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News Article  
Cars and collectibles catch big bids at Kraft
by Karin Milliman

VALPARAISO, IND. — The 41st Anniversary Auction for Kraft Auction Service, held Jan. 12-14, was one of extraordinary measure. Items ranging from high-end automobiles to World War II collectibles and framed art encompassed the three day, multi-ring auction. Topping the selling of automobiles was a 2005 Ford GT with a signed engine. With just one owner from its inception, it was purchased from Capitol City Ford in Indianapolis to be used as an everyday driver. The engine showed just 50,068 miles. The bidding was intense for this beauty with internet, phone and in-house bidders driving up the price. The final ownership went to a triumphant telephone bidder for an amazing $150,000. Other automobile prices realized were also impressive. A 1954 Chevrolet Corvette that had only two owners and was driven just one mile in 30 years was a survivor of that sad story where the owner went to war and never came back. Since its discovery in a barn, it had spent its entire life in a museum. With a new top and seat covers and 9,000 original miles, this showcase piece sold for $64,000. A 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible also earned a high bid. With a 327-cubic inch engine, this mostly original vehicle was sold to a bid on the floor for $41,000 to own this beauty. Selling for $47,500, a 1930 Lincoln Model L, five passenger Sport Phaeton was one of only 53 made. Restored in 1980 with a V-8 engine, this one had been showcased in the movie, God’s Little Acre. A 2007 Ford Shelby Mustang GT-H convertible was one of only 500 manufactured. Showing just 18,835 original miles, this real Shelby brought a respectable bid of $28,000. Auctioneer Jonathon Kraft told the crowd that the first car they ever sold at the very first anniversary auction was also a Ford Shelby Mustang GT-H. A 1923 Ford Track Roadster custom built with a 350 motor and transmission sold for the high bid of $21,500. This Kraft auction may be the only place one could purchase a 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser limousine. With 59,000 miles, this came complete with the television in the back. The bidding was slower on this automobile, but it brought a respectable bid of $8,500. A 1970 Pontiac GTO-Ram sporting air, a V-8 engine, and a four-speed transmission that had been scored at the National GTO with an impressive silver rating saw a final bid of $28,000. There was a large variety of “big boy” toys offered at this sale also. The top selling toy was a 1932 Hubley “Say it with Flowers” delivery motorcycle. It could not be verified that it was not a 1970 reproduction, but the bidders obviously thought it was original. The bidding kept climbing on this until it reached a high price of $10,500. It sold to a bidder on the internet, but he had lots of competition from the bidders in attendance. An Arcade cast iron van from 1929 from the private label Pennico Gas & Oil brought an impressive bid of $2,300. A King K boat-tail Packard pressed steel car still with the original shipping crate brought a high bid price of $1,800. A Buddy L lumber hauler truck still with its the original load and in great condition sold for $1,000. A Buddy L sand and gravel truck with a bed divider sold for $1,100.  Selling for $1,050 was a Buddy L tank line tanker truck that still had the original oil barrels. The oil barrels almost always got lost, so this one was a real win. A Smith Miller B Mack #1 searchlight truck also made a respectable show. With eight working searchlights on top, it took $1,000 to take home this impressive toy. Hubley got in on the action when a 1929-1933 manufactured road roller with a horizontal tank sold for $950. Other items offered for sale included a set of Franklin Mint centennial car silver bar collection with 200 ounces of silver sold for $3,800. An important group of Muhammad Ali’s personal items were offered for sale. Included was a napkin that Johnny Cash signed and wrote his phone number on, a deed to a house that Ali once owned, airline tickets in his name and some personal photos. These had been purchased from Ali’s first wife. They sold for a bid of $2,000 for the lot. A pair of large cloisonné urns on rosewood bases also crossed the auction block. The first one of these sold for $1,300 and the second brought a bid of $1,200. An incredible Cloisonné Imperial cart with a dragon was sold for $700. However, when the bidding started for a matched set of Chinese Cloisonné stork candleholders, the prices just kept climbing. These sold for $4,250 and $3,750, respectively. Some artwork also graced the walls of the auction house during this event. An Edouard Leon Cortes oil-on-canvas of Le Madeleine that showed his traditional pin hole mark that he used to authenticate his paintings saw a high bid of $11,000. A small James MacNeil Whistler oil-on-board garnered its share of bidders. This tiny harbor scene was protected inside a large showcase until it was taken out to be sold. This famous work had been owned by a gentleman who worked for the Art Institute and obtained this painting from them in the 1960s. The frame tag was from the same era and the framers work for the Smithsonian, so that helped to authenticate it. With the name MacNeil spelled with an “a”, this painting was from Europe. Americans leave out the “a” in the spelling. The final bid was $6,200. A waterfront scene painted in oil on canvas was signed Manoly and sold for $2,500. An Antoine Blanchard oil on canvas showing a Paris street scene brought a high bid of $4,000. A Chuck DeHaan oil on board titled Come Along Mama sold for $1,300. Still in the art category, but a very different medium, a bronze sculpture drew exceptional bidding. Called, The Runaways, a Ted Long sculpture of two horses saw a final bid of $3,750. This Kraft 41st anniversary auction was packed into a total of five rooms. With more than 4,000 lots to sell, there was a plethora of merchandise to see. The anniversary auctions with Kraft were started in 2006 to honor Colonel Conrad Kraft as he celebrated 30 years in the auction business. Today, three generations of Krafts help to keep track of this overwhelming sale. Running seven rings over three days, this is one of the biggest auctions in the auction industry. Located this year at the Porter County Expo Center in Valparaiso, Ind., this January 2018 auction promised and delivered lots of excitement There were five different internet bidding platforms with more than 13,000 bidders registered online with additional telephone and absentee bids. The in-house bidders had a chance to do some hands-on inspecting but the bidding was at times, intense, with the phone and proxy bidders. The venue for this auction for 2019 will be a new one as the Porter County Expo Center will be undergoing a huge renovation. Watch The Auction Exchange & Collectors News for next year’s anniversary auction. You can reach Kraft Auction Service at 219-973-9240 or