Old Town Auctions’ May 11-12 sale styled as a ‘mini convention’ with retro flavor Old Town Auctions goes back to the future with a May 11-12 sale of antique toys, coin ops, Coca-Cola and other advertising items centered within a framework of activities collectors won't want to miss
News-Antique.com - Apr 09,2007 - HAGERSTOWN, Md. – Matt Protos’ and Keith Spurgeon’s Old Town Auctions goes back to the future with a May 11-12 sale of antique toys, coin ops, Coca-Cola and other advertising items centered within a framework of activities that collectors won’t want to miss. The gathering, which takes place at the Grand Venice Hotel & Conference Center in Hagerstown, will be structured like a mini convention, featuring hotel room trading and ample opportunities for socializing in addition to the main event: an auction of 1,000 quality lots, with no estimates and no Internet bidding.
Matt Protos explained, “There’s a reason why we’re doing things differently. Keith and I have been show dealers and collectors for a long time, and we’ve seen a lot of the fun going out of it. Much of this is due to the Internet and eBay. Buying and selling toys online isn’t the same as getting out and meeting people. We want to generate some excitement and hope a lot of people will come to our sale and enjoy the experience.”
Much of the auction inventory has come from private collectors who’ve been involved in the hobby for many years. “We’re honored that we were chosen to auction these important collections,” said Protos. “Anyone with an experienced eye will know immediately from the excellence and rarity of the merchandise that much of it had to have come from mature collections.”
A major highlight of the auction is a grouping of approximately 450 early carnival and circus toys from a 20-year California collection. “It’s a super array – there was no cherry picking,” said Spurgeon. “There are many hand-painted German examples, and the Japanese tin is superb, with about 50 percent of the lots having their original boxes.” Among the top entries are a circa-1920 Lenhard Staudt hand-painted steam-driven Ferris wheel with a clown cranking it and a boxed bell-ringer clown with mallet that scoots across the floor when wound up. Another classic within the remarkable lineup is Gunthermann’s trio of clown musicians sitting on a park bench “playing” their instruments. “We’ve put as many images as possible on our Web site,” said Spurgeon. “This collection has to be seen to be believed.”
It is always a treat when a beautiful, early land speed car comes to auction, and in this sale Old Town will offer a collection of 50 such cars, plus rare related ephemera. Featured lots include a near-mint and boxed large-size Gunthermann Bluebird, an example of the same in rare, smaller size; a very rare and finely detailed English-made Bluebird (maker unknown) with original box, and an extremely uncommon prewar Japanese 8-inch Bluebird.
Coveted lots within the coin-op category include a 1940 Seeburg Symphonola Concert Master jukebox more commonly known as the “Faces” jukebox because it is decorated with the face masks of Comedy and Tragedy. Spurgeon noted that the sale also features two rare matching accessory “Faces” speakers. Other standouts within the coin-op section include an Exhibit Supply Co. Art Deco crane machine, a