Miller & Miller sale to serve up rare Kuntz Beer tray June 20

Kuntz tin lithographed beer tray featuring a St. Bernard dog graphic. Estimate CA$6,000-$7,000. Miller & Miller Auctions image

NEW HAMBURG, Ontario – A Kuntz tin lithographed beer tray featuring a St. Bernard dog graphic, a Canadian J.M. Fortier Cigar framed lithograph from the 1890s, and a Coca-Cola school policeman sign from the 1950s are just a few of the expected top lots in Miller & Miller Auctions Ltd.’s online-only auction on Saturday, June 20. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

The 687-lot Advertising, Toys & Historic Objects auction is packed with advertising and signs, toys, general store items, petroliana (gas station collectibles), automobilia, breweriana and historical ephemera, much of it Canadian in origin. There will be no in-person event to attend, but bidders will be able to tune in to a live telecast on June 20 to watch lots close in real time.

“Demand is strong for items that hearken to a simpler time,” said Ethan Miller of Miller & Miller Auctions Ltd. “Experienced and novice collectors alike will be pleased with this well-rounded, market-fresh offering of advertising, toys and nostalgia. Many of these items have been unlocked from old-time collections. There’s never been a better time to surround yourself with the past.”

Miller added, “To a brewerianist, finding a Kuntz Brewery ‘St. Bernard’ tray is equivalent to finding King Tut’s tomb. This one (above) is entirely untouched, and it will likely never surface again.”

The highly detailed, 13-inch tray, boasting exceptional color and gloss, is a candidate for top lot of the auction. It’s estimated to bring $6,000-$7,000 (all prices quoted are in Canadian dollars). Among Canada’s most highly sought beer trays, this one features an image of a St. Bernard dog behind a bottle of Kuntz’s Special Export Lager brewed in Waterloo, Ont. It’s marked “Kaufmann & Strauss Co.” (New York).

The J.M. Fortier Cigar framed lithograph (below), housed in a 35½-by-27½-inch gilt plaster frame with molded tobacco leaves, is marked “Heffron & Phelps, Lithographers” (New York) lower right (est. $3,000-$5,000).

J.M. Fortier Cigar framed lithograph from the 1890s, marked ‘Heffron & Phelps, Lithographers.’ Estimate: CA$3,000-$5,000. Miller & Miller Auctions image

The Coca-Cola school policeman sign, 60 inches tall, is the “fishtail” logo version. Used at school crossings during the 1950s, it has two lithographed metal panels standing on a cast metal base (est. $2,500-$3,500).

Coca-Cola school policeman double-sided sign from the 1950s, 60in tall, on a cast metal base Estimate: CA$2,500-$3,500. Miller & Miller Auctions image

Petroliana and automobilia will feature three items all carrying high estimates of $3,000. The first is a Goodyear 8-by-2-foot single-sided porcelain sign, made in Canada in the 1930s and showing great color and gloss. The sign is marked “Property of Goodyear Co. General Steel Wares Product” on the lower edge. Its only flaws are some minor patches of porcelain loss.

The second is an Arno Model 31A pedestal air meter, made by Romort Mfg. Co. (Oakfield, Wis.) in the 1940s and featuring a lighted case. The third is a Canadian Clearvision visible gas pump from the 1930s, 9 feet tall, with a hail screen. The base, nozzle and brass plate on the body are all stamped. The nonfunctioning gas pump has a fresh coat of paint.

Clearvision visible gas pump from the 1930s, 9 feet tall, with a hail screen. Estimate: CA$2,500-$3,000. Miller & Miller Auctions image

The toys category is plentiful and will include the following examples:

– A fully restored Sturditoy “Pumper No. 7” pressed steel fire truck, made in the U.S. in the 1930s, modeled after a 1927 LaFrance fire truck, with a functioning bell and water pump, marked “Sturditoy Made by Pressed Metal Co.” (est. $1,500-$2,000).

Restored 1930s Sturditoy Pumper No. 7 fire truck. Estimate: CA$1,500-$2,000. Miller & Miller Auctions image

– A circa 1890s J. & E. Stevens baseball-themed Darktown Battery mechanical toy bank, cast iron, non-functioning (needs a new spring), and showing two patent marks (to the underside and coin door), has some surface loss (est. $1,200-$1,500).

– A Buddy “L” water tower fire truck toy made of heavy pressed steel in the 1930s with rubber and brass components, having functioning pump action, professionally restored, with all the wheels stamped “Firestone Buddy ‘L’ Balloon (est. $1,200-$1,500).

General store items will include an 1880s Canada Paint Co. paper lithograph under glass in the original marked frame, 35½ inches by 25½ inches, free of restoration (est. $2,000-$3,000); and an early 20th century Snow Drift Baking Powder clock, made for the Canadian market by W.F. Baird Co. (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) and with movement by Seth Thomas (est. $1,500-$2,000).

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) is expected to bring $2,000-$3,000. Butler was famous for his butter sculptures at the Royal Winter Fair. For this piece, he was commissioned by the Dawes Black Horse Brewing Co.. It’s incised with Butler’s name.

Also offered will be a Pepsi Marquis Cleveland neon clock (“Say Pepsi Please”) that lights and functions, made in America in the 1950s and measuring 32 inches by 36 inches (est. $1,400-$1,600); and 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” (est. $1,200-$1,500).

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

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