Coin-Op And Advertising Sale Rings Up Strong Total For Potter & Potter

Signature Summer Event Featured A Full Range Of Arcade, Vending, And Gambling Machines, As Well As Vintage Advertising

September 18, 2020

Potter and Potter Auctions' recent coin-op and advertising sale caught the attention, and the bids, from collectors across the globe. When the hammer fell for the last time, 89 lots realized between $750-$1,499; 35 lots scored $1,500-$5,999; and four lots made $6,000-plus. Prices noted include the company's 20-percent buyer's premium.
Gambling related merchandise was a sure bet in this sale and generated the most impressive results. The top lot in the sale was a large and impressive mid-20th-century neon sign from Reno’s Nevada Club casino. The sign more than tripled its low estimate, making $16,800. Its red, blue, and cream lettering spelled out “Nevada Club / Gaming – Bar – Fine Food.”
Over 900 obsolete Harrah’s casino chips realized $4,320. Originally estimated at $1,000-$2,000, this collection was housed in an original, heavy locking brass tray with gilt lettering on its glass.
Rare antique to vintage coin-op machines of all types took several top lot slots at this event. A ca. 1903 Mills Novelty Company five-cent punching bag/boxing strength test arcade machine flexed its muscles at $8,400. Estimated at $3,500-$4,500, this handsomely restored machine lowered a punching bag, and a dial measured the force of the user's strike.
A ca. 1940 Shoot Hitler countertop trade stimulator and gumball vendor made by the Paul Bennet Company shot to $6,600 on its $1,500-$2,000 presale estimate. This device would reward players with a piece of chewing gum or penny, depending on their aim. This may be a record price for this type of machine. A National Vending Black Diamond gum vending machine in original, unrestored condition traded hands at $6,000. This working example had a wooden case with advertising as well as windows to allow product viewing. A ca. 1970s Williams “Ringer” Horseshoe electromechanical arcade game got lucky at $1,800, nine times its low estimate. This coin-op game had players spin a wheel to toss horseshoes and score points based on the skill of their throws.
Signage and posters promoting products, venues, and public service campaigns from yesteryear generated strong interest and results at this sale. A double-sided porcelain Seaside Gasoline sign delivered $4,320, more than twice its low estimate. This tri-colored, triangular sign was illustrated with a gull and ocean waves. A ca. 1910 Pinch Hit Chewing Tobacco tin sign sold for $1,440 on its $100-$200 presale estimate. Made by Ohio Art Co., this example featured a central image of a baseball player and a large embossed image of a pack of tobacco. A painted black and yellow steel “For Amusement Only” attraction sign, realized $720 on its $100-$200 presale estimate, and a WWI era poster asking soldiers to keep clean, traded hands at $600. It was illustrated by Polish artist Wladyslaw Benda.
Also providing refreshing results was a collection of advertising materials related to soft drinks. A fully restored and working Vendo Model 23 Coke machine with a porcelain drinking fountain, realized $5,520. This rare model included Coke bottles in its cooler. A 1930s aluminum pretzel bowl decorated with three cast Coke bottles at its perimeter, soared to $1,020 on its $150-$300 presale estimate, and a ca. 1950s Royal Crown Cola working electric wall clock with a bubble glass face, was estimated at $200-$300 and made $1,140.
This signature sale rounded out with premier selections of automata, ephemera, and other curious items. A ca. 1864 Phenakistoscope “The Magic Wheel” viewer made by J. Bradbury of New York, spun to $3,120. This wood and brass handled device included 18 lithographic discs depicting people in motion with musical instruments, acrobats, dancers, and various others. A vintage working two-bird model singing automaton housed in a brass cage delivered $1,320, six times its low estimate. A box of ca. 200 Mutoscope (an early motion picture viewing device) vending cards featuring performers of the 1960s, sold for $540 on its $60-$90 preauction estimate. Headliners included “The Beatles,” “Elvis Presley,” “Barbara Streisand,” “The Four Seasons,” “Johnny Cash,” and “The Rolling Stones,” among others.
“We were pleased at spirited bidding across the board in our annual coin-op and advertising sale. The casino memorabilia was especially attractive to bidders who remember the days of Harold's Club and Harrah's in Reno, resulting in competitive bidding on nearly every lot from these gambling halls we offered. We're already making plans for our next sale and are on the hunt for consignments," stated Gabe Fajuri, president at Potter & Potter Auctions.
Potter & Potter, founded in 2007, is a Chicago area auction house specializing in paper Americana, vintage advertising, rare books, playing cards, gambling memorabilia, posters, fine prints, vintage toys, and magicana - antiques and collectibles related to magic and magicians.
To learn more, call 773-472-1442.


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