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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Advertising signs, petroliana, automobilia do well in Miller & Miller’s June 15-16 online auctions

June 15th featured an Automobilia, Petroliana & Advertising auction,

NEW HAMBURG, Ontario, Canada – A 1936 Chevrolet half-ton pickup truck in untouched original condition sped away for $118,000; a circa 1880 Ives, Blakeslee & Co. Pegasus toy mechanical locomotive chugged off for $18,880; and multiple lots of vintage sales brochures for Auburn and Cord early automobiles sailed past estimates in three sessions of auctions held June 15th and 16th by Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. All three of the sessions were online-only sales.

All prices quoted in this report are in Canadian dollars.

The June 15th event was an Automobilia, Petroliana & Advertising auction, featuring the Dr. Michael Francis collection. June 16th was split into two sessions: a Canadiana, Advertising & Historic Objects auction featuring the Jon Church collection; and an Automobilia & Advertising auction later in the day. In all, more than 750 lots came up for bid. The total gross was $774,316.

“The late Dr. Michael Francis collection had some monumental surprises,” said Ethan Miller of Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. “Results of the 1936 Chevrolet pickup and a rare garage sign stirred chatter across North America. I felt soda struggled a bit, compared to the petroliana.”

The 1936 Chevy pickup was by far the overall top lot of the three sessions, blasting through its $25,000-$30,000 estimate to finish well into the six figures. The truck featured the original ‘leather-type’ upholstery, original apple green and black paint, and 6-cylinder valve-in-head 206.8 cubic inch engine. The chrome was excellent and the original Goodrich tires were removed but kept. It was a true pre-WWII survivor truck, driven only 17,056 actual miles since new.

The garage sign Mr, Miller was referring to was a late 1920s double-sided painted galvanized sheet metal sign with milk (opal) glass letters spelling the word ‘GARAGE’. It was simple in design, but early lighted signs with milk glass are some of the most important North American treasures in advertising. This one was 45 inches by 82 inches and depicted a Model A Ford or Essex of the period. It was originally made for a Ford-Essex Garage in Dundas, Ontario and brought $70,800.

Following are additional highlights from the three auctions, in which a total of 959 online bidders placed a combined total of 14,651 bids. Internet bidding was facilitated by and the Miller & Miller Auctions website. Of the 757 total lots up for bid, nearly all were sold, and most the top 50 lots in sessions 1 and 2 surpassed estimates.

Keeping with Day 1, a 1930s-era Jaeger chronograph Duesenberg accessory automobile clock, featuring a 60-second hand and a 30-minute indicator, which allowed the user to measure elapsed time in seconds and minutes, easily bested its $1,200-$1,500 pre-sale estimate by bringing $25,960. The Swiss-made timepiece also featured an 8-day clock.

A White Rose Gasoline round dealer sign, four feet in diameter and featuring the iconic ‘Boy and Slate’ graphic, boasting very good color and gloss, sold within estimate for $11,210. Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. has featured the sign in past sales, always with enthusiasm from bidders.

“In the Jon Church sale that kicked off Day 2, country store advertising, particularly porcelain, sold extremely well,” Mr. Miller remarked. “Most of Jon’s pottery sold well too. Only a few of the merchant pieces underperformed. Across both sales, the markets are maturing. The best commands the money, but for the rest, it’s a slippery slope.”

The circa 1880 Ives, Blakeslee & Co. (Bridgeport, Conn.) Pegasus mechanical locomotive was the session’s top achiever. The tinplate toy with cast wheels is considered by many be the finest mechanical locomotive without track ever produced. The advanced design included a train engineer with a moving arm to ring a bell, a flaring diamond smoke stack, a gilt steam engine and a track light. The multi-colored locomotive more than doubled its $9,000 high estimate.

A King George V working model steam locomotive fashioned out of metal and wood was an impressive creation built in the 1920s by William Edward Burgess of England. Burgess was an artist and a painter (his self-portrait was included in the lot) who took up model building after he lost his hearing in World War I. This spectacular piece of railroad history gaveled for $8,260.

A Canadian 1930s single-sided porcelain Five Roses Flour door push sign with outstanding graphics bested the $1,200-$1,500 estimate with a selling price of $5,900. Also, a circa 1900 three-cylinder model marine engine room with catwalk mounted to an original metal plinth, built by freelance maker Peter Vanzulin and copied from a real engine, changed hands for $5,605.

The second session of the day, on June 16th, titled Automobilia & Advertising, focused mainly on early American automotive literature (Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg, Ford, Cadillac), along with parts, mascots, accessories, badges, pins, historical objects and more. It was a brief but worthy sale, filled with interesting advertising and ephemera, bringing delight to collectors of all levels.

Noteworthy lots in the session included a collection of sales brochures for 1935 and 1936 Auburn automobiles ($3,835); sales brochures and flyers for Cord automobiles from the 1920s and ‘30s, with blueprints ($3,835); early sales brochures from the 1900s and 1910s for Auburn automobiles ($3,245); and sales brochures for 1932 and 1933 Auburn automobiles ($2,655).

To watch brief YouTube videos of some of the auctions’ highlights, click these links:
June 15:
June 16:

Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. has several online-only auctions lined up for autumn, to include:

• Petroliana & Advertising, Sept. 7
• Canadiana, featuring the Wendy B. Hamilton and late Bill Hamilton collection, Oct. 12.
• Canadian Folk Art, Oct. 13

Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. is Canada’s trusted seller of high-value collections and is always accepting quality consignments. The firm specializes in luxury watches, art, antiques and high-value collectibles. Its mission is to always 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

This White Rose Gasoline round dealer sign, four feet in diameter and featuring the iconic ‘Boy and Slate’ graphic, boasting very good color and gloss, sold within estimate for CA$11,210.