FULL-SCALE CLASSIC VEHICLES, MODELS LEAD HERITAGE’S FIRST AUTOMOBILIA, TRANSPORT HISTORY & MECHANICAL MODELS AUCTION
In its inaugural Automobilia, Transport History and Mechanical Models Online Auction, Heritage Auctions is presenting every corner of the hobby, from a fully working, 1920 Ahrens-Fox Fire Pumping Engine to mechanical models and scarce toys.
It’s a fresh and growing category at Heritage and the Oct. 23 event proves to be a winner right at the starting line, says Nick Dawes, senior vice president of special collections, New York. “This is a new category for us and one we can expand on,” Dawes says. “We’re offering the finest selection of metal motoring mascots ever offered at auction, not to mention three incredible full-size trucks and unique early motor racing trophies. There’s a whole lot of cool here.”
Leading the selection is a 24-foot long, full-scale Ahrens-Fox Fire Pumping Engine. It’s expected to fetch at least $60,000. The Ahrens-Fox fire truck was originally ordered by the Minneapolis City Fire Department in 1920. There’s no way of knowing how many lives or how much property the truck has helped to save over the years, but there is a powerful presence to the vehicle. This historic Ahrens-Fox is being offered for sale with a full complement of hoses, ladders and firefighting accessories of the period.
An award-winning, full-scale Mack Model AC Bulldog Prime Mover, circa 1926-27, is a faithful restoration of the original, featuring a chain drive, dismountable dual rear wheels and tires and a Factory C cab. It’s expected to sell for at least $25,000.
Of special interest to vehicle and toy collectors alike is a 1923 full-scale International Harvester Huckster Truck (estimated at between $25,000 and $35,000). The fully restored truck is the original inspiration for the highly collectible Buddy “L” pressed steel toys of the late 1920s, a fine selection of which appear in this sale.
Among the early motoring trophies is a unique 1913 Tacoma Automobile Club Trophy Stutz Blackhawk award trophy. The trophy is accompanied by a published image of the James Parsons Stutz Bearcat 7 at the race ($10,000-$15,000).
Scarcely seen at auction is a vintage hand-built live-steam model of an American La France fire pumper ($12,000-$16,000), which makes an ideal centerpiece for any serious collection.
The sale expands upon the automobile theme in a unique selection of original art and related memorabilia. An important and striking Bell Telephone Company advertising painting, commissioned to promote the telephone as a necessary safety device, is a rare find with much crossover collector appeal. “We take it for granted to call 911, and Bell used that image to promote the company as a way a saving lives, which it did,” Dawes says.
The Telephone Gives Instant Alarms Original Advertising Art ($30,000-$50,000) depicts a fire steam engine pulled by a team of horses, roaring down a city street on the way to a fire. The painting, by prominent early 20th century Philadelphia artist George Gibbs, was reproduced on millions of Bell postcards. The illustration is well-known among telephony enthusiasts and has been widely shown throughout America.
Automobile toy enthusiasts will find an extremely rare Packard Limousine toy automobile by the Hubley Manufacturing Company ($2,000-$3,000). The Hubley Packard was made in Lancaster, Pa., circa 1930, and is an important American cast iron automotive toy. This excellent example is all original and complete in the red livery that is the rarest Hubley made.
Additional toy offerings include an American painted tin horse-drawn Carriage Toy, circa 1880 ($4,000-$6,000), and a selection of cast iron and pressed steel toys. A maritime history section includes a Victorian Pond Yacht, an outstanding piece which harkens back to a time when the hobby was the pastime of choice for boys ($1,500-$2,500).
Also offered are more than 40 important selections of metal motoring mascots, led by an extraordinary Austrian nickel-silvered bronze Angel of Victory mascot, circa 1925 ($4,000-$5,000), by artist Franz Bergman.
Bidding is scheduled to open on Oct. 2.