A 1923 Willards Chocolates Babe Ruth baseball card was a hit for $23,600 and a cutaway model of a 1962 Vickers VC-10 BOAC (later British Air) jet plane soared to $18,880 in an online-only Advertising & Historic Objects auction held January 21st by Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. Both lots blasted through their $2,000-$3,000 estimates.
All prices quoted are in Canadian dollars.
The Babe Ruth card, graded PSA 3 VG (Very Good), is an exceptional example of an early issue Ruth card from a rare Canadian-issued set. It featured a sepia-toned image of the Bambino at bat, with a facsimile signature. It is considered the most sought after card in the series and came out of the estate of collector William Audley Huck Caesar. It was also the top lot of the auction.
The cutaway model of a 1962 Vickers VC-10 BOAC jet plane was one of only two known and was made by Walkers Westway in England. The model is highly sought after by collectors for her beautiful lines and interesting history. The plane achieved a record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic by a subsonic jet airliner of 5 hours and 1 minute (later broken).
The 376-lot auction, officially titled Advertising & Historic Objects, was brimming with items in many collecting categories, to include advertising signs, banks, breweriana, bicycles, bottles, clocks, coin-ops, fruit jars, general store, historic objects, militaria, models, soda advertising and sports memorabilia something for just about everybody.
Collectors fought over key items, said Ethan Miller of Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. The variety of content made it an exciting auction to watch. There was no shortage of enthusiasm, with key pieces selling multiple times over the high estimate. Sixty-four percent of the top fifty lots exceeded estimate and one hundred percent of lots were sold.
Following are additional highlights from the auction, one in which all lots were offered without reserve and everything was sold to the highest bidder. Overall it grossed $369,163, with online bidding provided by MillerandMillerAuctions.com and LiveAuctioneers.com. Nearly 500 registered bidders placed a combined 8,546 bids. Prices include an 18 percent buyers premium.
A monumental Coca-Cola single-sided porcelain sign (Canadian, 1939), measuring seven feet wide by 45 inches tall, marked lower left edge "St. Thomas Metal Signs Ltd. 1939" and lower right edge "Made in Canada", rose to $9,440; while a Coca-Cola Vendo 44 vending machine (Canadian, 1950s), painted steel with chrome trim an all-original, true survivor example, with coin mechanism and interior bottle racks, 58 inches tall, made $5,310.
Fruit jars are always a big hit with collectors. A Beaver (Canadian) quart jar in a dark honey amber color, 7 inches tall, with an excellent factory ground lip, fetched $8,260; a Beaver left-facing midget pint jar with exceptional embossing and cooling marks at the termination of the thread, changed hands for $5,015; a Beehive (Canadian) midget pint jar, amethyst in color, showing only minor flakes to the lip, made $4,425; and a Hamilton Glass Works No. 1 clamp jar, aqua, 6 ¾ inches tall, in superb condition, reached $5,900.
Four items dating to the 1890s from Traders Bank of Canada a nickel-plated cast iron architectural bank (often given on loan to families to encourage savings), two pencils (one of them mechanical) and a framed banknote brought $7,080. Also, a Dr. Lesures Veterinary Remedies cabinet with a single-sided tin front door panel that shows a horses head in an oval, made in Coshocton, Ohio in the early 20th century, finished at $4,425.
A Wards Lime Crush syrup dispenser (American, 1920s), porcelain with a silver-plated pump, 14 inches tall, reached $5,605. Among the Wards syrup dispensers, the Lime version is known by collectors to be the most difficult to find. Another similar Wards syrup dispenser, this one for Orange Crush, also from the 1920s and porcelain with a silver plated pump, didnt fare as well ($4,425), possibly because the pump didnt work.
A Peabodys Overalls single-sided porcelain sign (Canadian, 1910s), 15 inches by 48 inches, a rare variation featuring the script Railroad King plus other differences from the more common version, found a new home for $5,310; while A De Laval Cream Separators single-sided tin sign (American, 1910s) in a marked gilt plaster, professionally regilded frame measuring 40 ½ inches by 29 ¾ inches, sold to a happy bidder for $5,310.
Rounding out this short list of top lots is an English 1884 Rudge 54-inch high-wheel bicycle in untouched original condition, serial # 1260, boasting a new Kirkpatrick-style saddle. It was expected to speed off for $4,000-$6,000 and in the end it settled at $4,425.
Next up for Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. is a Canadiana & Folk Art auction on Saturday, February 11th; a Petroliana & Advertising auction on Saturday, March 11th; a Canadiana & Decorative Arts auction on Saturday, March 25th; and the sale of the Jean-Marc and Danielle Belzile collection on Saturday, May 13th. All will be online-only.