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Coney Island shooting gallery target

Cast Iron Paratrooper Shooting Gallery Target. Made by W.F. Mangels Co., Coney Island, NY. Morphy Auctions

This rare and delightful cast iron shooting gallery target made by Coney Island’s William F. Mangels is on the auction block at Morphy Auctions. The April 20-21 sale is in central Pennsylvania with online bidding via Live Auctioneers.

The catalogue description says “Made by W.F. Mangels Co., Coney Island, New York. Professionally made mounting stand. Two piece casting. Minor crack on the head of the parachutist. Superb surface and paint. Rare carnival shooting target. Condition (Excellent). Size 18″ T. Estimate: $2,000 – $2,500.”

William F. Mangels, the Coney Island-based inventor of such early 20th century thrill rides as the Whip and the Tickler, also held the most patents on shooting gallery targets. From the early 1900s until 1969, well after other manufacturers had gone out of business, Mangels’ Coney Island shop turned out cast-iron and sheet-metal targets in the shape of birds and beasts, stars and moons, cowboys and Indians, and soldiers and paratroopers.

The target also evokes memories of riders on Coney Island’s landmark Parachute Jump, which closed in 1964. Originally designed by retired Naval commander James Hale Strong to train military paratroopers in the 1930s, parachute towers were modified into amusement attractions when civilians clamored to ride. Coney Island’s Parachute Jump first wowed visitors at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair. Afterwards, the ride became the star attraction at Steeplechase Park.

Update: The price realized for the target was $1,020.

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