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Miller & Miller's Mantiques! Gentleman's Collectibles auction sets Canadian price records
The top lot of the sale was this 1950 Plymouth Special Deluxe woody station wagon, an all-original car with a well restored finish and interior and 86,013 actual miles (CA$35,400).

NEW HAMBURG, ON.- Men, and the women who love them, turned out in full force September 15th for Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd.’s Mantiques! Gentleman’s Collectibles auction, held online and in Miller & Miller’s gallery at 59 Webster Street in New Hamburg. The auction was a one-stop shop for anyone looking to equip their man caves in style and fashion.

Offered were vintage advertising and signs, gas station collectibles, breweriana, firearms and knives, coin-ops, arcade games, vending machines, militaria, barristers’ office furniture, vintage autos, motorbikes and outboards. Over 125 people attended the event in person; more than 500 others registered to bid online, via Miller & Miller Live, and

“I’ve never seen such anticipation for an auction,” said Justin Miller of Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. “The energy in the room from the beginning of the sale was unmistakable and lasted for the entire auction. Many items were fresh to the market, unlocked from 30- and 40-year collections. The prices tell the story. Collectors were fighting to get what they wanted.”

Men do love their cars and, not surprisingly, the top lot of the sale was a vintage automobile: a 1950 Plymouth Special Deluxe woody station wagon, an all-original car with a well restored finish and interior and 86,013 actual miles (CA$35,400). Also, a 2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Dale Earnhardt, Sr. Limited Edition one-owner call, also in excellent shape, made CA$16,388.

Diversity was in evidence throughout the day. A Goodrich Tires Canadian Mountie porcelain sign from the 1930s, among Canada’s most highly coveted signs and one of the nicest unrestored examples known, brought CA$20,060; while an Art Deco bronze statue by McClelland Barclay (Am., 1891-1943), titled Spirit of Speed, 30 ½ inches tall with perfect patina, rose to CA$16,520.

“The market is alive and well for top-tier collectibles, or Mantiques, as we call them,” Mr. Miller said. “When condition and rarity intersect, you can see the result. Knowledgeable collectors and investors locked their eyes in bidding wars for rare pieces of advertising – like the Goodrich sign and the Buffalo Motor Oil tin. Final prices for rare pieces in fine condition exceeded estimates.”

Miller commented that quality vintage cameras by Leica sold strong, with spirited international interest, while pinball machines from the early 1990s (considered the golden era of the genre) continued their steady rise in value. The auction featured several. These included the following:

• A Twilight Zone pinball machine made by Bally, circa 1993, in excellent condition, mechanically tested, serviced and fully functioning, with great graphics (CA$9,440).

• An Addams Family pinball machine, also by Bally and in excellent condition, circa 1992, mechanically tested, serviced and fully functioning, with great graphics (CA$8,850).

• A “Minstrel Man” wooden rail pinball machine, made by Gottlieb & Co., circa 1951, in very good condition, mechanically tested, serviced and fully functioning (CA$3,835).

A coin-op “Donkey Bray” strength tester (U.S., circa 1930s), where the player pulls on the handles, the donkey’s eyes light up and he brays, and the harder he pulls the louder it brays, gaveled for CA$8,850; and an ‘Electricity is Life’ counter-top shocker, made in the U.S. circa 1900, where the user receives a good jolt when the machine is operated, commanded CA$3,600.

A bright and colorful Super-Shell Wayne 60-inch Art Deco clock face gas pump (U.S., circa 1930s), a pump that’s had an exceptional restoration throughout, changed hands for CA$6,037; while the aforementioned Buffalo Motor Oil half-gallon tin (Canadian, circa 1920s), with the original cap and spout and among the finest examples known, knocked down for CA$5,900.

A 20th century Kuntz “St. Bernard” tin litho beer tray (Waterloo, Ontario), an iconic piece of early Canadian breweriana, made and signed by Kaufmann & Strauss (N.Y.) fetched CA$5,463; and a 20th century Huether factory scene tin litho beer tray (Berlin, Ontario), quite rare, signed “Standard Adv Co Coshocton O(hio)” lower center, in very good condition, realized CA$4,425.

Things go better with Coke, as most men will tell you. A 1950s-era Coca-Cola porcelain flange sign made for the Canadian market and in near perfect condition, with brilliant color and gloss, fetched CA$5,015; and a Coca-Cola Vendo 44 metal vending machine, made in America in the 1950s, complete and meticulously restored, tested and fully functioning, gaveled for CA$3,737.

Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. has a pair of important upcoming auctions, both online and in the New Hamburg gallery. On Saturday, October 20th, the Ronson Fishing Lures Collection will be offered. Then, on Saturday, November 24th, a fine watches and jewelry sale will be conducted.

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