NEW HAMBURG, Ontario, Canada – A patinated bronze sculpture by Emile Louis Picault (French, 1860-1915), used as the mascot for the Ten-Mile Corinthian Automobile Championship of 1906 in Ormond Daytona Beach, Florida, having links to the origins of the Indianapolis 500, changed hands for $43,660 at an auction held December 8th by Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd.
The auction was held online and in Miller & Miller’s gallery located at 59 Webster Street in New Hamburg, Ontario. Up for bid was the Aarssen collection of automobilia, bronzes and Americana in a sale that saw 438 lots cross the auction block and gross $318,319 (all prices quoted are in Canadian dollars). More than 200 lots finished over high estimate, as did 70 of the 100 top lots.
The Picault bronze was the auction’s top earner. The monumental, 48-inch tall sculpture was commissioned in 1906 by George W. Young and was engraved with his name and the title, date and location of the race. It was also incised “E. Picault” lower right. An important American artifact both historically and decoratively, the piece was sold to a private museum in Michigan.
The Aarssen collection was a curated offering of automobile memorabilia, original advertising signs, fine contemporary furniture, bronzes, political memorabilia and more. “The results of the sale affirmed that there is a desire for high-end decorative arts, luxury goods and investment-grade nostalgia,” said Ben Lennox of Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. “Attendees were in awe.”
Lennox added, “Greg Aarssen had an eye, and nothing he collected was held back or squandered. This was Greg’s stuff, lock, stock and barrel – the trappings of a man with impeccable taste and a limitless budget. This amazing collection, offered without reserve, brought a deafening frenzy to the gallery. At certain points I could barely hear myself sell. There were hands up everywhere.”
Following are additional highlights from the auction, which attracted approximately 125 people in-person to the gallery. Online bidding was brisk, via Invaluable.com (1,060 bidders, of which 133 were absentee), LiveAuctioneers.com (243 bidders), and the Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. website (www.MillerandMillerAuctions.com). Telephone and absentee bids were also accepted.
A Flying “A” Service raised porcelain gas station sign, 48 inches by 58 inches, with just some scattered surface chips, climbed to $7,000; while a 1930s-era Canadian Goodyear Tires Selected Dealers porcelain sign, 71 inches by 24 inches, with no touch-ups or restoration, made $3,450.
A contemporary European chandelier with David Michael crafted fixtures formed from hand-sculpted molds (used once for bronze casting and then discarded), plus shades made from genuine alabaster stone, 36 inches by 31 inches, illuminated the room for $5,462. And in the toys and trains category, a Lionel Train Mickey Mouse Circus Set – a complete, boxed example and a highly coveted Walt Disney collectible, showing only minimal wear – changed hands for $3,300.
Four car-themed bronze sculptures by former General Motors designer and sculptor Alexander Buchan, each one presented on a custom-crafted oak pedestal, were sold as single lots, with heights ranging from 14-25 inches. The sculptures were titled Riding the Rail ($5,015); Beyond Expectations (also $5,015); Sunday Drive ($3,450); and The Fastest Man on Earth ($4,600).
Surprises included lots 114 and 115 – early German tin lithographed wind-up skier toys made by Lehmann in the 1920s. Both toys stood five inches tall and were in working condition, with only minor soil and wear. One skier sped away for $4,800; the other found a new owner for $3,300.
Louis Vuitton travel accessories are always a big hit with collectors. Offered was an Alzer “80” Anglais model gentlemen’s suitcase with identification tag, unused, with factory film covering all the original brass and a paper-wrapped handle ($5,400); and a Pegase Legare “55” model ladies’ travel bag presented with the original cover ($2,950). Both pieces were made in Paris.
A Liberator Cycles & Automobiles French poster, circa 1900, by Jean De Paleologue (French, 1860-1942), showing a Valkyrie warrior from Norse mythology, 46 inches by 61 ¼ inches in a gilt frame, finished at $3,162. Also, a 1964 Piaggio Vespa “90” Scooter with just 10,126 original miles on the odometer and in fine shape save for minor paint touch-ups to the fender, hit $4,312.
A Bennett Flying “A” model 646 gas pump, made in America in the 1940s, nicely restored and featuring acrylic ad “glass”, reproduction plates and original dials with minor touch-ups, 28 inches tall, brought $4,600. Also, a Bennett Texaco gas pump, also made in America in the ‘40s, impressive at 90 inches tall by 22 inches wide and fully restored and lighted, fetched $4,025.
A number of framed original posters and prints sold very strong, based on the care taken in framing and displaying these iconic images. Examples included a massive Fangio racing poster by Titanus, looking crisp and clean in a 60 inch by 45 ½ inch frame ($1,610); and an original chromolithographic French poster produced in Paris around 1920, M. Bec-Kina, with art by Michel Liebeaux (French, 1881-1923), having bold colors, 51 inches by 67 ½ inches ($2,185).
Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. is a seller of high-value collections between $200,000 and $3 million. Individual items of merit are always considered. It is Canada’s trusted place for collectors to buy and sell. The firm’s next big event is a Canadian & Historic Objects Auction planned for Saturday, February 9th, online and in the gallery. Consignments accepted thru Jan. 2.
To consign a single piece, an estate or a collection, you may call them at (519) 573-3710 or (519) 716-5606; or, you can send an e-mail to email@example.com. To learn more about Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. and the Feb. 9th auction visit www.MillerandMillerAuctions.com.
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59 Webster Street
New Hamburg, Canada