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Musical and Arcade Rarities to Make Noise in Upcoming Auction

by Special to WorthPoint (09/08/13).

Up for bid is this 1941 Wurlitzer model 850 jukebox, also called “The Peacock” because it features a brilliant peacock reverse painted on glass.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Two outstanding 35-year collections to be sold without reserve, featuring items in many categories, will be included in a specialty auction slated for Saturday, Sept. 21, by Fontaine’s Auction Gallery. Approximately 450 lots will be offered.

The 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. The firm will also conduct a cataloged antique auction on Saturday, Oct. 19, and an antique clock sale on Saturday, Nov. 23.

The Sept. 21 auction will feature mercantile, entertainment and musical items, including rare Victrolas, gramophones, music boxes, phonographs, jukeboxes, 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 and bicycles.

“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 more than 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 1940 Wurlitzer table-model 71 jukebox on stand, which takes nickels, dimes and quarters.

This circa-1900 Yale Wonder Clock with Regina music box is one of only a handful known to currently exist.

One item set for high collector interest is a circa-1900 Yale Wonder Clock. The coin-operated mechanical marvel sports a roulette-type dial, spinning pointer, flashing lights, Regina music box and a 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 to currently exist.

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. Also set to change hands is a Victor mahogany Type VI phonograph and stand in original finish, signed on a brass tag “Victor Talking Machine Co.” with a 12-inch spring-driven turntable.

Also sold will be a custom paint-decorated butler’s secretary cabinet with electric model Victrola. The piece has a painted green cabinet with gilt carved moldings and trim and a fancy gilt carved base in scrolling legs.

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.”

Wax-media 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.

A double singing bird-cage automaton will also trade hands. The mechanical birds flick their tails, move their heads and whistle a tune.

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.

Previews will be held on Friday, Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, Sept. 21, from 9 a.m. until the first gavel comes down at 11 a.m. For bidders unable to attend the sale live, Internet bidding will be provided by both LiveAuctioneers.com and Artfact.com. Phone and absentee bids will also be accepted. A full catalog is available at Fontaine’s Auction Gallery’s website.

The Oct. 19 antique auction will feature furniture made by J.H. Belter, Herter Brothers, R.J. Horner, J. & J.W. Meeks, Alexander Roux, John Jeliff, Thomas Brooks and the Wooten Desk Co.

Lighting will be from Tiffany Studios, Duffner & Kimberly, Handel, Pairpoint and others. Also sold will be gasoliers, Argand lamps, astral lamps and cut-glass banquet lamps.

The Oct. 19 auction will also boast bronzes, marble statuary, Parian figures, paintings, cameo glass, art glass, porcelains, sterling silver, garden urns, leaded windows and hundreds of related and decorative accessories. Headlining the sale will be the unreserved contents of the home, shop and personal collection of David Marshall of Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Nov. 23 antique-clock auction will contain many rare and important clocks from several prominent collections. A featured item in this auction will be an E. Howard & Co. #68 astronomical regulator clock from the original family.


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