Rare, 1937 Rockola World Series coin-op leads Fine Estate, Inc.'s Spring Auction

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Rare, 1937 Rockola World Series coin-op leads Fine Estate, Inc.'s Spring Auction
Rockola Rock-Ola 1937 World Series Baseball Arcade Game.

SAN RAFAEL, CA.- A fully-working, 1937 Rockola Rock-Ola 1937 World Series Baseball Arcade Game took top lot honors in Fine Estate, Inc.’s March 21 auction, soaring past expectations to sell for $34,375, more than three times expectations. The coin-op collector favorite, rarely seen at auction in near mint condition, was just one of the high-end lots of sports and Americana memorabilia to dominate the auction’s nearly 300 lots.

“We were really pleased to see strong bids for a single-owner collection of Americana, including rare pinback buttons,” said Martin Codina, owner of Fine Estate, Inc. “High-end sports memorabilia performed especially well and we were delighted to bring these rarities to market for our clients.”

A crisply-signed Spalding “King of the Diamond” ball autographed by both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig – a collector’s dream acquisition – sold for $17,500. The ball features steel tipped fountain pen signatures and is a strong example of a ball of this type. A stunning example of a Ted Williams H&B Game-Used Bat sold for $17,500, against a $6,000 estimate.

A unique framed display of bats featuring Babe Ruth, Jimmy Foxx, and Mel Ott, which hasn’t seen the auction block in years, ended at $8,125. The first is a Louisville Slugger Babe Ruth 40 B.R. baseball bat, a Louisville Slugger Jimmie Foxx 40 J.F. baseball bat, and a Mel Ott Rawlings brand Mel Ott Model baseball bat. All three are accompanied by clipped signatures and a check signed by Ruth.


A rare selection of women’s suffrage memorabilia capped off an exemplary, single-owner collection. An early purple-hued “Votes for Women” suffrage cloth sash sold for $9,375 after 43 bids. A second purple-hued sash, sporting a patriotic bow, brought $8,125, 16 times its pre-auction estimate. A near-mint yellow and white sash sold for $6,875, against a $500 estimate.

Leading single pinback buttons and curated groups was a rare and vibrant button depicting the Ku Klux Klan. The 9-inch button was offered as a single lot with two Klan tokens and sold for $4,062, blowing its $500 pre-auction estimate out of the water. An instant collection of 80 early socialist political pinbacks ended at $3,750. Three additional lots of pinbacks and political ribbons outperformed: A group of 75 Lyndon Johnson presidential campaign memorabilia sold for $3,437, a group of 94 Black Panther-themed pinbacks, spanning the 1960s-70s, also sold for $3,437 and a grouping of memorabilia relating to Father Coughlin, which featured a rare 9-inch button, also ended at $3,437, against a $400 estimate.

“This single-owner collection was carefully curated over decades,” Codina said. “There was much pre-auction chatter among collectors, particularly about the stunning condition of the collection.”

Additional highlights include:

• A total of 16 bids drove the auction price of a 1938 Babe Ruth-signed baseball to $5,312

• A wonderful Wurlitzer 1015 Bubbler 78rpm jukebox, sporting plenty of eye-appeal, sold for $4,687

• An unusual group of 1920s-30s Labor Defender Labor Herald Newspapers, the group offering 56 unique editions, sold for a surprising $1,750, against a $300 estimate.

Fine Estate, Inc.’s is seeking consignments for its next auction, which will be announced shortly. Each auction offers worldwide bidding.

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