Coin-ops, music-related items, gaming lots and more all do well at Fontaine's September 21st auction A pair of antique Mills Novelty Company coin-operated machines – a Violano-Virtuoso and a Perfect Muscle Developer – shared top lot honors by realizing identical prices of $15,930 at Fontaine's.
News-Antique.com - Oct 03,2013 - (PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – A pair of antique Mills Novelty Company coin-operated machines – a Violano-Virtuoso and a Perfect Muscle Developer – shared top lot honors by realizing identical selling prices of $15,930 each at an auction held Sept. 21 by Fontaine's Auction Gallery in the firm's Pittsfield gallery. The sale featured music lots, advertising, coin-ops, country store, gaming, toys and accessories.
The Violin-Virtuoso, a rare machine, played from large paper rolls that turned on an electric motor housed in the base. It simultaneously played a piano built into the backboard and a single violin in the top section of the cabinet. The 5-cent coin slide was on the front right side of a large mahogany case that had folding front doors with glass panels on the front that exposed the good-condition violin.
The Perfect Muscle Developer, 67 inches tall by 22 inches wide, was a test-of-strength machine, with a 13-inch painted metal dial having 100-point markers from 0-900 and phrases along the way pertaining to the strength of the “lift.” In the center was a portrait of a man flexing his muscles and a banner reading “Show Your Strength!” with an index chart comparing average strength to weight ratios.
Over 450 lots crossed the auction block with 900 bidders participating online via LiveAuctioneers.com, iCollector.com and Artfact.com. and an additional 450 customers bidding by phone, absentee and live in the gallery. Headlining the auction was a fine pair of outstanding 35-year collections from Pennsylvania & New York.
“It was a pleasant surprise that there was so much enthusiasm at this event,” said John Fontaine of Fontaine’s Auction Gallery. “The fact is the folks that collect musical items, coin-op and gaming machines are just naturally fun people. Everybody stayed from start to finish. They laughed together and talked together and just had a great time. Overall, it was a fabulous sale.”
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include an 18 percent buyer’s premium.
Wurlitzer jukeboxes did exceptionally well. Examples included a 1941 Model 850 floor model, known as “The Peacock” for its peacock graphics ($12,390); a 1946 Model 1015 floor model, called “The Bubbler” for its colorful bubbling tubes ($7,670: a Model 71 table model, 1940, with stand, made in 1940 ($8,850); and a 1947 Model 1080, or “The Colonial” ($8,260).
Antique phonographs also sparked fierce bidding wars. Popular lots included a United Talking Machine Company (Chicago) phonograph known as the Double-Bell Wonder ($12,390); a Victor mahogany Type VI phonograph and stand with 12-inch spring-driven turntable ($8,850); and The Oxford urn-shaped phonograph, made by The Munder Co., N.Y. ($5,900).
Graphophones (phonographs for recording and reproducing sounds on wax records) featured a floor-standing mahogany carved Columbia Graphonola DeLuxe model, playing 15 ½ inch discs on a double combed spring-driven mechanism ($8,555); and a Columbia Type AD Home Grand unit on a stand, with an oak case and fancy domed lid, patented in 1898 ($7,965).
A Chicago Coin’s Band Box jukebox orchestra speaker (DeLuxe Model 1951), with a curtain that