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Archive for the ‘Auction’ Category

Andreas Feininger Gyro

Andreas Feininger, The Gyro, Coney Island, 1949. Skinner Auctions. May 16, 2014.

In 1949, LIFE photographer Andreas Feininger took a series of now classic time lapses of Coney Island rides including the Ferris Wheel, Hurricane and Gyro Globe. The pictorial was titled “Coney Island: Its Stomach-Curdling Rides Make Beautiful Light Patterns At Night.” This gelatin silver print of the Coney’s Gyro from the private collection of György Kepes is up for auction at Skinner’s May 16th sale (Presale estimate $3,000-$5,000).

In the magazine, the Gyro was described as “a metal monster which simultaneously spins and tilts its victims, looks weird enough by day, becomes a fantastic skein of light threads at night. Billed as the only one of its kind in the world, it is known as a ‘laughing ride.'”

It turns out the “Gyroscope” was the creation of Charles Hermann, who is best known as the inventor of Coney Island’s famous Wonder Wheel, for which he assigned the rights to the Eccentric Ferris Wheel Company in 1920. According to a 1947 article in the Billboard, park operator Jimmy Kyrimes leased a lot on the Bowery at 12th Street to Hermann for his new thriller, which was brought to Coney after debuting in Long Beach, California. Members of the Garms family, the original owners and operators of the Wonder Wheel, were partners in Hermann’s Gyro Amusement Corporation. Two decades later, the one-of-a-kind ride disappeared from Coney Island.

Another Feininger photograph in the sale is titled ‘Merry-Go-Round,’ though it’s a Rocket Ship ride. The marquee of the RKO Tilyou Theater on Surf Avenue can be seen in the background (Presale estimate $1,000-$1,500).

Andreas Feininger, Merry-go-round

Andreas Feininger, Merry-Go-Round, Coney Island, 1949. Skinner Auctions. May 16, 2014.

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April 18, 2014: British Pathé Releases Historic Newsreels of Coney Island

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November 1, 2013: After 80 Years in Popcorn Biz, Family’s Heirloom Wagons Up for Sale

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Pinto Bros Fire Truck

Pinto Bros Fire Truck, Coney Island. Rich Penn Auctions, May 3, 2014

Among the items being offered on Saturday at online auctions are a circa 1940s Pinto Brothers Fire Truck from a kiddie ride manufactured in Coney Island and an array of vintage arcade machines and carnival games. The Pinto Brothers were kiddie ride manufacturers in the 1940s and ’50s and like their better known contemporary William F Mangels, who also manufactured a popular fire engine ride, the Pinto family had a factory on West 8th Street. After the widening of the street for the New York Aquarium construction swallowed up their shop, they continued to manufacture ride parts for customers and operate rides including the Cyclone roller coaster. For more info on the Pinto Brothers, see “Rare & Vintage: Pinto Bros. Pony Cart from Coney Island,” ATZ, May 18, 2012.

Airplane Game

Detail of St. Louis Carnival Supply Airplane Game. VCA Auction

“Fly to Tokyo, Rome, Paris, London, India, Egypt, Hawaii, N. Pole, Berlin, New York – Colors Win Small Prizes.” This very tall airplane-themed carnival midway game caught our eye in the auction catalogue for Victorian Casino Antiques May 3rd sale. Made by St. Louis Carnival Supply, the game features a hand-painted wooden backboard and a metal plane and track. It calls to mind the Bumper Car Game, which my father worked with a roller skate that was pushed by players. Dad said it was designed as an alternative to gambling wheels after wheels were prevented from operating in many places.

The VCA auction has a selection of pinball games and arcade machines including this 1 Cent Supply Co. “How Can I Get What I Want” Grip Tester. Squeezing the handle of the circa 1944 machine provides a variety of answers: “Take A Chance, Get Lucky, Work Hard, Be Pigheaded, Grab It, Outsmart ‘Em, Be Greedy, Just Ask, Use Good Line.”

1 Cent Exhibit Supply Co

1 Cent Exhibit Supply Co. ‘How Can I Get What I Want.’ VCA Auction, May 3, 2014

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March 30, 2014: Spring Reading: “Automatic Pleasures: The History of the Coin Machine”

February 5, 2014: National Pinball Museum Founder’s Vintage Games Up for Auction

December 6, 2013: Rare $25K “Punchy the Clown” Game Makes a Comeback

November 15, 2013: Modern Pinball NYC Opens with New Arcade Business Model

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See-saw circus clown bicycle

See-saw circus clown bicycle from the David Metz Museum. Copake Antique & Classic Bicycle Auction. April 12, 2014

This homemade see-saw bicycle for a pair of circus clowns will be on the auction block at Saturday’s 23rd Annual Antique & Classic Bicycle Auction in Copake, New York. Here’s hoping unicyclist Keith Nelson, whose alter ego is the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus‘s Mr Pennygaff, buys it, so we can one day see it in action. The sale begins at 9:00 am with online bidding available via live auctioneers.

Among the 900 lots from museums and private collections are boneshakers, high wheels, adult tricycles, and early pneumatic safeties from the Metz Bicycle Museum of Freehold, New Jersey, which closed after the 97-year-old collector’s death last year. In addition to the see-saw bike, unusual bicycles from the museum include children’s bicycles, an ice bicycle and a pontoon bike from the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

On the day after the auction, Sunday, April 13th, a bicycle ride around Manhattan will celebrate the life of David Metz. According to the website of The Wheelmen, a nonprofit dedicated to keeping alive the heritage of American cycling: “This ride is open to all wheelmen and wheelwomen, all who are friends of the Metz Bicycle Museum or the Copake Bicycle Auction, and anyone else who was a friend to David. The ride will start from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal in the Battery, NYC, at 10:00 AM.”

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March 14, 2014: Bindlestiff Family Cirkus Celebrates 20th Anniversary

November 11, 2013: After 80 Years in Popcorn Biz, Family’s Heirloom Wagons Up for Sale

December 10, 2010: Rare & Vintage: Original Coney Island Motordrome Bike

August 20, 2009: Q & A with Coney Island Boom A Ring Circus Star Justin Case

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Bimbo Baby Automaton Arcade Machine

Bimbo Baby Automaton Arcade Machine. German, c.1950. Fontaine’s Auction Gallery

Isn’t this the cutest? There are already two bids on this circa 1950 “Bimbo Baby” arcade machine featuring a monkey orchestra. It has a starting bid of $1,000 and a pre-sale estimate of $2,000-$4,000. The sale is on Saturday morning at Fontaine’s Auction Gallery in Pittsfield, Mass., not far from where my Dad once had a real live monkey on the midway.

Bimbo Baby Automaton Arcade Machine. German, c.1950, coin operated automaton box lights up inside with 6 figural cabana monkeys on a tropical decorated stage, the figures dance, shake and play their instruments; has a speaker built into the base which plays music through a Tefi Spezial-Band cassette (tape in cassette is unwound). Animated mechanism is in good working condition. 38 in. high x 24 in. wide x 23 in. deep.

Now if somebody would just drop a dime in the slot and make a YouTube video of the toy monkeys dancing and playing, we’d be delighted.

Bimbo Baby Automaton Arcade

One of the Monkeys in Bimbo Baby Automaton Arcade Machine. German, c.1950. Fontaine’s Auction Gallery

Update: Found on YouTube! There are quite a few videos of “Bimbo Box,” the larger version, in operation…

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December 6, 2013: Rare $25K “Punchy the Clown” Game Makes a Comeback

January 28, 2013: Rare & Vintage: 1906 “La Boule Mysterieuse” Circus Toy

April 27, 2012: The Dancing Doll “Miss Coney Island” Speaks

November 29, 2011: Fascination: From Coney Island to Nantasket Beach

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Gogo and Didi Do NYC

Image on autographed T-shirts being auctioned on eBay Giving Works to benefit City Harvest

A series of photos of actors Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen hamming it up at New York City tourist spots during rehearsals for their Broadway run in Waiting for Godot and No Man’s Land has been a hit on twitter. Called “Gogo and Didi Do NYC,” the social media campaign took the bowler-hatted duo from the Empire State Building and Katz’s Deli to Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel and Nathan’s. With their last performance set for March 30th, McKellen and Stewart are now inviting fans to bid on three autographed T-shirts custom-printed with their image at a Coney Island souvenir shop during their September visit.

Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen riding Wonder Wheel,

Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen riding the Wonder Wheel, Coney Island, September 2013

Current bids on the shirts (small, medium and large) range from $560 to $625, making them the most expensive Coney Island Tees in history. It’s for a good cause. The proceeds of the eBay auction, which ends on April 3rd, will benefit City Harvest. As Stewart writes:

In Waiting for Godot, Gogo and Didi are two old tramps, needy indeed. They don’t know where they’ll sleep that night, they don’t know where their next meal will come from, and they hoard their meager resources, sharing whatever they do have. In short, they’re hungry. It seemed a natural fit—Gogo and Didi and City Harvest. City Harvest helps to feed nearly two million New Yorkers facing hunger each year. So bid early, bid often, bid high, and know that you’ll be funding a vital and important organization.

Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in Coney Island

Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen eating at Nathan’s, Coney Island, September 2013

As for Stewart and McKellen’s trip to Coney Island, it was memorable…

But one day in particular was unusually fun—we went out to the famous Coney Island and had a marvelous time. We played skee ball, hopped on the Wonder Wheel (the view from up there is lovely), and went and scoffed hotdogs at Nathan’s. (Ian, being a pescatarian, delighted in corn-on-the-cob and clam chowder.) In a truly bizarre moment, to our surprise we found Leonard Nimoy, seated outside a few tables away, himself indulging in Nathan’s for the first time. After lunch, we strolled back to the boardwalk. Ice cream for me, candyfloss for Sir Ian, on a bench, on the Coney Island boardwalk…two old(ish) Brits enjoying a classic American seaside landmark. As we left the fairground area and the late afternoon was approaching, we stopped off at a souvenir vendor’s booth and posed for a silly portrait that we impulsively had printed up onto three t-shirts.

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February 28, 2014: Photo Album: Wonder Wheel Park Preps for Coney Island’s Opening Day

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United Tropicana Pinball Machine

Backglass of United Tropicana Pinball Machine, 1948. Lot #12, Silverman Collection via Morphy’s Auctions. Estimate $2,000-$2,500

In 2011, ATZ’s feature for Games Magazine on places where you can play vintage pinball year round included the then-new National Pinball Museum in Washington D.C. The museum showcased some of the more than 800 games from founder David Silverman’s 35-year collection, including a 19th century pinball precursor, vintage woodrail games and modern, solid-state machines.

The museum, which later moved to Baltimore, closed its doors after losing its lease again last year. In August, Silverman told the Baltimore Sun that without investors coming to his rescue or a reasonable long-term lease, he’d have to sell off his pinball machines. Silverman’s collection is now up for auction in a series of sales at Morphy’s Auctions starting with a February 21 sale that includes 75 machines. Pre-sale estimates range from $600 to $3,500.

Bank a Ball Pinball Machine

Backglass of Gottlieb Bank a Ball Pinball Machine, 1950. Lot #13, Silverman Collection via Morphy’s Auctions. Estimate $2,500-$3,000

Highlights within the introductory grouping include Lot 13, a 1950 Gottlieb Bank A Ball, with a $2,500-$3,000 estimate; Lot 15, a Gottlieb Sittin Pretty, $2,500-$3,000; Lot 17, a Gottlieb Knock-Out, $3,000-$5,000; and Lot 66, a Bally Revenge From Mars, $3,000-$3,500. Online bidding is available via the Pennsylvania auction house’s website and live auctioneers.

Coronation Pinball Machine

Backglass of Gottlieb Coronation Pinball Machine, 1952. Lot #18, Silverman Collection via Morphy’s Auctions. Estimate $2,000-$3000

Some of the games took their inspiration from historical events such as a 1952 Gottlieb Coronation Pinball Machine released in anticipation of the crowning of Queen Elizabeth II which took place on June 2, 1953.

Pop culture phenoms also gave birth to pinball machines. The TV show “I Love Lucy” became the 1954 Lovely Lucy Pinball Machine. Both Coronation and Lovely Lucy feature original backglass and playfield art by Leroy Parker, whose work emblazoned Gottlieb machines for more than 30 years.

On the 50th anniversary of the Beatles, let’s not forget Williams Beat Time Pinball Machine (1967), a Beatles-themed game that was called the Bootles due to copyright laws. Yeah, yeah, yeah!

UPDATE April 26, 2014:

Day two of Morphy’s April 26-27 auction will open with the company’s second offering of pinball machines from the 35-year David Silverman collection, previously displayed at the National Pinball Museum. Film-related machines lead the grouping, with a 1993 Williams “Indiana Jones” pinball estimated at $6,500-$7,500; and a 1992 “Creature from the Black Lagoon” with fantastic artwork by Kevin O’Connor, expected to reach $4,500-$6,000. Other notable lots include two Gottlieb pinball machines: a rare, low-production 1950s “Buffalo Bill,” $2,000-$2,500; and a 1952 “All-Star Basketball,” $1,500-$2,000. Bidding is available online via Live Auctioneers.

Beat Time Pinball Machine

Backglass of Williams Beatles-themed Beat Time Pinball Machine, 1967. Lot #35, Silverman Collection via Morphy’s Auctions. Estimate $1,000-$1,500

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March 30, 2014: Spring Reading: “Automatic Pleasures: The History of the Coin Machine”

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November 29, 2011: Fascination: From Coney Island to Nantasket Beach

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Annie Oakley movie poster

La Gloire de Cirque, French movie poster for ‘Annie Oakley,” 1935. High Noon Western Americana

This striking Belgian movie poster titled La Gloire du Cirque for the 1935 RKO film Annie Oakley is currently up for auction at High Noon Western Americana. Barbara Stanwyck starred as the sharpshooting “Queen of the Roaring Eighties” who joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West in 1885. The January 25th sale is in Mesa, Arizona, with online bidding available via Live Auctioneers.

While the Hollywood movie was a fictionalized account of Annie Oakley’s career, authentic photos and memorabilia documenting Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show will be on the auction block at the January 31st sale of the Garlow Collection of William F. Cody Family Photographs and related ephemera. Most of the items in the sale at Cowan’s Auctions are descended directly in the family of Patricia Garlow, the great-granddaughter of William “Buffalo Bill” Cody.

Irma Cody’s Wild West Show Album

Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill in Irma Cody’s Wild West Show Album , Cowan’s Auctions, January 31, 2014

Cody was the first president of the Showmen’s League of America and one of the first international entertainers. His daughter Irma Cody’s Wild West Show Photo Album is among the rarest items in the auction and has a pre-sale estimate of $4,000-$6,000. The album features photos of Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley as well as trick ropers, cavalrymen, musicians, show managers and sideshow performers congregating among their tents.

Irma Cody's Wild West Show Album

Sideshow Performers in Irma Cody’s Wild West Show Album , Cowan’s Auctions, January 31, 2014

This cabinet photograph of Annie Oakley wearing a chest full of shooting medals was taken by Stacy of Brooklyn in 1894. In May, the Wild West built a huge grandstand on Third Avenue between 36th and 37th Streets at Ambrose Park, where the show “delighted twenty thousand,” according to the The New York World.

Annie Oakley Cabinet Photograph

Annie Oakley Cabinet Photograph by Stacy , Brooklyn, NY. Cowan’s Auctions, January 31, 2014

Buffalo Bill’s great Wild West Show opened at Ambrose Park, South Brooklyn, yesterday afternoon, in a blaze of glory and amid a shower of ringing coin thrown by the 20,000 people who occupied seats in the grand stands.

Col. Cody had unquestionably in this exhibition surpassed all his former efforts in the show line, and to miss seeing his Congress of Rough Riders of the World, in their most wonderful and daring feats of horsemanship, which, by the way, are perfectly natural, and contain no circus play, is to miss one of the finest educational exhibitions ever given…

The entertainment consisted further of rifle shooting by the celebrated woman rifle shot, Miss Annie Oakley; horse races between a cowboy, Cossack, Mexican, Arab and Indian on the horses of their native lands; an exhibition of the famous old pony express, an immigrant train attacked by Indians on the plains, exhibitions of horsemanship by Riffian Arabs, cowboys, Mexicans, and others; hurdle races, races between Indian boys on ponyback, the battle of the Little Big Horn, illustrating Custer’s last stand; the attack on the Deadwood coach and settlers’ cabins by Indians; buffalo hunts, a military musical drill, the cavalrymen of all nations, and Col. Cody’s wonderful exhibitions of sharp-shooting at glass balls with a rifle while riding at full speed.

The New York World, May 13, 1894

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