|Oscar "Oz" Zamora
WAYNE, Mich. — This auction was billed as “The Warren Price Americana Museum Auction” and the assortment of outstanding items did not disappoint. The auction contained vintage porcelain and metal advertising signs, neon items, petroliana, vintage thermometers, ’bubble’, neon and other clocks, pressed steel toys, and assorted antiques in general. Oh, and in addition to that, a roadworthy 1955 Mercury Montclair and a 1953 Schwinn Black Phantom bicycle served to further highlighted the auction.
Price himself is a personable and unassuming man. He began with his old van and started an upholstery cleaning business. After decades in business and a work fleet totaling some 80 vans, retirement then came a knocking. Enter Ken Lindsay and his American Eagle Auction & Appraisal Company which is a full-time, full-service auction and appraisal company. Lindsay who himself has decades in his respective business was a good fit to disperse of Warren’s impressive and diverse collection.
The first item across the auction block was a meticulously maintained Honda 70 trail bike that climbed to a final bid of $2,250. A Velo-solex bike generated a $300 bid. Next was a 1936 bicycle with a huge wire basket attached to the handle bars, sporting a drab green finish, this bike was thought to be a military messenger bicycle. The crowd got the message and in good original condition the bike brought a final bid of $150.
Next in the rolling parade, every boy’s dream, was a 1953 Schwinn Phantom bicycle in beautiful original condition. Lindsay peddled this classic bike to a happy bidder for a final price of $650. A small homemade combination trike-scooter looked strong enough to carry a car engine and seemed to be a great buy, sporting a 1960s motorcycle gas tank for a seat it scooted by the block for a $5 bid.
A sampling of various clocks and neon — which always create an uptick and brighten any auction — included a contemporary neon guitar with the words “Rock & Roll,” which sold for $350. An earlier light-up Coca-Cola clock poured out a $600 bid. Identified by the auctioneer as an “older reissue,” a Mercury Outboard Motor pam clock floated to $350. A 1957 Vernor’s Ginger Ale clock lacking the glass lens but sporting the iconic Gnome image still poured out a $200 bid. A generic light-up ’spinner style’ wall clock ran to a $600 bid.
Petroliana continues to be one of the hottest fields going in the business these days and this auction certainly reflected that trend. A two-sided 1930s Mobiloil lollipop sign with the gargoyle image was a slick buy at $800. A Red Crown Gasoline two-sided hanging sign pumped out a bid of $725. A large round two-sided Texaco gas sign went to a Florida bidder for $850. A classic B. F. Goodrich Silvertown ’tires & tubes’ sign rolled across the block with a $500 final bid. A round Shell Aviation Fuel sign described as an older reproduction still flew to a final bid of $250. A large neon Goodyear Farm Tires sign seemed a good buy at $900.
A 1960s Gulf NO-Nox gas pump dispensed a bid of $425. Of course one of the ’crown jewels’ of any man cave is the Eco TireFlator air pump and this auction had one in clean unrestored condition which pumped out an impressive bid of $1,000. An original Dino-Sinclair oil lubester carried some weight bringing $250. Rounding out the petroliana items were several nice smaller items including the metal 1- gallon oil cans, a Fleetwood oil can sporting the image of an airplane climbed to $60 and several others such as Wolf’s Head and Triumph sold in the $25 to $45 range.
Advertising items continue to bring strong prices whenever they are presented. A huge pressed steel Coca-Cola “Fountain Service” sign off of an old Monroe, Mich., business circa 1935 dispensed a $2,500 bid. A mechanically restored 1960s lift-top Coca-Cola cooler warmed up to a bid of $400. Several metal picnic size beverage coolers were up for auction including a scarce Vernor’s model complete with badging reaching the $300 mark. Other brands such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi passed the $200 mark and a more contemporary A & W Root Beer model sold for $25.
A 1930s steel Wyandotte car fired off a bid of $165. A Keystone flatbed truck hauled in a $150, and a pressed steel Hook & Ladder firetruck was a hot buy at $70. Lionel Trains remain on a strong track as a three-piece streamlined group of 027 scale consisting of one engine and two passenger cars arrived at a bid of $100. An original Life Ring off of the Bob-Lo boat Columbia and an accompanying Bob-Lo advertising placard steamed to $375. A 1950s chrome firetruck siren by the Mars Company was alarming at $200. A clean original finish 1890s 8-foot oak floor-model showcase with shelves made $675. A framed Apollo 12 crew autographed photo with a document took off to $325.
A large countertop Toledo brand weight scale with a milk glass platform and round beveled mirrors on each end tallied a bid of $185. A small group of early typewriters sold choice from $100 down to $15. A hand-painted on canvas carnival festoon promoting the ’Dodgem’ Cars ride was steered to $100.
Aided by fellow Michigan auctioneer Tim Narhi and a capable floor and clerical staff, Lindsay was able to move the auction along at a quick and steady pace. When necessary both auctioneers took the time to explain the particulars regarding the background information and nuances on the pieces that required it. For a brief moment two rings were used. Narhi remained inside and continued selling while Lindsay went outside to auction the 1955 Mercury Montclair which was bid to $15,000. The Hyster forklift made $2,200.
For more information call (734) 223-3277 or visit www.michiganauctioncompany.com