Auction Report: Pepsin Gum Dispenser Takes Top Lot at Antique Sale

A Pepsin Gum embossed tin dispenser, a coin-op taking one penny for gum and fortune sold for $57,000.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A rare antique Pepsin Gum embossed-tin dispenser, coin-operated to accept one cent for gum and to tell a fortune, sold for $57,000 at an auction held Oct. 4 through 6 by Showtime Auction Services.

The dispenser was the top lot in a sale that grossed $1 million.

Around 1,800 lots crossed the auction block over the course of the three days, with about 275 people attending the event in person and more than 2,000 bidders participating online via and Phone and absentee bids totaled more than 500 bids.

The Pepsin Gum tin dispenser was in good condition, with a key, and was desirable for its rare tin litho fortuneteller—a surefire conversation starter. The auction’s second top lot was a salesman’s sample tobacco humidor store showcase made by Whitcomb Cabinet Co. Detailed with beveled mirrors and glass, galvanized steel-lined drawers, a copper base with vents, richly detailed wood carved base and carrying case, the lot fetched $36,000.

Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a buyer’s premium that ranged from 14-20 percent, depending on how the winning bid was placed.

E. R. Durkee & Co. salad dressing etched-glass window attributed to Dorflinger Glass sold for $27,000.

• A mid-19th century E. R. Durkee & Co. Salad Dressing etched-glass window, attributed to the Dorflinger Glass Company of White Mills, Pa., garnered $27,000, and a Coca-Cola salesman’s sample glass cock cooler with original opener, cap catcher and sample cases of bottles made $18,000;
• An extremely rare Red Crown Gasoline and Polarine self-framed beveled-edge tin-over-cardboard sign, copyright 1913 by Standard Oil Company and depicting lazy drivers, garnered $15,960, and a gorgeous Regina coin-operated disc changer rose to $10,800.
• A Winchester Repeating Arms advertising clock made by the Baird Clock Company, with pendulum and key, commanded $9,300, and a rare Musgo gas globe with a Native American image painted on milk glass, hit $9,000.
• A professionally restored 1926 Gendron Packard rumble-seat pedal car with running board step plate, cowl lights, running board mounted spotlight, dual fender-well spares and dramatic opening rumble seat, sped away for $8,265, and a scarce Gendron Stutz Roadster pressed-steel pull toy with a Packard hood ornament, earned $7,410;

This Coca-Cola salesman’s sample glass cock cooler with original opener and cap catcher sold for $18,000.

• A Watling five-cent “Rol-A-Top” cherry-front slot machine, professionally restored and in good working condition, complete with keys, went for $6,600; and a 1937 Steelcraft Auburn Super Charger Deluxe pedal car, colored Honolulu blue and silver, with chrome exhaust pipes, windshield and upholstered seat and professionally restored, charged off for $4,680.

• A hard-to-find Sykes After Shaving Powder tin with barbershop image and a scene titled “Next,” made by The Comfort Powder Co., breezed to $3,420, and a “St. George” fishing reel made by Hardy Brothers, Ltd. topped out at $1,260.

Showtime Auction Services’ next big auction is scheduled for the weekend of April 4 through 6 at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds in Ann Arbor. Featured will be the Robert and Janet Staub lifetime collection and Neil J. Frick antique-store collection.

To learn more, please visit Showtime Auction Services’ website.


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