Auction Report: Monumental Mahogany Front and Back Bar Brings Record Price
Front and back bar with original matching liquor cabinet by Brunswick, Balke & Collender Co. soared to a record selling price of $302,500 at the living estate sale of Ron Wallace, a dedicated collector and the former president of UPS.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – A monumental mahogany Los Angeles model front and back bar and with an original matching liquor cabinet standing 24 feet long and standing 11 feet high, made around 1893 by Brunswick, Balke & Collender Co., soared to $302,500 at the living estate sale of Ron Wallace, a dedicated collector and the former president of UPS.
The three-day auction was held on Oct. 2-4 at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds in Ann Arbor, Mich. And facilitated by Showtime Auction Services. The front and back bar was one of the top earners of some 1,700 lots that changed hands in a sale that grossed nearly $2.2 million.
“It was our best auction ever in terms of average dollar amount per lot,” Eckles said. “It was a very successful sale with several records set.”
One of those records was the front and back bar—which features hand-carved, life-size nude supports between beveled mirrors, each weighing 140 pounds and standing 5 feet 4 inches tall. The mirrors are emblazoned with the message “Oriental Saloon, Territory of Arizona, Est. February 24, 1863” and the matching liquor cabinet had adjustable shelves and a zinc-like base.
“We’ve only seen two of these bars in 25 years, and only one with a matching original liquor cabinet,” Eckles said.
Solid mahogany swinging saloon doors, also by Brunswick, Balke & Collender Co., brought $77,000, another record.
Another record was established for saloon doors when a set made circa 1902, also by Brunswick, Balke & Collender Co., brought $77,000. The solid mahogany swinging saloon doors, 96 inches wide by 78 inches tall, were originally from a saloon in Milwaukee and had applied carvings at the top. They were refinished 25 years ago and had a great patina, with beveled glass incorporated in all the panels.
Wallace, the sale’s headliner, is a larger-than-life figure. He resides in a spectacular, 44,000-square-foot home in suburban Atlanta, where his collections of vintage firearms, advertising, gambling, saloon, brothel and country store items were kept. But the auction also featured a treasure trove of more than 1,000 rare and vintage toys, plus barber shop, soda fountain and advertising collectibles, and other items.
About 350 bidders attended the auction in person, while another 100 people bid by phone and 125 others submitted absentee bids. Online bidding was facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.com and iCollector.com, with over 150 people registered to bid online. ““We didn’t see much evidence of a recession. People came to spend money,” Eckles said.
Following are additional highlights from the sale (all prices quoted include a 10 percent buyer’s premium):
Very rare Gold Medal Oil two-sided porcelain sign (one of only three know in existence), made by Veribrite Signs of Chicago, hammered for $44,000
• A rare Gold Medal Oil two-sided porcelain sign, made by Veribrite Signs (Chicago), 30 inches in diameter and one of only three known to exist, realized $44,000; a Rock Island System Railroad reverse glass and mother of pearl inlaid sign, one of only a few known and in excellent condition, went for $33,000; and a rare Ashbury Bar, Jackson Lager reverse glass corner sign (circa 1910) hit $24,150.
• A later replica Rolls Royce version of a Moxiemobile car, made in the 1930s and used in parades to promote the soft drink Moxie, topped out at $21,850; a straight razor display case with 18 assorted celluloid handle straight razors, with brass price tags, climbed to $16,500; and a La Preferencia Cigar reverse glass sign in original frame (Tuchfarber Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, 1909) also went for $16,500.
• A Consumers Brewing Company label under glass display mug, 10 inches tall, with handle, achieved $15,400 despite some minor flaws; an Early Hazard or Big Six table, with wheel, chip rack, hazard horn and disc (marked Evans, Chicago, Ill.), with claw feet, made $15,400; and extremely rare gambling ring guns, six-shot, with original bullets and case, in excellent condition, commanded $14,300.
This American National pedal car, Hudson, 1932 (Toledo, Ohio), with original paint, sold for $11,000.
• An American National pedal car of a Hudson (Toledo, Ohio, 1932), with original paint and minor scratches, 48 inches long, sped off for $11,000; an extremely rare double roulette table by B.C. Willis Co. (Detroit, Mich.), with William Ellis early layouts, one of only three known, brought $11,000; and an Ivory Poker Buck (circa 1880), with a front that reads “You Deal,” changed hands for $10,350.
• A hand-carved Ivory Playing Card Press from the 1880s, with an unusual screw mechanism and the only example known, possibly a gift to a gambling industry executive, rose to $9,350; a prostitute’s garter (circa 1890s), with fancy beaded trim and reading “Oh Stop!”, 7 inches, breezed to $8,800; and an Oliver Chilled Plow Wood Sand sign (circa late 1880s), in excellent original condition, realized $7,700.
This rare Lucky Strike three-dimensional die-cut quad-fold store window cardboard display sold for $6,325.
• A Daisy Air Rifles paper banner titled “The Happy Daisy Boy,” with metal bands top and bottom, 14 inches by 21 inches, hit the mark for $7,150; a late 1800s trade sign for Eagle Halls Light Divine Optometrist with great visual appeal, 54 inches by 30 inches, fetched $6,600; and a Lucky Strike three-dimensional die-cut quad-fold store window cardboard display with four athletes brought $6,325.
• Rounding out the top lots: a cast-iron cigar advertising clock for Katy Flyer Cigars in the shape of a train engine, possibly a one-of-a-kind and an exceptional example of tobacciana, made by Golden Novelty Mfg. Co. (Chicago, Ill.) crossed the finish line at $5,775; and a Will & Finck Faro Case Keeper in a cherry wood frame, with hand-carved boxwood cards, pips and ivory beads, garnered $5,463.
For more information about this auction, call (951) 453-24154, email to email@example.com or visit the Showtime Auction Services Web site.
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