|By Eric C. Rodenberg
VALPARAISO, Ind. – The 42nd Anniversary Antique and Collectible Auction – seven days of auctions spread over three consecutive weekends – is a milestone for Kraft Auction Service of northern Indiana; and could serve as a real indicator of the health of the auction market.
The event generated $3.8 million in sales, a new high-mark for a Kraft Anniversary event. “Our goal, this year, was $3 million in sales,” Jonathan Kraft, owner and lead auctioneer, said. “I’m really happy with the sale, prices were good, I think, everyone was well pleased.”
The unique blend of antique and vintage autos, motorcycles, antiques and collectibles brought out more than 20,000 bidders from across the world. “We had one guy actually fly from England to buy a glass globe,” Kraft said. “He got his glass globe. We’re now packaging up all the gas pumps he also bought at the sale.”
The star of the third (and final) Jan. 26-27 sale was an 1899 Mills Duplex 5-cent upright slot machine at $77,500. The 70-inch tall machine, with heavily carved ornate designs, copper accents and claw feet, was sold to an online Netherlands bidder over two competing phone bidders.
A Chicago bidder also paid a pretty handsome price of $42,500 for a 1901 Caille Brothers Co. cabinet slot machine. The upright “Black Cat” Caille machine measured 68- inches tall.
All quoted prices are hammer prices and do not include buyer’s premiums and other fees.
The top selling auto was a 1966 Ford Fairlane 500 427 Tribute bought by a California bidder for $42,500. The car, with 64,000 original miles, was completely restored in 2009. It packed a 1969 428-stroked 465 cubic inches, generating 500 horsepower. Appraised at $75,000, the car had only been driven 7,000 miles in the last nine years, according to the consigner.
Much of the sale’s success – and good sales numbers – was the addition of the estate of Leigh M. Korthals from Wisconsin. Korthals, a bachelor and 30-plus year General Motors employee, was an avid collector of 1930s Model As, and ultimately, many other things. Korthals died in 2017 at the age of 74.
“He was a great collector … almost a hoarder,” Kraft said of Korthals, who was a member of Model A clubs in both Rockford and Madison, Wis.
Many of the cars sold at the sale came from Korthals’ collection.
The choice of cars was broad enough to attract much interest in car circles. Among those sold was a 1949 Custom Woodie Station Wagon (one of 850 reportedly built in 1949 with as few as 12 extant, which sold for $35,000.)
Other cars sold included: A 1932 Ford Deluxe V8 Roadster, $36,000; 1970 Dodge Coronet R/T, $31,000; 1928 Jordan Playboy Roadster, $29,000; 2011 Cadillac Hybrid Escalade Platinum SUV, $25,000; 1932 Ford 5-window coupe, $24,000; and a 1935 MG PA Roadster, $20,0000.
Kraft said a “well-known female celebrity” bought a 1971 Volkswagen Microbus for the hammer price of $13,500, adding the vehicle is going to California.
Another unique piece – Is It Art; Or Machine? – was the 2005 Redneck “Art Attack” custom cycle, built by Russ Hess of Cowboy Custom Bikes. The fully functioning motorcycle (there’s no speedometer/odometer on the bike; however, the consigner claimed it had been ridden less than 1,000 miles) has an interesting twist to its title and provenance. It spent at least 8 months as an art exhibit for the Eiteljorg-Museum of Western Artifacts in Indianapolis, Ind.
It took Hess more than nine months to build the custom motorcycle. In silverwork, there are more than 800 hours of work clamed for the placement of 47 pieces of engraved silver overlay, featuring 115 gold flowers and rubies.
The motorcycle, featured in numerous national and international publications, sold for $30,000.
Despite the success, auctioneer and business owner Kraft believes he may condense the sale to a two-weekend event. “I think we lost some cross-over interest when we went to a three-week event,” he says, adding “that’s not to take away from a very successful sale.”
Contact: (219) 973-9240