(Ann Arbor, Mich.) – An outstanding single-owner collection of advertising, country store and Old West antiques and collectibles will be sold the weekend of April 11-13 by Showtime Auction Services. The sale will comprise the living estate of George Cross, a dedicated collector from Orange, Calif. The auction will be held at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

“This is one of the finest collections of its kind in the United States,” said Mike Eckles of Showtime Auction Services. “Nearly everything Mr. Cross owns is in mint or near mint condition. Many of the items are extremely rare and one-of-a-kinds, or one of a few examples.” Mr. Eckles added all items will be sold without minimums or reserves. “Everything goes, regardless of price,” he said.
Mr. Cross has a personal history as colorful and interesting as his collections. In 1975, he started the Pomona Swap Meet and Car Show in Pomona, Calif., the West Coast equivalent of the Hershey Car Show in Pennsylvania — only Cross’s show was (and is) held eight times a year, vs. just once a year for Hershey. The Pomona event is the second largest cars and parts show in the country.
Between shows, Mr. Cross would often hit the road in search of items for his huge collection, which now totals over 2,000 lots (all will be sold at the April sale). “I don’t know of anybody who was as particular about what he collected as Mr. Cross,” Mr. Eckles said. “He wouldn’t even look at it unless it was a 9-1/2 or a 10. He only bought top quality merchandise, or he didn’t buy it at all.”
Mr. Cross, now in his 70’s and retired in California, has been a collector virtually all his life, beginning as a child, when he accumulated hundreds of marbles (even they will be sold in April, in two jars full, neither of which has been picked). Although the Pomona show has to do with cars, very little of what he collected is car-related. The April sale will, however, include some mascots and other items.
Although the auction will feature much in the way of advertising and country store collectibles, the main focus will be on Western memorabilia, Mr. Cross’s first passion. But the sale will also include hundreds of items in an array of other categories, including petroliana; coin-op; gambling; coffee grinders; Coca-Cola; occupational mugs; bronzes; banks; straight razors; barber shop items; and more.
The Old West memorabilia will include firearms, ammunition, posters and calendars – all of it rare and mint or near-mint. The posters and calendars are complete with bands (the metal strips used for hanging, which were routinely destroyed over time).

winchester-poster2.jpgOne poster expected to generate crowd buzz is a rare, near-mint Winchester firearms poster, the only American version known (est. $30,000-$40,000).

Additional anticipated top lots follow. All are dated sometime between the 1880s and the 1920s.
• H. Guggenheimer & Co. Distillers, Cincinnati, reverse glass sepia tone advertising sign, with an image of a nude at a dressing table, hand-painted on glass, in original frame (est. $50,000-$60,000).
• Henry Hunter Fine Old Rye whiskey sign, tin, known as the “East Meets West” sign because of the graphic showing a cowboy shaking hands with a gentleman, extremely rare (est. $40,000-$60,000).
• Buffalo Brewing Company (Sacramento, Calif.) advertising sign for beer, housed in gold leaf gesso frame, a one-of-a-kind item in near-mint condition (est. $30,000-$40,000).
• El-Bart Dry Gin advertising sign, tin, one of the most desirable pretty-woman images in existence and the best condition example known, housed in the original wood frame (est. $25,000-$35,000).

huylers-vendor3.jpg • Huyler’s chocolates and St. Nicholas pepsin gum coin-op candy and gum vendor, porcelain, extremely rare, accepts one cent, in excellent all-original working condition (est. $15,000-$20,000).
• Extremely detailed and and-carved walnut hat rack in the shape of a long-horned steer, base and head are walnut and horns are oak, probably crafted in the 1880s, near-mint (est. $15,000-$25,000).
• Eagle weather vane, tin, with most of the original gold paint still intact (est. $10,000-$15,000).
• Cast-iron bull perfumer, one-cent version, exceedingly rare (est. $10,000-$12,000).
• Pulver’s Chocolate Cocoa Gum early embossed tin dispenser, one-cent, all original, patented 1889, extremely rare (est. $10,000-$12,000)
• Dutch Boy paint die-cut tin sign, advertising “Atlantic White Lead,” with string holder, all original and in mint condition (est. $8,000-$10,000).
• Case Manufacturing Company (farm equipment, steam engines, tractors) cast-iron eagle on original base, no breakage, 58” tall, very rare (est. $8,000-$10,000).
• Star coffee grinder, floor model #18-B, manufactured by Henry Troemner of Philadelphia, patented 1885, extremely rare ($5,000-$10,000).
• Child’s pioneer farm wagon with original paint, with sleigh runners for snow (est. $5,000-$10,000).
• Texaco Motor Oil petroliana sign, porcelain, two-sided flange die-cut (est. $3,000-$5,000)
• Coca-Cola porcelain sign, two-sided, 5′ x 3′ in original frame, great condition (est. $3,000-$5,000).
• Cast-iron cigar lighter in the shape of a steer, advertising Y.B. (Young Brothers) cigars, graphic features an original etched globe, excellent condition, about 100 years old (est. $3,000-$5,000).
• Gem Damaskeene Razor Company wood clock, in good working order (est. $4,000-$7,000).
• Murad Turkish Cigarettes porcelain flange two-sided sign, near-mint condition (est. $6,000-$8000).
• “Smilin’ Sam From Alabam’” peanut vendor, with most original paint intact (est. $5,000-$7,000).
• Chief Big Moon mechanical bank, with most original paint intact ($3,000-$7,000).
• Sweet, Orr & Company (overalls) curved-corner porcelain sign, near-mint (est. $4,000-$6,000).
• Bull Durham Tobacco two-sided string hanger sign, die-cut cardboard (est. $3,000-$5,000)
• Trick dog mechanical bank, patented 1888, most original paint intact (est. $1,000-$5,000).
• Teddy (Roosevelt) and the Lion mechanical bank, most original paint intact (est. $1,000-$5,000).
• World’s Fair mechanical bank, most original paint intact (est. $1,000-$5,000).
• “Bad Accident” mechanical bank, a wonderful piece of Black Americana (est. $1,000-$5,000).
• J.W. Brant & Co. Magic Dyes ornamental paint and wood store cabinet (est. $3,000-$5,000).
• Mechanical cigar-tip cutter, cast-iron, depicting a Native American, 1898 (est. 3,000-$5,000).
• Helman Turkish Cigarettes die-cut porcelain flange two-sided sign, very rare (est. $3,000-$5,000).
A preview will be held on Friday, April 11, from 7 a.m.-12 noon. The auction will begin that day around noon. The Saturday and Sunday sessions – April 12 and 13 – will run from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. An auction catalog (200+ pages, full color) will be available the first week of March. To order a copy, at a cost of $35, please call (316) 721-5236, and ask for Carol. One will be mailed upon publication.
Showtime Auction Services recently relocated its headquarters office from Chino, Calif., to Woodhaven, Mich., to be closer to the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds in Ann Arbor, where it has been conducting most of its recent sales. Woodhaven is located about halfway between Detroit and Toledo, just off Intersate 75. Showtime Auction Services conducts two major auctions per year.
The firm’s next big sale after the April 11-13 sale of the George Cross Collection will be held the weekend of September 12-14, when the Sandy Rosnick Collection, as well as other selected items, will be sold, also at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds. Featured will be tobacciana; country store; soda fountain; general store; saloon; gambling; arcade; coin-op; advertising; toys; banks; and more.
To learn more about Showtime Auction Services, click on www.showtimeauctions.com. The firm is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, estate or collection, you may call Mike Eckles at (951) 453-2415. His e-mail address is [email protected] Check the website for updates and images for the sale of the George Cross collection, April 11-13, in Ann Arbor.