The 407-lot Petroliana & Advertising auction featured petroliana (gas station items), advertising signs, general store, steam, railroad, music machines and bicycles. Overall, it grossed $553,951.
NEW HAMBURG, Ontario, Canada – Three extremely rare, turn-of-the-century motor vehicles – a 1907 REO Model A 5-passenger touring car, an 1899 Stanley Stanhope No. 1 “Locomobile” and a prototype of the 1911 Model H REO pickup truck – sped away for a combined $120,950 in Miller & Miller Auctions’ online-only Petroliana & Advertising auction held on September 10th.
All figures quoted are in Canadian dollars and include an 18 percent buyer’s premium.
The 1899 Stanley Stanhope Model No. 1 “Locomobile”, made by the Locomobile Company of America, was the auction’s top lot, selling for $44,250. It was very popular and quickly became known as the “Stanley Steamer” due to its quiet but powerful two-cylinder steam engine. The literature boasted it “weighs less than 400 pounds and is odorless and noiseless when in use.”
The 1907 REO Model A 5-passenger touring car sold within estimate for $41,300. This early and unusual vehicle was the brainchild of Ransom E. Olds (creator of the curved dash Oldsmobile). It was restored in 2006. For years the car was on proud display at Richard Bennett’s Horseless Carriage Museum in Fenelon Falls, Ontario. All three top lots, in fact, came out of the museum.
The eye-catching variant and potential prototype of the 1911 Model H REO pickup truck, made by the REO Motor Truck Company in Lansing, Michigan, had been fully restored and featured signage for the merchant “Ballantine & Taby” ($35,400). Ads for the truck (also designed by R. E. Olds) claimed it could “do the work of three horse-drawn trucks at less than half the cost.”
“For decades Richard Bennett added unusual items to his museum,” said Ethan Miller of Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. “Buyers clamored to own what he collected. It was an exciting sale.
Brass-era vehicles added the ‘wow factor’ to an auction that was packed with automobilia, steam engines, advertising and music machines. All categories were received with enthusiasm.”
Mr. Miller added, “While categories in mature markets such as brass-era automobiles performed slightly beneath what we expected, gas/oil and soda advertising performed well beyond our estimates. Richard Bennett added unique and interesting items to his museum whenever the opportunity arose. His vehicles in the auction helped boost the sale’s overall gross to $553,951.”
The 408-lot auction included petroliana (gas station collectibles), advertising signs, general store, steam, railroad, automobilia, music machines and bicycles. Around 500 people registered to bid, using the Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. website (www.MillerandMillerAuctions.com) and LiveAuctioneers.com. 99 percent of lots sold; 66 percent of the top 50 lots exceeded estimate.
A 1940s Canadian White Rose Gasoline double-sided porcelain sign with “Slate Boy” graphic, 4 feet in diameter and marked “The W. F. Vilas Co. Ltd. Cowansville P.Q.” on the lower edge, blew past its $20,000 high estimate to finish at $24,780; while a White Rose Service Station three-piece sign from 1947, each piece single-sided porcelain, 36 inches in diameter with the banners measuring 15 ½ inches by 94 ½ inches, marked “P&M 47” lower left, hit $14,160.
A Canadian Ford V8 dealer double-sided porcelain die-cut sign from the 1930s, 35 ¼ inches by 28 inches, a must-have for any serious petroliana collection, boasting a graphic of Henry Ford’s revolutionary V8 engine, changed hands for $23,600. Also, a 1940s Canadian Supertest Gasoline double-sided porcelain sign, 4 feet in diameter, showing the iconic Supertest maple leaf logo, exhibited some minor porcelain loss around the frame mounting holes but still brought $20,060.
A rare Canadian Red Indian Marathon Gasoline pump globe, 16 ½ inches by 16 ½ inches, with the graphics fired to the exterior surface of the globe, went to a determined bidder for $17,700; while a Canadian Red Indian Cyclo Gasoline pump globe, same dimensions (“Cyclo Gas / No-Knock Motor Fuel”) realized $8,850. Both of these 1920s-era, one-piece baked glass gas pump globes were discovered in Waterloo, Ontario, and were purportedly never installed on pumps.
A Canadian Red Indian Gasoline single-sided porcelain dealer sign from the 1930s, 5 feet in diameter, marked “The W. F. Vilas Co. Ltd. Cowansville P. Q.” on the lower edge, with just a few scattered patches of porcelain loss, fetched $11,800. Also, a Canadian White Rose Gasoline double-sided porcelain dealer sign from the 1940s, a stout 48 inches in diameter, with the porcelain featuring exceptional virgin gloss but also some stress hairlines, rose to $10,620.
A circa 1890 Paillard Grand Orchestral Cylinder Swiss music box, in excellent cosmetic and working condition, able to play 10 tunes with its organ, drum, castanet and bells, in a rosewood and burled wood case on a matching stand, played a sweet tune for $9,440. Also, an English 53-inch high-wheel bicycle from the 1880s, made from painted tubular construction with rubber wheels, decaled “Simpsons Bicycle Shop Cycles and Sporting Goods, Ont.”, garnered $8,260.
An American Hires Root Beer single-sided tin oval sign from the mid-1910s, self-framed, 19 ¾ inches by 23 ¾ inches, with the artwork signed and dated by the illustration artist “Harry Morse Meyers 1915”, found a new home for $8,850; while a single-sided tin Coca-Cola “turtle-back” sign from the 1920s, also American, embossed and still with the original hanging chain, went for $7,080. The sign was depicted in Alan Petretti’s book, Coca-Cola Collectibles, on page 203.
Miller & Miller Auctions has four more major auction events planned for the remainder of 2022. All are Saturday online-only auctions with no live gallery bidding. These include the following:
• Canadiana & Folk Art (October 8th)
• Petroliana & Advertising (October 29th)
• Watches & Jewels (November 19th)
• Petroliana & Advertising (December 3rd)
Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. 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, you can e-mail them at [email protected]. To learn more about Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. and the firm’s upcoming auctions, please visit www.millerandmillerauctions.com