A 40-year collection of jukeboxes, speakers, trade stimulators and slot machines head to auction
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A 40-year collection of jukeboxes, speakers, trade stimulators and slot machines head to auction
Wurlitzer model 950 jukebox, perhaps the rarest and most desirable of all the Wurlitzers.

MACON, GA.- No stranger to multi-day monster auctions, Preston Opportunities is having a doozie on Labor Day weekend – Saturday and Sunday, September 3rd and 4th – at the former Mercy Grove Church building at 8964 Thomaston Road in Macon, at 9:30 am Eastern both days. Online bidding will be on Saturday thru LiveAuctioneers.com. Live bidding only on Sunday.

Headlining the event will be items gathered over the course of four decades – mostly rare and highly desirable jukeboxes, speakers, arcade games, slot machines and trade stimulators – from a collector who was a longtime friend of Preston Evans, the owner of Preston Opportunities. Per an agreement between the two made 30 years ago, Mr. Evans was able to acquire the collection.

Now, all of it will come up for bid over the two days. “A collection of this caliber could have only originated from an avid collector,” Mr. Evans said. “The owner acquired these fine pieces, one by one, resulting in one of the most superb collections in the country. These beautiful and elegant machines speak for themselves. This sale, over 600 lots, is truly a connoisseur’s dream.”

There are thirteen vintage Wurlitzer jukeboxes (all playing 78 rpm records) that collectors covet, and this auction has many of them, all beautiful and in excellent condition. They include not one but two Peacock 850 models, a 950, an 800, a 1015, a 750, a 1080, a 780, an 1100 and a 1943 Victory jukebox. Wurlitzers that play 45 rpm discs will include a One More Time jukebox.

Speakers that are rare are often more valuable than the jukeboxes that power them. Up for bid will be a 41 model (with beautiful plastics, in excellent condition), a 61 model; a 4009 model (one of only 1,000 produced); a wall-hanging 4008 model; a 4031 model (similar to one that sold for $40,000 in one of Mr. Evans’s prior sales); and some small speakers that are now all the rage.

The slot machines in the auction are absolutely gorgeous. Examples include two Mills 10-cent Black Cherry machines plus others by Mills; a Jennings ‘Little Duke’ slot; a Golden Nugget slot; and machines by Pace and Sphinx. Some are called jukeboxes because they pay out money; others (like ‘The Tourist’) pays out in prizes. The cigarette machine slots pay out in cigarettes.

There are about eighteen gorgeous 1930s-era Catalan tube radios in the auction, including a rare ‘Skyscraper’ model in which the radio is played behind the scenes by an operator. The toys category includes collectible cast-iron banks and a U-Turn Caterpillar toy bulldozer. Other group items include lawn jockeys, car and train collectibles, drugstore items and aluminum cannisters.

Mr. Evans was fortunate enough to score some items from the now-defunct Enrico Caruso Museum in Brooklyn, N.Y., thanks to his friendship with the former owner. These include sheet music, records and music boxes (“anything to do with Caruso, this sale has,” he said). Speaking of Edison, also sold will be a very early coin-operated Edison phonograph called a hexaphone.

“I realize I’m taking a bit of a risk holding this sale when I am, with inflation soaring and the economy the way it is right now,” Mr. Evans said, “but I believe people should do with their money what they love best. Many of the items in this auction are investments as art, and I am describing them that way. These investment-quality pieces of art will stand the test of time.”

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