The 35-year collections—one from Jerry and Doris Soldner of Kingston, N.Y., the other from a collector in the Elk Mountain region of northern Pennsylvania—will headline the event, the first of three major auctions planned by Fontaine’s this fall.
The auction will feature musical items (rare Victrolas, gramophones, music boxes, phonographs, jukeboxes and speakers), automatons, coin-op, country store, advertising, slot machines, toys, arcade games, vending and soda machines, cash registers, wall phones, trade stimulators, tin litho, signs and posters, display cases, scales, figural canes, bicycles and more.
“The two major collections are certain to attract bidders, for two reasons,” said John Fontaine of Fontaine’s Auction Gallery. “One, they have been tucked away in homes for over 35 years and are just now seeing the light of day, so they’re truly fresh to the market. And two, both will be sold without reserve. These are wonderful items, many of them rare and very desirable.”
At least 30 floor model jukeboxes will be offered, to include a 1941 Wurlitzer model 850 jukebox, also called “the Peacock” because it features a brilliant peacock reverse painted on glass. It also boasts an arched top with chromed filigree mounts. Also sold will be a Wurlitzer table model 71 jukebox on stand (1940), 58 inches tall and taking nickels, dimes and quarters.
One item sure to wow the crowd is a circa 1900 Yale Wonder Clock, made in Burlington, Vt. The coin-operated mechanical marvel sports a roulette-type dial, spinning pointer, flashing lights, 15 1/2-inch Regina music box and token system designed to reward a lucky patron with merchandise from the store where the machine was displayed. It is one of only a handful known.
Phonographs will feature a rare Burns & Pollack Lampophone phonograph, with electric-driven disc turntable with Burns Capitol reproducer, brass tone arm, three needle bins and single interior light socket; and a Victor mahogany Type VI phonograph and stand in original finish, signed on a brass tag “Victor Talking Machine Co.” and with a 12-inch spring-driven turntable.
Also selling will be a custom paint-decorated butler’s secretary cabinet with electric model Victrola, having a painted green cabinet with gilt carved moldings and trim and a fancy gilt carved base in scrolling legs; and an oak Victor Type V phonograph with a 12-inch turntable, rear-mounted oak horn, black painted support arm with gilt stenciling and a nickel tone arm.
Coin-op machines will feature a 1-cent floor model Mills Perfect Muscle Developer, with a portrait of a man flexing his muscles and reading, “Show Your Strength,” over an index chart comparing average strength-to-weight ratios; and a circa 1939 C.R. Kirk & Co. free weight coin-op scale, with a red hand pointing to the “guessed” weight and black hand for “actual weight.”
Cash registers will include an inlaid National Cash Register having a beautiful mahogany case with carved trim, 25 lever buttons and a domed lid with shell and swirling inlays. Also sold will be an early 20th century Royal Typewriter advertising display, a functional model mounted with a pressed tin store advertising display sign.
Graphophones will be plentiful throughout the sale. Examples will include a Columbia Type BC graphophone with large-size oak case and large mechanically amplified reproducer; and a Columbia Type AD Home Grand gramophone on a stand, having an oak case with fancy domed, patented Dec. 1898.
Also offered will be a Graphonola DeLuxe with serpentine form floor-standing mahogany case holding a Regina music box playing 15 1/2-inch discs on a double combed spring-driven mechanism signed with a metal tag on the soundboard; and a Chicago Coin’s Band Box jukebox orchestra speaker deluxe model 1951, with an animated band that plays when the curtain is open.
Rounding out just some of the day’s expected top lots are a Seeburg “Shoot the Bear” arcade game with a bear figure that runs around a cluster of trees with a hound chasing it, and a rifle that fires a laser at the display; and a double singing bird cage automaton with a pair of mechanical birds inside a brass cage that flick their tails, move their heads and whistle a tune.
Fontaine’s Auction Gallery is actively seeking quality consignments for all future sales. To consign an item, estate or collection, call 413-448-8922 and ask for John Fontaine. Or, e-mail him at email@example.com.
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE