NEW HAMBURG, Ontario, Canada – The Chevrolet brand will take center stage in an online-only Automobiles, Advertising & Toys auction planned for Saturday, December 3rd by Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd., as a 1963 Corvette ‘split window’ coupe and a Chevrolet “Super Service” dealer neon sign are the expected top lots. The auction will begin promptly at 9 am Eastern time.
All 241 lots in the sale are from the lifetime collection of the late Gary Archer, a renowned yet obscure collector who aggressively sought out gas pumps, petroliana advertising, automobilia, soda signs and toys, but who rarely parted with anything. “Anyone who knew Gary will tell you the same thing: nothing was ever for sale,” said Ethan Miller of Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd.
Mr. Miller added, “When I stepped down into Gary’s basement for the first time my jaw dropped. I saw the Chevrolet dealer sign and so many others. Nobody knew of this collection. This auction represents the best of everything he ever purchased, in one sale. The split-window ’63 Corvette had been stored in the same place since 1983. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Auto buffs are familiar with the ’63 ‘split-window’ as one of the most rare and coveted Corvettes out there. Mr. Archer imported his from the U.S. in 1983 and stored it away as an investment in a dry, heated garage. Prior to that, the car received a cosmetic restoration that included a color change from saddle tan to red and an interior update that included new seat covers and carpets.
The non-running, non-tested circa 1970 350 c.i. engine is a replacement. The car was one of 278 produced with air-conditioning; one of 629 with full tinted glass; and one of 3,742 with power windows. It retains the original Powerglide automatic transmission and period-correct knockoffs by Kelsey-Hayes. The car is expected to bring $40,000-$60,000.
All estimates quoted are in Canadian dollars.
The Chevrolet “Super Service” dealer neon sign, made in America in the 1940s, is single-sided porcelain and measures an impressive 42 inches by 49 inches. It’s marked to the lower edge, “Walker & Co., Detroit.” It does have some minor porcelain loss and a light uniform chalkiness creating a dull sheen, but is still expected to fetch $12,000-$15,000.
A Supertest (“Canada’s All-Canadian Company”) 1940s double-sided porcelain service station sign, round and 5 feet in diameter and in the original ring, marked “P & M Orillia”, is expected to realize $7,000-$9,000; while a larger Supertest double-sided porcelain sign, also round, 6 feet in diameter and made in the 1950s, in the original aluminum ring with hangers, with only minor porcelain loss, should hit $5,000-$7,000.
A Red Indian (“Gasoline / Motor Oils”) 5-foot single-sided porcelain sign (Canadian, 1930s), marked “The W. F. Vilas Co. Limited, Cowansville, P.Q.”, is expected to gavel for $6,000-$8,000. Also, A Chrysler Plymouth (“Approved Service / Fargo”) double-sided porcelain dealer sign, 44 ½ inches by 41 ½ inches, should reach $4,000-$6,000.
A Bennett Model 541 Fina gasoline pump (Canadian, 1940s), made from presses steel and tagged, “SSE Bennett ECO Service Station Equipment Co. Ltd.”, 73 inches tall and wearing in-service Fina colors ad decals, has an estimate of $3,000-$5,000. Also, a British American (“B/A”) double-sided porcelain sign (Canadian, 1954), 66 inches in diameter and marked “P&M Orillia 54” lower edge, is expected to make $3,000-$4,000.
A round White Rose double-sided porcelain service station sign with very good color and gloss (Canadian, 1940s), in a steel frame, 48 inches in diameter, should finish at $2,500-$3,500; while a Georges Carette & Co. #50 lithographed tin toy car (French, 1910s), with original painted driver and passengers, removable headlamps and luggage rack, original wheels and rubber, mechanically functioning, has a pre-sale estimate of $2,500-$3,500.
An Indian Motorcycle prismatic sign, made in America in the 1940s (“Genuine Indian Accessories / The Complete Quality Line”), celluloid over embossed tin backed with cardboard, rare, 11 ¾ inches by 6 ¾ inches, should ring up $2,000-$3,000. Also, a McColl-Frontenac double-sided porcelain sign (Canadian, 1930s), 20 inches by 13 inches (“Authorized Charge Accounts Honored Here”), is expected to achieve $2,500-$3,000.
An Orange-Crush single-sided lithographed tin sign (American, 1948), 16 ¾ inches by 46 ½ inches, embossed (“Feel Fresh! Drink Orange-Crush Carbonated Beverage”), marked “B-942 Made in U.S.A. Stout 10-48”, should rise to $2,000-$2,500; and a Ford Agency (“The Universal Car”) double-sided porcelain winged pyramid sign (Canadian, circa 1912-1917), with some porcelain losses, carries a pre-sale estimate of $2,000-$2,500.
This is an online-only event, but bidders can tune in to the live webcast on auction day to watch lots close in real time. Internet bidding will be through www.MillerandMillerAuctions.com, plus LiveAuctioneers.com. Phone and absentee bids will be accepted. Here is a link to the auction: https://live.millerandmillerauctions.com/auctions/4-7BEENH/automobiles-advertising-toys-the-gary-archer-collection.
Live, in-gallery previews will be held Nov. 30 and Dec. 1-2, from 12 o’clock noon until 5 pm each day in the Miller & Miller showroom, at 59 Webster Street in New Hamburg, Ontario. This auction concludes Miller & Miller’s calendar of events for 2022. Next year, it will come out strong with an online-only Advertising & Historic Objects sale on Saturday, January 21st, and a Canadiana & Folk Art auction on Saturday, February 11th. Watch the website for more details.
Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. is Canada’s trusted seller of high-value collections and is always accepting quality consignments. The firm specializes in watches and jewelry, art, antiques and high-value collectibles. Its mission is to provide collectors with a trusted place to buy and sell.
Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd.
59 Webster Street
New Hamburg, Canada