NEW HAMBURG, Canada — A two-day auction covering almost 700 lots takes place Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17 at top-rated Canadian house Miller & Miller Auctions Ltd. The catalogs (Day 1, Day 2) are now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.
Miller & Miller specializes in fine quality examples from top collections. Many of the items in the sales reflect Canadian ancestry, often featuring unique domestic brands not well known in the United States and elsewhere.
Day one focuses on petroliana, advertising and music machines, including an astounding circa-1912 Mills Violino Virtuoso. Mills had previously been known as a manufacturer of gaming machines, which were falling into disfavor with government overseers; the Violino Virtuoso is a fantastic first foray into mechanical music. Drop a coin, and the machine’s mechanism begins to draw a bow over a fine violin while a piano plays in the background. This example has been modified to run on 110 volts and even includes a MIDI interface. It is estimated at CA$30,000-$35,000 ($22,200-$25,900).
The top petroliana lot — other than this survivor-grade (meaning no major restoration) 1955 Ford Crown Victoria — is a 1930s-era double-sided porcelain Greyhound Lines ticket office sign. With some porcelain loss around the mounting holes only, this highly unusual sign carries an estimate of CA$9,000-$12,000 ($6,660-$8,880).
Day two is drawn largely from the collection of Al Bensmiller and features general store advertising, soda advertising and breweriana from the 1890s to the 1970s. An item that the lot notes report was “found in a wall in Armstrong, British Columbia,” the 1910-era Remington double-sided tin sign with a unique animation — a spinning target center that rotates with the breeze. It is estimated at CA$12,000-$15,000 ($8,880-$11,100).
Rarely seen canine subject matter in vintage advertising is always a source of excitement for bidders. This Park Lane Brewery beer tray from the early 1900s is a Canadian market original with very little wear. The estimate is CA$5,500-$7,500 ($4,070-$5,550).