|By Carole Deutsch
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – A landmark auction of vintage phonographs, telephones, typewriters, salesman samples, and other collectibles from the estate of William H. “Bill” Shawver, Sr. met with resounding success at Macon Brothers on Nov. 10. Shawver was a foremost collector, well-known and respected for his extensive knowledge and discriminating selectivity, and the auction of his private collection that sold in 669 lots was eagerly anticipated.
Rare and unique articles typified the sale and Maconrsquo;s presentation of the auction was inspired. Not only were the phonographs pictured and well described, but leading items were accompanied by an authentic recital of the sound and movement of the piece that could be viewed by a YouTube video clip. This ingenious representation heightened the auction experience and bidders responded with enthusiasm.
One of the most desirable items in the sale was an Edison Bergmann Tin Foil Cylinder Player Replica by William Ptacek, Exhibition Model. “The 30-inch wide, 125-pound player was one of 12 made. Rene Rondeau, author of Tinfoil Phonographs, states in the definitive book, “A more exquisite reproduction tinfoil does not – could not exist circa 2002.” Aggressive bidding pushed the player past its estimate of $8,000-12,000 to achieve the impressive sum of $17,050.
Another item that captured keen bidder attention was a Regina Hexaphone Multi Cylinder 5 Cent coin operated phonograph. The crank-wound mechanical machine that played from a selection of six cylinder records had a top that was a later addition and modern reproduction paper labels, but still commanded a price of $14,850.
One did not have to be a collector to appreciate the “The Worldrsquo;s Smallest Band.” The Chicago Coinrsquo;s Band-Box Model 50-100, was initially created as an auxiliary speaker for a juke box. It was an elaborate composition of a tin stage with a seven-man band. When a coin was dropped into the juke box the curtain opened, the lights came on, and the musicians moved in time to the music of Strike up the Band. It was the first model of the hard-to-find item that was made from 1950 to 1952. The unit was approximately two-and-a-half feet high by four-feet wide by two-feet deep and weighed about 80 pounds. This engaging piece was easily appreciated through the video presentation, fetching $9,570.
Other pieces of special interest included a Nickelodeon by Nelson-Wiggen Piano Co. Chicago, which was fully restored to a working condition and realized $4,640. A price of $1,045 was a paid for an Odellrsquo;s antique typewriter, last patent Oct. 7, 1890, Chicago, Ill., with a sliding type element and an ink roller. Pencil sharpeners are not usually thought of as high ticket items but a price of $200 was realized for a vintage “Pencil Pointer Jupiter Model N” by Guhl & Harbeck, Hamburg Germany and USA. An Atwater Kent Breadboard Model 4066 blue-tube radio setup, circa 1923, had an external Utt-Willains Arrowloop antenna and an Atwater-Kent loudspeaker Type M and power supply. It sold with extra tubes for the handsome price of $2,900.
Salesmanrsquo;s samples of interest included “The Great Majestic Junior,” Majestic, St Louis, salesmanrsquo;s sample, a “must have” of childrenrsquo;s cook stoves, 32 inches high, that sold for $3,190. A “Buckrsquo;s Junior 2” salesman sample of a cast iron and nickel plated stove, 23 inches tall brought $2,310.
An item that appropriately typified the sale was a lithograph on canvas of the iconic “Nipper,” classically portrayed in “His Masterrsquo;s Voice” by Francois Barraud. This period depiction of the famous RCA logo sold for $1,334.
Meteorites are not common to most vintage auctions but Bill Shawver was an avid collector of rare minerals and a selection was included in this sale. Doug Macon, who has a dedication to learning as much about everything he sells as he can, has gained considerable knowledge in researching this section of the auction and now enjoys an “up and coming” status as an amateur geologist. He was pleased with the sale of a 9.25 pound Sikhote Alin meteorite that sold with a certificate from Oxcart Minerals for $2,750. A price of $2,310 was realized for a 32.31 pound Gibeon meteorite that also included a certificate from Oxcart Minerals.
Prices include a 16 percent buyerrsquo;s premium.
Contact: (509) 529-7770