NEW HAMBURG, Ontario, Canada – An early 20th century Seeburg “G” style Orchestrion coin-op machine sold for $24,780, a 27-inch Orchestral Regina upright music box from 1898 finished at $21,240, and an 1892 Swiss George Baker & Company cylinder music box fetched $10,030 in an online auction held September 19th by Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. based in New Hamburg.
All prices quoted are in Canadian dollars and are inclusive of an 18 percent buyer’s premium.
The event – officially titled a Music Machines, Coin-Op & Advertising auction – was led by the outstanding lifetime collections of Ken Vinen and Jack Winkler and also featured general store items, petroliana (gas station collectibles), breweriana and automobilia. A total of 624 lots came up for bid – many of them with roots in Canada – in an auction that grossed more than $389,000.
The Seeburg “G” Orchestrion was a coin-operated masterpiece, outfitted with original and replica components. It had actually been professionally modified from a Seeburg style “A” but retained the correct torch mosaic leaded art glass doors. The machine – impressive at 66 inches tall by 79 inches wide – was from the Ken Vinen collection and include 13 “G” music rolls.
The 27-inch Orchestral Regina upright music box, with 29 discs, was another coin-op marvel. Like so many music machines from the era, it was originally rented as a coin-consuming investment to shrewd bar owners. Aside from a being a money-maker, it provided fun entertainment, a sure way to divert thirsty patrons from neighboring establishments.
The George Baker & Company cylinder music box, made in Switzerland in 1922, was a rare variant, featuring the sublime harmony of a drum with six bells. Originally built with five 8-tune cylinders, the machine was lovingly restored by Darren Wallace in 2017 and maintained by Ken Vinen until his death in 2019. Included were five 8-tune cylinders.
“Quality, fresh to the market collections are always well-received among our buyers,” said Ethan Miller of Miller & Miller Auctions, adding, “Ken Vinen’s music machines sold like hot cakes. Originality and functionality meant a lot to Ken and this was evident in the prices realized. The phone was ringing all week. Nobody wanted to miss this opportunity. It was a great auction.”
While the list of top lots was loaded with music machines, it was actually an eclectic sale, with items ranging from a Canadian Goold high-wheel bicycle from around 1890, the front wheel 54 inches in diameter to the handlebars (S3,245); to an American-made early 20th century Holcomb & Hoke Butter-Kist popcorn machine in a walnut case ($3,835); to an adorable 1940s Addison model A2 “Baby” Bakelite radio made in Canada ($4,425).
Following are additional highlights from the auction, which was online-only, with live video feed from location. Internet bidding was provided by LiveAuctioneers.com and the Miller & Miller website (www.MillerandMillerAuctions.com). The 422 users placed a total of 8,162 bids; 47 percent of lots met or exceeded estimates and 32 percent of lots surpassed the high estimate.
The name Wurlitzer was called multiple times during the auction. A few lots sold as follows:
A Wurlitzer Model 1015 jukebox, made in 1946, with a curated library of rock ‘n’ roll 78 rpm records. The Wurlitzer 1015 is the most identifiable jukebox ever made ($11,210).
A Wurlitzer model 750 jukebox made in 1940, coin-operated and featuring a “bear claw” pickup. Also included is a library of 78 rpm records as shown on title cards ($8,850).
A Wurlitzer 1015-CD “One More Time” jukebox, made in Germany around 1900, a version of the famous model 1015 and retrofitted to hold up to 100 CD discs ($4,425).
A Wurlitzer model 61 jukebox, circa 1939, coin-operated, with an unfinished stand. A multi-selector phonograph jukebox that includes a library of 78 rpm records ($3,540).
A rare, two-sided Ford porcelain hanging dealer sign, made for the Canadian market in the 1930s, untouched and original, 27 ½ inches by 18 inches, changed hands for $3,540; while an American two-sided porcelain neon sign for General Electric from the 1950s, sizable at 56 inches by 50 inches, marked “Kolux Corp., Kokomo, Indiana” lower right edge, hit $3,245.
Two music machines brought $3,540 each. One was a J.P. Seeburg model “L” Nickelodeon and remote coin box, American-made in the 1920s, in a quarter-sawn oak case with leaded glass panels. The other was a 1920s American Edison Opera phonograph, original and untouched, the cabinet retaining its original finish and hardware. Included in the lot were ten 4-minute cylinders.
Miller & Miller has announced an exciting ‘refresh’ to its online platform. “There’s no learning curve or major changes,” Ethan Miller pointed out. “This update will simply present users with an improved experience as they navigate our online auctions. We’re continually investing in our digital platform to provide quality service and capability to enhance the overall user experience.”
Miller & Miller Auctions has also launched a new mobile app for iOS and Android. Bidders can now choose to participate virtually in auctions using a phone or tablet for a convenient, portable experience. They can place bids and receive instant updates and notifications with a few taps.
Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. has two more major auctions planned for the fall. A Canadiana & Historic Objects auction, featuring the Stead and Withington collections, is slated for Saturday, October 24th. Then, a Watches, Jewellery and Decorative Arts auction will be held on Saturday, November 21st, followed by an Advertising & Historic Objects auction Saturday, December 12th.
All three sales will be held online at 9am Eastern, and will be webcast from the New Hamburg gallery. Consignments are welcome.
Miller & Miller Auctions is Canada’s trusted seller of high-value collections and is always accepting quality consignments. The firm specializes in watches and jewelry, art, antiques and high-value collectibles. Its mission is to provide collectors with a trusted place to buy and sell.
To consign a single piece, an estate or a collection, you may call them at (519) 573-3710 or (519) 716-5606; or, e-mail to [email protected]. To learn more about Miller & Miller Auctions and the firm’s slate of upcoming auctions, visit www.MillerandMillerAuctions.com