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Posts Tagged ‘cat rack’

Cat Rack in Coney Island

New Cat Rack on Surf Avenue, Luna Park Coney Island. May 29, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

A supervisor and game attendant practiced “Downing the Clown” on a recent morning in Coney Island. The Cat Rack manufactured by Redbone Products is a new game at one of Luna Park’s satellite locations. This spot happens to be on Surf Avenue, which has suffered a steady loss of amusements over the years, so it’s an especially welcome sight.

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wooden knockdown clown head

Painted wooden knockdown clown head with fabric dress. The Ron Rakaseder Collection of American Arcade & Carnival Memorabilia Auction Sale, April 15th - 21st, 2012. Boyd Auctions

The Americana collector Ron Rakaseder had a passion for carnival knockdown dolls and wooden ball toss figures from the late 19th and early to mid 20th centuries. Once featured on the PBS program “Find!” with the Keno brothers of “Antiques Roadshow,” the Ron Rakaseder Collection of American Arcade & Carnival Memorabilia is now up for auction in an online sale that runs from April 15 through April 21. Boyd Auctions’ illustrated catalogue of more than 100 lots is already online.

We’re fond of hand-painted punks and targets, which conjure up memories of a now vanished time when homemade games were still in play. Auctions of this type of material typically catch our eye, yet we’ve never seen such an array of different styles and kinds of punks. Some of the rarest items are historical artifacts that would be considered politically incorrect or offensive by today’s standards. The Rakaseder collection encompasses not only whimsical cats and dolls, but hostile depictions of Hitler and Hirohito, and racial or ethnic caricatures.

Large carnival cat

Howard the Coward, Large Carnival Cat., painted canvas on wood. The Ron Rakaseder Collection of American Arcade & Carnival Memorabilia Auction Sale, April 15th - 21st, 2012. Boyd Auctions

The earliest dolls are carved wooden heads with fabric dresses while the later ones are hand-painted canvas filled with sawdust or straw and edged with lamb’s wool. Some of the lots are signed by the doll maker: A. Kuntz of Leonia, New Jersey; Cooke of Jersey City and Adams of Philadelphia. Other highlights of the sale are “Hit the Dodger” and “Look Who’s Here” knockdown carnival games with black face targets; a complete milk bottle game with “Dr. Nut” crate, two balls, 4 stone bottles and 2 metal bottles; carved and painted wooden heads; and vintage throwing balls stitched together like baseballs or made from wrapped string.

The auction will be held online at www.boydauctions.com from April 15th until April 21st, 2012. This will be the first online auction held by Boyd Auctions of Eliot, Maine.

Knockdown heads politically incorrect

Knockdown heads, politically incorrect satire, painted canvas on wooden bases. The Ron Rakaseder Collection of American Arcade & Carnival Memorabilia Auction Sale, April 15th - 21st, 2012. Boyd Auctions

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March 23, 2012: Up for Auction: Coney Island Parachutist Shooting Gallery Target

February 22, 2012: Rare & Vintage: 1930s Tin Litho Bumper Car Wind-Up Toy

November 11, 2011: Up for Auction: Rack of Vintage Carnival Knockdown Dolls

September 28, 2011: Rare & Vintage: Auction of French Fairground Art

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dolls

Carnival Knockdown Dolls. Slotin Folk Art Who's Who in Folk Art Auction. November 12, 2011

Remember when carnival cat racks were hand-painted and each one had its own unique personality? This tier of hand-painted canvas knockdown dolls from a vintage cat rack, also known as a doll or punk rack, will be on the auction block this weekend at Slotin Folk Art. The rack measures 74″ long x 5″ deep x 14″ high and is hinged. The pre-sale estimate is $1,000-2,000. It’s rare to find a whole row of ‘em, since the majority of vintage games that have survived are broken up and sold piecemeal to collectors.

In 2009, ATZ wrote about an auction of a complete cat rack as well as a duck pond, stick joints and all, which belonged to an old-timer whose father had been in the business forever. The seller tried to preserve these pieces of Vermont fair history and offered the games in their entirety for many months on eBay, but no buyers came forward. The dolls were (and some of them still are) being sold separately for $150-$175 and the antique stick joint is now available for a mere $249!

dolls

Carnival Knockdown Dolls. Slotin Folk Art Who's Who in Folk Art Auction. November 12, 2011

The rack of nine carnival cats in Saturday’s Slotin Folk Art Auction is from the collection of George and Sue Viener, who own the Outsider Folk Art Gallery in Reading, Pennyslvania. The couple were introduced to the world of Outsider Folk Art and Americana in 1970 during a visit to the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Museum in Williamsburg, Virginia. Viener told ATZ that he acquired the carnival doll rack a couple of years ago from a dealer in Pennsylvania. The dolls are decorated on both sides and each one is unique, unlike the standardized cat rack manufactured today. The row of dolls tips slightly forward, says Viener, which he theorized made it more difficult for players to knock them down and win the game.

dolls

Carnival Knockdown Dolls. Slotin Folk Art Who's Who in Folk Art Auction. November 12, 2011

The cat rack has already attracted online bidders and will be sold at Slotin Folk Art’s “Who’s Who in Folk Art Auction” on November 12. A larger, 21-inch tall carnival cat from the Viener Collection is also up for bid. The two-day folk art auction consists of over 1,000 lots, with the first day devoted to the Viener Collection. The live auction will be held at Historic Buford Hall in Buford, Georgia. Absentee, phone and online bidding are also available on auction days.

Carnival Knockdown Dolls. Slotin Folk Art Who's Who in Folk Art Auction. November 12, 2011

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November 4, 2011: Up for Auction: Ringling Bros Circus Side Show Poster

September 28, 2011: Rare & Vintage: Auction of French Fairground Art

February 5, 2010: Happy Belated Birthday to Coney Island’s William F Mangels

November 5, 2009: Museum Piece or Obsolete? Old Carnival Games, Stick Joints on eBay

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