Grey Flannel’s May 14 auction features coin-ops and amusements from 1962 Seattle World’s Fair

WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. – Grey Flannel Auctions, the official authenticator for both the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, will launch its new Coin-op, Amusements & Entertainment division with an absentee/Internet auction closing May 14.

The department’s 1,000-lot auction premiere will include a collection of arcade machines, automata, oversize figures and other iconic articles that visitors to the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair would well remember.

Grey Flannel Auctions’ president, Richard E. Russek, explained that many of the World’s Fair items originally came from Playland-at-the-Beach, an old-time amusement park in San Francisco that was knocked down in 1972 to make way for an apartment block.

The aforementioned sources – Playland, the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, and the Jones Fantastic Museum – as well as the City of Seattle, which commissioned the 1981 auction of certain World’s Fair items it owned outright – are among the entities contributing to the provenance of the private collection to be sold by Grey Flannel in its upcoming event.

Auction highlights include a finely carved 99-inch-tall calliope with a magnificently carved façade and a heart-stopping array of musical pipes (reserve: $10,000), Laffin’ Sal, a witchy coin-operated character in an 80-inch-tall cabinet that was one of Playland’s best-known residents (reserve: $2,500); and Olaf the Giant, a 9-foot-tall figure of a Scandinavian man (reserve: $1,000).

A traffic stopper at the spring Atlantique City show where it was displayed, a 1940s International Mutoscope Record Your Voice Booth enabled World’s Fair visitors to record and instantly press a playable record for just 50 cents. It will be auctioned together with a photo of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis at a similar photo booth (reserve: $2,500).

Another crowd-pleaser at Atlantique City is the handsome, extremely realistic-looking 8½-foot-tall gray elephant automaton with moving tail and trunk. With tail extended, it is approximately 12 feet long (reserve: $2,500).

Separate from the World’s Fair grouping, a 7-foot-tall Robby the Robot figure of mixed media and Fiberglas is a versatile talker with a repertoire of space-related phrases, such as “For your convenience, sir, I am monitored to respond to the name Robby,” and “If you do not speak English, I am conversant in 187 languages and dialects and their subtitles.” Reserve: $1,500. Another iconic, space-theme item in the sale that does come with provenance from the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair is a 1960s-style silver tube rocket emblazoned with the words “Seattle or Bust.”

The auction also contains an extensive selection of game-worn athletic apparel from the titans of professional sports. Among the top lots are a 1960 Boston Red Sox home flannel jersey worn by the legendary Ted Williams, and a Julius “Dr. J” Erving January 1976 ABA All-Star game and Slam Dunk Contest game-used uniform.

Absentee and Internet bidding is now open on all items in the sale.

For more information, call 631-288-7800 ext. 221, or email to [email protected]