A Paces Races 5-cent horse race slot machine is top lot at Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. auction

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A Paces Races 5-cent horse race slot machine is top lot at Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. auction
The top lot of the auction was this Pace’s Races 5-cent horse race slot machine made in the United States in 1934, professionally restored mechanically and cosmetically (CA$29,212).

NEW HAMBURG, ON.- A Paces Races 5-cent horse race slot machine, made in Chicago in 1934, sold for $29,212 and a made-in-Canada Black Cat Cigarettes porcelain sign from the 1940s realized $10,516 in an online-only Advertising, Toys & Historic Objects auction held December 12th by Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd., headquartered in New Hamburg, Ontario.

All prices quoted are in Canadian dollars and are inclusive of an 18 percent buyer’s premium.

“The Paces Races slot machine blew us away,” said Ethan Miller of Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. “There’s only a handful known. This one was masterfully restored, both cosmetically and mechanically, and it worked flawlessly.” When the game of odds was introduced by Pace Manufacturing in the 1930s, it became the largest money-making machine of its kind.

The Black Cat Cigarettes porcelain sign, measuring 50 ½ inches by 48 inches, is widely seen as one of the most attractive porcelain signs in Canadian advertising history. A green-eyed black cat was shown with the statement, “They taste better”, with “Black Cat Cigarettes” in script beneath that. It was marked “St. Thomas Metal Signs” on the lower edge and only had minor blemishes.

The auction was packed with 712 lots of advertising signs, toys, breweriana, coin-ops, historic objects, general store, agricultural collectibles telephones and more. “Advertising is as hot as ever,” Mr. Miller said. “There’s a tsunami of interest in good, authentic advertising. Key pieces met or surpassed our expectations. This sale was the perfect storm. People were going crazy.”

Following are additional highlights from the auction, which grossed $515,188 (including the buyer’s premium). The sale attracted 671 bidders, who placed a total of 10,393 bids online, via LiveAuctioners.com and MillerandMillerAuctions.com. Nearly 60 percent of lots brought prices that met or exceeded estimates, while 26 percent of lots surpassed even the high-end estimate.

A C. Cretors & Co. floor model popcorn and nut machine, made in the U.S. in the 1910s, finished at $5,842. The machine featured a steel frame case with wood trim doors set with beveled glass. It was professionally restored, to include refinished wood trim, repainted case and nickeled trim. The top had two electric lights and an animated clown that turned a glass cylinder.

Breweriana collectors were entranced by the many rarities in the lifetime beer tray collection of Andy Cottrell. “Andy’s breweriana was eagerly soaked up by the veteran collector community,” Mr. Miller remarked, adding, “You know when the ‘old guys’ raise their eyebrows that you’re selling a special collection.” A few top-sellers from the collection included:

• An oval Huether’s Lion Brewery tray, Canadian, circa 1890s. The 13 ¼ inch by 16 inch tray was marked, “Standard Adv. Co. Coshocton. O.” on the lower inner rim ($5,258).
• A rare ‘Berlin’ Lion Brewery tin litho sign, Canadian, 1901, the only example known to exist, 14 inches by 19 inches (sight, less oak frame), the center depicting a lion’s head cartouche flanked with hop leaves. Scripted “C.N. Huether, Prop.” at bottom ($8,179).
• A Dawes Lachine Brewery single-sided porcelain sign, Canadian, circa 1890s. 30 inches by 19 inches, with excellent color and gloss. An early, pre-Dawes Black Horse Brewery sign that reads “Dawes Lachine Ales & Porter” with a black horse graphic ($4,967).
• A Kuntz’s Brewery ‘Bologna Girl’ beer tray, Canadian, 1900s. Lithographed steel and marked, “Kaufmann & Strauss Co. NY 1277” lower inner rim, 13 in. diameter ($7,011).

An 1878 agricultural patent model for the “Lady Dufferin” reaper – a painstakingly sophisticated working scale model of a reaping machine, with functioning sail blades, fans and height setting, made by C.A. Davidson (Mount Forest, Ontario), hammered for $7,595; while a Sawyer-Massey 1-inch scale plowing engine working model, made in the 1950s out of steel and brass by W.E. Deering of Surrey, British Columbia, still in its original custom case, knocked down for $9,840.

Lifesize store display mannequins of American toy dolls Ken and Barbie, each one 75 inches tall and made around 1960, were sold as one lot, besting the $3,500-$5,000 pre-sale estimate to settle at $5,842. Also, a “one-off” 7-foot scale model of the celebrated Wardair Canada Boeing 747 plane, by Space Models UK, made in England in the 1960s, 76 inches long, flew off for $8,880.

A Coca-Cola Vendo ‘44’ vending machine, an all-steel original ‘survivor’ stamped “The Vendo Company, Kansas City” and made for the Canadian market in the 1950s, with original paint and chrome and still able to cool, rose to $9,348. Also, a cased transit level made by A. F. Potter (Toronto, Canada) in 1915, brass, in the original dovetailed case with overpaint, made $5,842.

A National Cash Register Company floor model 106-6-A, one of NCR’s most visually impressive and complex machines, built for “D.W. Henry, Springfield, Ont.”, 65 inches tall, fully functioning and professionally restored, rang up $4,967. Also, a rare and historically significant early Bell Canada mahogany 3-box magneto wall telephone, containing the early “Blake Transmitter” invented in 1878 by Francis Blake, circa 1880s, changed hands for $4,674.

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