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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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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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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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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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