|By Karin Milliman
FLINT, Mich. — Harris Brothers Auction Company held their annual fall spectacular auction in mid-October; the auction content lived up to the advertising since many of the pieces offered were best described as “spectacular.” These were pieces collected from a very impressive estate, with just a few added items to make the auction an event not to miss.
The auction boasted advertising pieces, jewelry and watches, toys and several notable pieces of fine silver as well as vintage guns and displays of all kinds.
A familiar Shell sign from the 1940s and 1950s was one of the many advertising pieces offered at the event; its giant bright yellow shell-shaped piece measured 48” by 48” and was all original. In excellent condition, the crowd got excited when it finally came on the auction block. The ladies leaned forward to hear and the gentlemen made sure they had their bidder cards in their hands. The huge double-sided porcelain sign brought a high bid of $2,000.
Some other Shell items attracted their fair share of attention. An antique Shell Oil glass bottle cabinet still holding 10 of the original 12 bottles also crossed the auction block. The clear glass quart bottles are hard to find on their own, but to find this many in the oil station display rack is unusual. It took a bid of $550 to own this historical relic.
A dated 1857 Shell Motor Oil X-100 gas pump top spinner came complete with the original paper instructions. The top spinning metal display rack garnered its share of interest and the final bid price was the same as the oil bottles and carrier: $550.
A grouping of a variety of antique oilcans also sold. These were also all Shell and sold for a final price of $100 for all six cans.
A vintage Shell sign also caught some of the bidders’ eyes. This vintage sign, dated 1972, said “Private Property” and was marked “Shell Oil Company.” It was an all metal sign and sold for $145.
A rare set of Shell Oil doorknobs and two rare oil bottle caps were sold as one unit. The porcelain doorknobs were white and had “Shell” engraved into them. They were more than likely bathroom doorknobs. The trio sold for a bid of $135.
Some of the silver items that were sold seemed to surprise a few of the bidders who weren’t into the silver collecting. But silver is up right now on the market and hopefully will continue to climb, so these items brought some impressive prices. An etched antique sterling silver serving tray weighing 890 grams sold for the final bid price of $385.
A lot of two unique Cartier sterling silver figural animals depicting a bear and a bull that weighed in at 120 grams, but their tiny size didn’t keep the price from rising. The final bid price was $180 on this cute pair.
A sterling silver presentation award tray marked United States Army sold for $350.
An Emilia Castille sterling silver cocktail shaker that weighed in at 890 grams sold for $350. A second cocktail shaker of the same sterling silver went for a high bid of $475. Another piece that weighed in close to the 900 grams was a detailed sterling silver water pitcher that sold for $400.
A pair of silver candlesticks enticed excited bidding; the final bid ended at $900 for the pair.
An unusual antique sterling silver trophy from the 1789 Whigsboro Fox hunt sold for $950.
Moving away from the silver, Auctioneer Harris announced that he would be selling a selection of pistols and rifles. He said that any firearm before 1898 needed no paperwork, but for all the others, all the legal documents would be done in-house at no extra charge.
With that being said, the guns began to cross the auction block. A new-old-stock American tactical OMNI hybrid AR-15 .223 rifle still mint in the original box went for a final sale price of $350. Selling for the same bid was a Remington model 700 heavy barrel 308 bolt with a Nikon ProStaff scope attached. It went to a proxy bid.
A Smith and Wesson M&P bodyguard 380 complete with a crimson trace laser sight sold for a respectful $300. In excellent condition, a Winchester model 1897 take- down 12-gauge pump sold for $350. Also in excellent condition, a Savage Model 99E 300 lever action with a Tasco Golden Antler scope realized a final bid of $325.
Sitting in its own custom wooden case, a Remington 141 Gamemaster .30 caliber take down pump with case sold for $550.
A beautiful U.S. Springfield Armory 03-A3-06 bolt action rifle perked up some of the bidders. This piece sold for the high bid of $600.
Working into the toy category, perhaps the most interesting piece was a homemade child’s wooden pedal car. This early antique folk art piece had that great 1920s look about it. The black and red paint appeared original. It rose to $110 before it was marked sold.
A cast metal Goodyear blimp air dock still bank from the 1930’s sold for $90. A pair of antique Los Angeles blimp glass candy containers ended at $95 for the pair.
A toy Yoyo made from Gorham sterling silver brought a high bid of $60.
An antique Metalcraft 26-inch Zeppelin metal kit from the 1930’s that had been meticulously assembled saw a high bid of $275.
A Steelcraft 25-inch Graf Zeppelin pressed steel pull toy dated to the 1930’s also crossed the auction block. This one found a phone bidder triumphant with a bid of $399. A tin wind-up toy from the 1920’s era also went up for bids. It was a Fontaine Fox Toonerville trolley car that brought a high bid of $205.
A General Motors proving ground helmet attracted more lookers than bidders. It was sold for the high bid of $100.
As part of the advertising pieces at this auction, a lollipop Coca-Cola sign in good condition that most likely stood at the entrance to a gas station in the 1950s boasted its original cast-iron base which had been repainted. The final sale price on the double-sided porcelain curb sign was $525.
But the true beauties in this auction turned out to be several watches. An antique 18K gold Waltham Riverside pocket watch sold for $575. A beautiful 14K gold Bulova Accutron wristwatch was pocketed away for $375, while a vintage 14K gold Gruen Curvex wristwatch with no band sold for $240.
A vintage 14K gold Timex electric waterproof wristwatch brought a bid of $220 while a vintage 14K gold Gruen Verithin precision wristwatch was sold for $200. A vintage Omega constellation chronometer wristwatch brought a high bid of $250.
The best piece in the watch category curiously had an unknown maker. This antique piece was 18 carat gold. It was an English key wind pocket watch and the bidding on this one kept rising. With in-house bidders, phone bidders, and internet bidders all competing against one another, this one was finally pronounced sold for $2,000.
And coming in a close second to that bid was a pocket watch that sold for $1,750. This one was from the early 1900s and was described by the auctioneer as an 18-carat gold CD Peacock 21 jewel pocket watch.
An antique English 18K gold key wind pocket watch, maker unknown, brought a high bid of $1,000.
Some other rather unusual items that warranted high bidding was a 1960s Jaeger-LeCoultre birds and roses table clock. This piece brought a high bid of $850.
An antique Thomas Edison GEM portable cylinder phonograph sold for $225.
A rare commemorative tray from 1897 was a depiction of Corbett and Fitzsimmons doing bare-knuckle boxing on a silver tray sold for $400.
This fall spectacular auction was put on by the Harris Brothers Auction company. They sell pieces on commission or will sell entire estates. They can be reached at 810-234-7100 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org