Firefighting Items, Arcade Machines, Rare Toys & Banks on the Block

 “The War Game” mermaid coin-op arcade machine by Matheson Mfg. is estimated to bring between $200,000 and $300,000 at a Showtime Auction Services auction on April 9-11, 2010.

“The War Game” mermaid coin-op arcade machine by Matheson Mfg. is estimated to bring between $200,000 and $300,000 at a Showtime Auction Services auction on April 9-11, 2010.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Nearly 2,000 lots from several major collections in an array of categories—including firefighting items from the Granite Handtub Museum in Newmarket, N.H., a private arcade machine collection, some 150 rare toys and banks and more—will be sold Apr. 9-11, 2010, by Showtime Auction Services, at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The three-day Spring “Live” Auction will also feature advertising, country store, barber shop, coin-op, gambling, general store, soda fountain, Coca-Cola, breweriana, petroliana, automobilia, Western Americana, tobacciana, saloon, brothel, die cabinets, showcases, store fixtures, Black Americana, salesman’s samples, Native American items, trade signs and more.

The first day of the sale (April 9, noon to 5 p.m.) will be for live attendees only (no phone, absentee or Internet bidding). The Saturday and Sunday sessions (April 10, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and April 11, 9 a.m. to 4p.m.) will have live bidding plus phone, absentee and Internet bidding (via iCollector.com). A preview will be held Friday, Apr. 9, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon, with a free hot breakfast from 8-10.

The top lot of the auction is expected to be a vintage pistol-operated Mermaid “The War Game” coin-op arcade machine (est. $200,000-$300,000). The exceedingly rare coin-op arcade machine, one of only 12 made and one of only 10 known to exist today, was made by the Matheson Manufacturing Company. It was repainted and is in overall good working condition. Seventy other coin-op machines, most of them rare arcades, will also be offered at the auction.

This beautifully restored Hunneman hand-drawn hand tub-fire pumper, 1854, may sell for $30,000-$40,000.

This beautifully restored Hunneman hand-drawn hand tub-fire pumper, 1854, may sell for $30,000-$40,000.

Also expected to do well is a beautifully restored Hunneman hand-drawn hand tub/fire pump (est. $30,000-$40,000), one of three handtubs in the auction and one of over 200 fire fighting items from the Granite Handtub Museum. Built in 1854 (Button #364), the handtub originated in Cleremont, N.H., and was purchased in 1860 by the town of New Ipswich, N.H.

Another item from the museum is a decorated lamp for the button handtub used by a veteran firemen’s organization called the Red Jackets (est. $5,000-$10,000). In 1892, the tub was entered into a pumpers’ competition at a local muster in Massachusetts and won first prize. The piece was considered the most decorated tub of its time and still resides in Massachusetts.

This extremely rare Buddy L toy bus is one of many Buddy L toys in the sale (est. $8,000-$12,000).

This extremely rare Buddy L toy bus is one of many Buddy L toys in the sale (est. $8,000-$12,000).

Vintage toys will include three examples by Buddy L: an extremely rare toy bus that was once ridden by children who would steer it from side wheels (est. $8,000-$12,000); a red baby toy truck in excellent condition with the original tag (est. $6,000-$10,000); and an outdoor toy train with nine cars, complete with five pieces of track and connectors (est. $12,000-$20,000).

Another one of the 150 or so rare toys to be sold is a pre-war Japanese early tin toy race car, very rare and in very good condition (est. $2,000-$4,000). From a completely different category, but not to be overlooked, is a handsome Cigar Store Indian, made by Thomas Brooks (est. $30,000-$40,000). The piece’s later re-paint has an emerging patina that makes it desirable.

This cast-iron Boy Scout Camp mechanical bank, with 90 percent of its original paint intact, may realize $1,000-$3,500.

This cast-iron Boy Scout Camp mechanical bank, with 90 percent of its original paint intact, may realize $1,000-$3,500.

Over 20 rare mechanical banks will be offered, to include a cast-iron Boy Scout Camp example in excellent original condition, with 90 percent of the original paint still intact (est. $2,500-$3,500); and a rare circus bank (est. $4,000-$6,000). Also sold will be an extremely rare Pepsi-Cola can in the shape of a spool of thread, the only one Showtime has ever seen and in excellent condition (est. $2,000-$3,000).

A dozen automatons will include a one-cent, coin-operated gambling automaton, featuring a monkey who waves a magic wand, causing a dice table to drop down and then pop up quickly again, sending the dice rolling (est. $10,000-$20,000); and a store window automaton depicting a clock works gentleman. Wind him up and his head moves back and forth (est. $4,000-$8,000).

This Pepsi-Cola spool-shaped soda can, very rare and in excellent condition (est. $2,000-$3,000), is among the items up for auction on April 9-11.

This Pepsi-Cola spool-shaped soda can, very rare and in excellent condition (est. $2,000-$3,000), is among the items up for auction on April 9-11.

Additional top lots include a Studebaker & Rockne Authorized Service & Parts two-sided porcelain sign, the only one known and in very good condition (est. $7,500-$10,000; Note: Rockne cars were only manufactured for two years); an 1891 calendar for The Great Rock Island Route Train Company, with full pad (est. $3,000-$6,000); and a Mosley folding bath tub, the same type used in brothels in the 1800s (est. $8,000-$10,000).

Fore more information about this auction, call 951.453.2415, e-mail to mikeckles@aol.com or visit the Showtime Auction Services Web site.

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