (two shown here) and the couple who rode it on their honeymoon. Estimate $3,000-$5,000. Soulis Auctions image

Before the Warfield – later renamed the SS Exodus 1947 – became historically important for transporting displaced Jewish refugees during World War II, it was Hans and Frieda’s “honeymoon boat.” Throughout the 1930s and ’40s they would take many other pleasure trips aboard the Warfield, thus strengthening their ties to the vessel. However, when Hans learned that the Warfield was to be dismantled, he rushed to the salvager’s scrapyard and obtained permission to take a few souvenirs, including the builder’s plate. Soulis Auctions will offer the bronze plate, together with period photos of the ship and passengers Hans and Frieda Marx, with a $3,000-$5,000 estimate.

Very rare, intact grouping that includes the builder’s plate, number board, aluminum oval logo, and headlight from New York Central locomotive No. 5449. Estimate $5,000-$15,000. Soulis Auctions image

A stylish witness to the Art Deco period, a streamlined backlit aluminum railroad passenger car sign designed by Henry Dreyfuss (1904-1972) was commissioned by New York Central Railroad for its luxury train the 20th Century Limited. An industrial designer of renown, Dreyfuss’ commissions included smaller functional items like fountain pens, cameras and appliances, as well as the complete interiors and exteriors of trains and even 20,000-ton ocean liners. The sign to be auctioned has a slightly convex polished-aluminum frame with horizontal bars enclosing the message “20TH CENTURY LIMITED.” The highest-estimated of the sale’s eight drumhead lots, it could command a bid in the range of $10,000-$15,000.

Original backlit aluminum drumhead passenger car sign created by Henry Dreyfuss (American, 1904-1972) for New York Central’s streamlined luxury train the 20th Century Limited, 28 x 20 x 4.5in. Estimate $10,000-$15,000. Soulis Auctions image

Dirk Soulis noted that railroad “drumhead” or tail signs are “very rare and somewhat of a Holy Grail in collecting.” He went on to say that the McHugh collection includes “more authentic drumhead signs than have been offered in all other railroadiana auctions on record with LiveAuctioneers, combined.”

Original Wabash Limited Kansas City-Omaha-Des Moines reverse-painted railroad train drumhead sign, 10½ x 29 x 26½ in. Estimate $3,000-$5,000. Soulis Auctions image

Among the drumheads offered are a reverse-painted example for the Wabash Limited Kansas City-Omaha-Des Moines train, estimated at $3,000-$5,000; B&O Railroad signs for the Capitol Limited and National Limited, each estimated at $2,500-$3,500; and a lighted, chrome-bezel Santa Fe Super Chief sign with a striking Indian chief graphic. $2,500-$4,000.

Original Santa Fe Super Chief lighted railroad train drumhead sign, reverse-painted on glass, 28in diameter x 8in. Estimate $2,500-$4,000. Soulis Auctions image

Vibrant and eye-catching, a high-quality enameled-porcelain sign advertising Santa Fe Railroad’s Chicago to Los Angeles train “The Scout,” which operated from 1936 to 1948, depicts a rider on a galloping horse, with the distinctive Santa Fe logo in the background. The 20¼ by 40½-inch sign is a rare original in very fine condition and was part of the Ed McHugh collection “long before any copies came to the market,” Soulis said. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000

Rare and large (37½ x 16½in) two-color porcelain enamel sign for B&O Brand overalls, coats and shirts with a full-length depiction of a railroad worker holding an oiler. Estimate $3,000-$5,000. Soulis Auctions image

Dirk Soulis’ Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 Auction of the Edward P McHugh III Railroadiana Collection will begin with an uncataloged session at 10 a.m. CST /11 a.m. EST, followed by the cataloged session, which starts at 11 a.m. CST/noon EST.

Questions: Tel. 816-697-3830, email Dirk@SoulisAuctions.com.