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Vintage Motorcycles, Petroliana Lots Highlight Don Fielder Estate Sale

by WorthPoint Staff (06/22/09).

CEDAR POINT, Ill. – The lifetime single-owner collection of Don Fiedler—comprising over 700 lots of vintage toy trucks, cast-iron and tin motorcycle toys, full-size antique motorcycles and bicycles, advertising signs and displays, petroliana items, coin-op machines and more brought strong prices at a recent auction.

“The final hammer prices on many of the lots surpassed initial estimates,” said Dan Matthews of Matthews Auctions, LLC, which hosted the joint May 2-3 event with Gavin Pope Auction Co. “That was a testament to the quality and variety in Mr. Fiedler’s amazing collections. And attendance was excellent, with almost 400 bidders registered on-site. Bidders were present from all over—even one from the Netherlands. Internet bids poured in from all over the world, through Proxibid, from places like Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.”

Following are highlights from the sale. All prices quoted include a 10 percent buyer’s premium.

The top lot of the sale was this yellow 1948 Indian Chief Roadmaster motorcycle ($25,300).

The top lot of the sale was this yellow 1948 Indian Chief Roadmaster motorcycle ($25,300).

Vintage motorcycles fetched the highest dollar amounts. Top earners included the 1948 Indian Chief Roadmaster that roared away for $25,300, followed by a 1949 Harley-Davidson ($22,550); a 1948 Harley-Davidson with V-Twin pan head motor ($22,000); a 1965 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide ($20,350); and a 1941 Indian Chief with V-Twin engine ($20,075). Vintage bicycles also did well.

Rare AFM Register Repair Shop (for motorcycles) porcelain flange sign ($10,725).

Rare AFM Register Repair Shop (for motorcycles) porcelain flange sign ($10,725).

Mr. Fiedler was especially proud of his petroliana collection. Star lots of the group included a rare AFM Register Repair Shop (motorcycle) porcelain flange sign ($10,725); an Art Deco style Milwaukee model #860 cash-recording clock face gas pump ($5,170); an original Harley-Davidson motor oil 5-gallon rocker can ($3,630); and an embossed Coca-Cola fountain service sign ($2,585).

Hard-to-find Hubley “Popeye” patrol Indian toy motorcycle ($2,310).

Hard-to-find Hubley “Popeye” patrol Indian toy motorcycle ($2,310).

From antique toys, a rare Hubley “Popeye” patrol Indian motorcycle soared to $2,310; a Hubley 4-cylinder Indian motorcycle sped away for $1,870; a Keystone private label truck changed hands for $1,760; another Hubley 4-cylinder cast iron motorcycle topped out at $1,760; and a Budy “L” pressed steel wrecker went to a determined bidder for $1,540. In all, nearly 350 toys and coin-ops were sold.

The auction was conducted at a former schoolhouse building in Cedar Point, Ill., a small town located just off I-39 and south of I-80, about 90 minutes southwest of Chicago The collections were amassed over the course of more than 40 years by Mr. Fiedler, a resident of nearby Spring Valley, Ill. Mr. Fiedler is 66 years old and less active today. He simply wanted others to enjoy what he’s collected.

“Don Fiedler is one of the most interesting and colorful characters you will ever meet,” said Dan Matthews. “He’s six-foot-six, has been married twice, is a cancer survivor and has long white hair down to his waist and a beard to match. He’s a gentle giant who’s owned several saloons, a trucking company and the House of Powder paint coating business. It was while in these lines of work that he amassed his many and varied collections. He was extremely pleased with the results of the auction.”

The first day of the auction, on May 2, featured nearly 175 lots of advertising and petroliana signs; floor and counter-top displays; nearly 50 vintage oil cans; 75 lots of paper goods, from posters to parts boxes; six gas pumps, fully restored; vintage motorcycles, including Indian, Harley Davidson and Cushing models; rare vintage bicycles; and a 1954 Mack semi truck (which failed to meet the reserve). Day two featured close to 350 lots, mostly collectible antique toys and coin-ops.

Next up for Matthews Auctions, LLC, will be a spectacular John Deere New Generation tractor auction in Le Mars, Iowa, on July 8, featuring m ore than 350 lots of John Deere toys, literature and memorabilia.

The next day, July 9, the sale will continue with Robert Plendl, an owner of John Deere tractors who has gathered an outstanding collection of hard-to-find New Generation tractors headlining. There will also be a great selection of 30 Series tractors (to include a Model 730 High Crop). The auction will be held at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa.

On Aug. 7, the Iowa Gas Show & Petroliana Auction will be held in Des Moines, where cans, signs will be up for bid.

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